Monday, 5 March 2012

The benefits of "baby play"

                How something as simple as a doll can teach children a range of skills.
My daughter was bought her first doll for her First birthday last year, and she instantly fell in love with it!! The doll is kissed, fed, talked to, sung to and thrown around but still has a smile on its face!! But, when you think about it, there is so much a doll can teach a child and help to extend their development.

Many children seem to have an instinct to cradle a doll in their arms and speak to them in a softer tone. Here, they are taking on the role of future adults, mimicking what they have experienced themselves and creating an understanding of the world in which they live. Many argue that allowing your child to play with dolls helps to make them caring in their nature towards others and therefore nurture a more caring adult.

Child Development psychologists  Dorothy and Jerome singer quoted "Early opportunities to play with dolls afford children that chance to practise the vital human capacity for nurturance and for giving selflessly to others. We can hope that more and more boys can take advantage of such pretending games. As modern society evolves, an important feature of intimacy between adults may involve the sharing of nurturance and caretaking – one of the most sublime of human experiences. And it all starts with doll play."
Of course, these days there are so many dolls on the market......those which move, make noises, even go to the toilet! But, for me there is nothing so simple and imaginative than a basic doll, which children can create their own sounds and actions towards, giving them love and care. You can add accessories such as bottles, spoons, nappies , cots and pushchairs to add to the imaginative play. My daughter has a homemade cot, handcrafted by her great uncle and decorated with linen and artwork by her great aunt. She lovingly puts her doll to bed, tucking her in and giving her a kiss goodnight and this has proved helpful with her bed time routine.

Dolls can also help with the arrival of a new baby in the home. My mum and Dad bought me a doll when my sister was born, so I would change the baby when my sister was changed and therefore felt part of the changes in the household. When children are older, dolls can also give an opportunity to create fashion, play out adventures and even be in the army!!

So, these simple plastic figurines can really help your child develop social skills, emotional development and knowledge and understanding of the world. Communication skills can also be improved with the help of a doll!


  1. Found your blog on netmums - what a gorgeous picture.

    I was never one for dolls as a kid - I favoured soft toys. Still, after I read your post I went to see if I could find one of my old dolls in the house for Daughter, to see how she would react. No such luck. I'd kept my cuddly dragon though and when presented with it, my girlie instantly started to snuggle and kiss him. It was adorable.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Thanks Cry Mamma, I am glad my post helped to inspire you. It does work with cuddly toys daughter loves her lamb "teddy" who had become her comfort when away from home. He has been part of her imaginative play today, drinking her pretend tea and poor baby has been left sat on the floor!!!