When choosing toys for your kids, you might find yourself asking whether you should choose between a beautiful doll or an educational one. The reality is, this doesn’t have to be an either/or choice. Increasingly, you can choose toys that are beautiful as well as having educational value too.
Here are some questions you can ask to help you figure out how to choose the best dolls for your child:
1. Is it just a beautiful doll, or does it offer anything of more substance?
Think about the doll for not just what it looks like, but how your child might engage in imaginative play with the doll. Is there a story behind the doll, or a child that inspired it? Are there accessories that come with the doll that have any educational value? Or, is the only purpose of the doll to change its clothes, and purely appearance-focused? If the latter, you might want to consider dolls that offer more than just what’s on the surface. Otherwise, you might be inadvertently sending your kids the message that appearance matters more than character does.
2. Is playing with the doll going to spark imaginative play?
Educational toys are wonderful, but kids want to be kids. They know the minute they are being asked to play with a toy that is overly prescriptive. The best toys for kids will fuel their imagination, give them a jumping-off point, but still leave plenty of room for their imaginations to take over.
As Einstein said, “imagination is more important than knowledge.” Facts are facts, and can be learned anytime, by anyone. But creativity and imagination are what help society keep evolving. So, it’s very important that the toys you choose help foster your child’s natural imaginative spirit!
3. Is this doll going to help expand my child’s understanding of what is beautiful?
It’s totally fine to purchase a beautiful doll for your child, make sure that the concept behind the doll also adds to society’s definition of what is beautiful. Whether it’s an activist doll standing up for what she believes in, a boy doll who dreams of going into outer space, or a wildlife photographer doll (who happens to have a cochlear implant), make sure the dolls you choose help teach your kids the lesson of inclusion and kindness toward others.
4. Does the doll teach my child that beauty has a diverse range?
You’ve seen the dolls that all look like copycats of each other, mostly blonde, mostly blue-eyed, mostly caucasian. If you’re giving your child dolls that all look the same, you’re encouraging them to create an imaginary world and act out scenes in which diversity is limited. That isn’t reflective of real life! Dolls should teach kids that there is great beauty in appreciating our differences.
5. Will the doll help my child develop a healthy body image?
Plenty of research shows that for kids to develop positive body images, they need to see toys that have realistic shapes. Dolls designed with adult body shapes went out of style decades ago! Modern toys, with more realistic shapes, help kids realize that they don’t have to aspire to an adult shape when they are small. There will be plenty of time for them to think about that in their adolescent years! Society already asks kids to grow up too fast. The innocence of childhood is something all parents should seek to help their kids preserve.
Remember, educational dolls are great, but kids love to play with beautiful dolls too. There is nothing wrong with admiring beauty -- in art, in nature, and in the toys we choose for our kids. We just have to remember that we are also sending messages to kids about what we consider beautiful and what we do not, in the choices we make for their toys.
Become a Lottie Super Fan!
- Be the first to hear about new Lottie Dolls
- Help to inspire the latest Lottie Dolls & accessories
- Suggest new ideas & activities you'd love to see