But is it all fun and games? Household names such as Barbie have dominated the market for decades, yet recent years have seen a rise in concern from parents and campaign groups that ultra slim, blonde, pink-clad dolls do not promote the best body image and fail to accurately depict the different shapes, sizes, ethnicities and interests of girls today.
With this in mind I went in search of dolls that are banishing the high heels and short dresses in pursuit of a more diverse offering.
Irish company, Arklu, has been creating quite the stir since its inception in 2010. While company founders Ian Harkin and Lucie Follett got their big break that year when they created a Will and Kate doll to commemorate the royal wedding, it is their creation of Lottie dolls in 2012 that has really got parents talking.
With a vision to ‘empower children to be themselves’, Lottie dolls don’t wear make-up or jewellery, they are modelled on the realistic proportions of a 9-year-old girl and they come in a range of different skin, hair and eye colours.
Most notably, Lottie also has an array of outfits that cater for any interest your child might have - from ballet dancing and karate to astronomy and palaeontology.
But what do parents and children think of the dolls?
Sarah Tyler, 29 from Pontypridd, mum of daughter Grace, nine, said: “I would consider buying one of these dolls for my daughter, they’re more physically realistic than other dolls in terms of body shape. There are more variations in skin tone and hair colour which is more true to life.”
Jess Postians, 24, of Blackwood, said: “They seem more relatable with different hair colours and styles. I would pick these for my child over a superficial Barbie.”
While there is much debate as to how influential a doll is in a child’s development the industry seems to be moving away from the singular type of make-up-laden, overly pink, glam doll of decades ago. In its place there are now more superheroes, more tomboys, more sportspeople and more career girls, resulting in a mix of toys to suit all different interests. Surely this can only be a good thing.
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Shop for Lottie Dolls in the UK: UK.LOTTIE.COM
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Shop for Lottie in the USA: LOTTIE.COM
Credit// Sarah Wigmore South Wales Argus