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Playing with Dolls and Figures

Inexpensive Toddler Toys

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Two girls playing, dressed as doctor and nurse
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What Your Child Learns by Playing with Dolls and Figures

Dolls and figures give your toddler a way to act out the scenes she sees in everyday life.  She can bathe, change, feed and cuddle her baby doll mimicking the way you nurture her.  She can build a home of blocks and a city and drive her mother or father figurine to work and safely explore the emotions of separation.  If she has a sibling, she might act out real life scenarios that are on her mind, working out things like how to cooperate and share beloved toys.  She might practice empathy when caring for an injured or hungry animal figure.

It's no wonder that child therapists frequently use dolls when working with young children. Sit back and watch your child play in these ways and you'll be opening a new window into how she feels and how her thinking is developing. Psychology aside, dolls and figures allow your child to create whatever world she wants at that moment - no batteries required.  

Choosing the Right Dolls and Figures for Your Toddler

Toddlers love all sorts of dolls. Some really enjoy those that are very life-like and made of materials that are rubbery, while others appreciate lighter rag dolls. Dolls that have a lot of hair or difficult clothing can be a bit of a pain in the toddler stage, but preschoolers and young school-age children love these types of dolls and associated grooming activities.

Other dolls that will stimulate new types of play are miniature dolls or figures like small people (like the Fisher Price Little People sets) or farm animal sets. Dolls that teach self-help skills like buttoning, lacing, snapping and zipping are also good choices.

Doll and Figures Storage

Dolls can easily be stored in buckets on shelves or inside of related toys like carriages or strollers. Some toddlers love their dolls so much, they want to keep them on their bed and this is a fine choice as well and clears valuable shelf space for other toys.

Rules for Dolls and Figures

There are very few rules that dolls require. They're not too messy and don't have a lot of parts. One rule, of course, is that boys and girls alike should have access to dolls, but that's more for moms and dads than for the kids. Other rules that might arise may come from common inappropriate play. But it's best to set those rules as trouble comes your way so that you're not putting ideas into your toddler's head. For example, it's seldom that a doll escapes getting a haircut or getting a makeover with markers, but mentioning it to your toddler is sure to bring it about sooner.

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