Would you say that doll play just an idle pastime, or is it something more?
Maybe even something incredible?
Previously we wrote about why children should play with dolls. In this post we’ll take a closer look at some specific aspects surrounding doll play that will show that it's a crucial part of child development.
Here are 5 incredible ways that playing with dolls effect children, which all parents should know:
1. Doll Play Develops Cognitive & Motor Skills
According to North Shore Pediatric Therapy, doll play is more than just fun for kids. It actually helps develop both cognitive and fine-motor skills. When a child has an age-appropriate doll, that child can practice things like taking clothes off and putting them back on, brushing and fixing hair and manipulating the doll's moving parts to help the doll sit, stand or move.
This teaches children to develop fine-motor skills, cognitive skills and can also help children learn self-help.
2. Doll Play Develops Language Skills
Watch a two-year-old with a doll. What does that toddler do? Most babies of this age range will spend time changing, feeding, rocking and caring for the doll.
As they act out these actions, which they have watched their moms do with them, they are able to practice vocabulary. Talking through these activities will help children expand their vocabulary.
As they develop into greater imaginative play with their dolls as they mature, they will further extend that vocabulary.
Visit Playing with Words 365 to get five tips for using play to expand and extend your child’s speech and language development.
3. Doll Play Develops Caring and Nurturing Skills
Pretending to care for a doll does more than just expand vocabulary. It also expands caring and nurturing skills. Children learn to be responsible for the well-being of their own baby as they practice caring for it, and this lays the foundation for careful, empathetic parenting when they are older.
An article by MamaOT, Why Kids Should Play with Baby Dolls (YES, even BOYS!) points out:
"Regardless of a child’s gender, these skills are all valuable life lessons. In carrying, holding, feeding, and rocking a baby doll, children are practicing being loving to others. They may be modeling how they remember being taken care of as a baby, or how they see adults in their world caring for children. Just as children copy parents talking on the phone, working in the kitchen, vacuuming, etc., doll play is no different. It is children’s way to understand and begin to make the world their own by practicing these everyday events."
4. Doll Play Makes the World More Manageable
Children in an adult world can often feel small and insignificant. Doll play brings that large world down to their size, so they can have some measure of control over it.
According to an article written by Texas Child Care and Jerome Singer, psychology professor at Yale University (1994): Children have a fundamental need to bring the large, loud world into manageable size.
Doll play makes the world more relatable and understandable to young children, helps them develop confidence in their ability to solve problems and interact with their environment.
5. Doll Play Lets Children Work Through Strong Emotions
Child and Youth Health advises:
"By playing out situations that have been stressful, children can learn to cope with their feelings. If you provide dolls or puppets, mud, paint and water, children can express their feelings through these."
And we couldn't agree more.
The strength of their emotions can sometimes overwhelm children. Playing with dolls give them a venue to release their tensions in a safe way. They can act out their frustrations and aggression on the doll or using the doll so that they are able to handle those feelings better.
With all of the benefits that dolls offer to children, it's vital that parents provide the opportunity to engage in doll play. (Click to Tweet!)
With a doll in her hand, your daughter can grow and develop into a caring, loving young woman. With a doll in his toy box, your son can practice empathy and nurturing behavior.
In light of these benefits, doll play is something children deserve the chance to experience! (Click to Tweet!)
Now it’s Your Turn
Have children? Grandchildren? Or maybe you played with dolls yourself as a child.
What other benefits do you see in doll play? Tell us in the comments below!