When making an investment in children’s toys it’s worthwhile bearing in mind how children actually play to make the purchases the most rewarding. Nobody wants to part with hard earned cash on a toy that will languish at the back of a cupboard. We have leveraged our experience and knowledge to help you make the best purchasing decisions with your finite cash, in these 8 doll play focused steps.
Finding the right doll is covered elsewhere, this is about why a child would be most likely to choose to have another doll from the finite amount of cash you have to spend on their toys.
In our experience, if you ask a child what they want they typically say a doll. If they already have a doll you might have been hoping for them to say ‘doll clothes’ or something along the lines of accessories for their doll. Trust us, the majority of children will still want another doll long before they want anything else. Why is it they want a doll when they already have one?
Doll play is a social activity, at the very least it is social for the dolls. For stimulating play there needs to be at least two dolls that can play with each other while the child creates the personalities, and develops the story. This is what children instinctively know.
All the clothes in the world wouldn’t matter to us if we didn’t have friends!
If a book had just one character how good would the story be?
With more dolls the play can be so much more absorbing.
The doll is probably wearing a lovely outfit on arrival, but can it wear this outfit for all the activities it will play, and is that what we’d do?
That’s doubtful, as a doll needs to go to bed, play sport, go to school, play outdoors, go on holidays etc.
So, pick a selection of clothing along the lines of what the child’s own activities are, as well as for the routines such as going to bed and relaxing at the weekend.
Bear in mind the seasons, and have something for the doll to wear be it fair weather or foul…
Keep in mind clothing for celebrations, as the beloved doll will always turn up in the family photo.
4. Dolls on (school) hols
Children choose doll accessories to make their ideas authentic to enable them to develop their story.
5. My home is my castle
6. A dog is doll’s best friend (and other animals…you get the idea)
Doll pets are great for story-making. Is a new puppy joining the family? A poorly cat may need a trip to the vet’s to get better.
Children come up with all sorts of injuries, medication and rehabilitation for their pets. They care for their pets and nurture their well-being. It’s an association they have with their own pet that they transfer to the interaction of their dolls, and their dolls’ pets.
8. Events & Celebrations
Throughout the year there are many events and celebrations: birthdays, first day at school, religious festivities…are just a few.
Celebrations and milestones are things we can remember from our own childhoods. The friendships we made, experiences we had with people and the emotions we felt at the time are all things we can recall. Sometimes we continue to process all these experiences as we travel through life and take a look at the event with more mature eyes. Children frequently use real situations as background for their stories and as they play they process what has happened, creating sometimes new endings for how it might have been different.
Occasions are opportunities for children to ask questions and learn more. All the time they play they are developing their imagination and expressing opinions and ideas. Childhood isn’t a race, it’s a time for development of the inner and outer self.
In the shop we split the toys into themes for the kinds of activities that interest children. Examples are: school, sleepovers, dance, Halloween, horse-riding, birthday parties, magic etc It’s a great way to shop to ensure there are a few props to energise a child’s story-telling.
The wide variety of toys and accessories enables a child to imagine a doll’s future, and perhaps their own. Dolls become doctors, vets, entrepreneurs, horse-riders, ballerinas, party hosts- the list is endless! Naturally language skills, cognitive behaviour and social skills develop too. So when you shop, bear in mind these sorts of play activities, in particular your child’s passions, and your money will be well spent.