Did you know dolls are one of the most ancient toys children have played with since? The earliest documented use of a doll as a toy was in Greece around 100 AD. From then until now, dolls have been a key part of a child’s upbringing. There’s clearly a reason for dolls prevailing for such a long time throughout humanity. Namely, they act as a representation of the child themselves, and it aids them in gaining understanding of the world around them.
When thinking of dolls, you may naturally imagine a barbie doll, or a baby doll dressed in pink. Due to a tendency to create gendered toys, the play with dolls has mostly been associated with female children, but there are a multitude of things children can learn from playing with dolls and figures, regardless of gender. Read on to find out what they are!
When children use dolls to act out their surroundings, say for example when playing house, they learn how to communicate with each other, how to cooperate and how to take care of each other (and the doll). Childhood is a great time to use dolls and play for the following activities:
As you can see, the doll acts as a vehicle for them to solidify the behaviour they’ve seen around them, in turn equipping them with stronger social skills.
It may surprise you to learn that empathy and compassion are not inherent behaviours humans are born with, but rather a learnt behaviour through interaction with the world. While playing with dolls, children learn to care for the doll and seeing it as a reflection of themselves, being to understand that if they mistreat the doll, it will affect them as well. This is how empathy and compassion begin to form, as the child understands emotions and feelings outside of themselves.
During play, dolls act as vehicles of communication amongst children. When children share language with each other that they’ve learnt in their different environments, about say, caring for the doll as if it was a baby, they broaden their vocabulary and become more confident at using their words. Not only this, but when debating and coming to agreements and disagreements about the rules of play, children learn to express their views in coherent sentences and serves as fantastic way for children to start expressing their opinions articulately.
Children are naturally very imaginative and creative. By playing with dolls, they’re able to exercise this amazing ability. Creating names, scenarios, situations and conversations amongst themselves and their dolls is a great way for them to use their imaginative muscles and even develop them further.
Furthermore, imagination helps children deal with whatever life throws at them by coming up with practical solutions to problems. This allows them to be confident in whatever they do in life.
Closely tied in with empathy and compassion, when playing with dolls children are able to gain an understanding of responsibility. Taking care of the doll because they feel empathy towards it also builds a sense of responsibility towards the doll, both in play and in real life. Keeping the doll clean, safe from breakage or theft and during play taking care of the dolls needs as if it were alive can have very positive knock-on effects down the line.
A child that has a strong sense of responsibility will help them care for their younger sibling, or a pet and even their peers, and of course will aid them in their adulthood to make informed choices about their own lives.
Once your child starts becoming slightly older, they will develop preferences towards their toys. They may like specific kinds of dolls and figures, that will probably align with newfound interests, or they may discover new things through the use of dolls and figures.
Learning about themselves through doll play allows children, especially girls, to live their childhoods to the fullest by believing in themselves. Through doll play, children will discover who they are, and what they’re good at. Once they have an inkling of who they might be, they’ll have more confidence in believing that they can achieve what they want in life.
Over time, a lot of children develop a sense of fashion, what hobbies they enjoy, a sense of purpose with regards to their future profession and a whole lot more about themselves through play with their dolls!
As you can see, dolls are more than just a few pieces of plastic that children throw around for a bit. They can create a very lasting impression in a young person’s mind and help them develop skills and interests that will essentially help them become rounded adults. Regardless of your child’s gender, dolls and figures should be a go to play time toy!
Author Bio: Christina Lee is a content development manager at MBA Assignment help.
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