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Play Ideas

I think we all agree….kids LOVE playing with dolls...their imagination is endless and the games they create can certainly make us big people laugh!! 

Inevitably though...we eventually hear "Mum, I'm bored"…so hopefully there are a few new ideas below that can let you enjoy that extra cuppa in peace!!

Hot and Cold: place all your clothes out for easy identification.  Ask your child to dress the doll in an outfit for a cold / hot day.   You can count to 50 or give them 1 minute for older kids to have a race, or allow younger kids to take their time and come and show you their final outfit.

Act out a favourite story with the toys: 'Goldilocks and the 3 Bears' is always popular! Use a doll for Goldilocks and 3 teddies as the bears. You can scrounge up 3 ‘stools’, 3 ‘beds’ and 3 bowls (for porridge).  Dress Goldilocks in her prettiest dress and theme the teddies to create a dad, mum and baby.  Using funny voices as you go through the story. Older kids will love to put on a play and once they get the hang of it the possibilities are endless. 

What’s Missing:  Get your child to dress their doll in lots of clothes.  Ask them to close their eyes and take one item of clothing away. Ask them to open their eyes and see if they can pick what is missing. A great one for younger kids and helps with memory development.

Craft / Painting: Purchase some inexpensive beads and elastic to make matching necklaces and bracelets for your doll and child.  Purchase a plain dolls t-shirt and use fabric paint for your child to personalize it. For older kids, ask them to paint a ‘portrait’ of the doll or use craft items (fabric scraps, wool off-cuts, etc) to make a collage of their doll.

Silly dress ups: go crazy with funny outfits - shorts over jeans and bikini top over a coat – you’ll be surprised how many giggles you get (“noooo mum, that’s not right”!!!) especially accompanied by funny actions and voices (“WHAT are my sandals doing on my HANDS!!).  A version of this game is for you to dress the doll and ask your child to dress herself the same – can get messy with all her clothes about the room so one for when you have the energy to tidy up!


Some interesting reading…….

Developmental Play.

It’s the catch phase we cant ignore and whist we all know the importance of creative play… can be food for thought to really think about how much this impacts on your child’s growth and development.

It is a widely held belief that educational achievements and pretend play go hand in hand.  Children will independently develop a multitude of valuable academic skills, without even realizing it: planning the game, developing characters and plot, setting the scene with props and outfits, acting out the game, reporting the highlights to Dad once he gets home, and finally packing away (that last bit always seems optional in our house but does promote memory!)  Now consider those elements and think how it would impact their future.

One new dolls outfit can spark a cognitive process that takes them on an amazing journey. Bathers can suddenly have kids planning trips to the beach, packing a picnic and setting up near the sandpit with a bucket and spade.   I recently had a stock of dolls iphone’s and in an instant, my daughter had a whole shopping trip acted out with the phone going into the 'mummy' doll’s handbag.  We all laugh at the old saying about the kid loving the cardboard box better than the present…but it true!  Toys that can really impact upon their learning don’t always cost a fortune – it just needs to ignite the spark and the kids will do the rest.

Also consider licensed and commercial products…..we all admit they are fantastic – my kids love their Woody and Buzz characters.  But they will always have a certain style, personality and identity that most kids find hard to ignore.   Unbranded dolls allow them to create an identity from scratch….and then change it to suit their latest games and adventures.  We’ve all been ‘told off’ when we ask our child to ‘move their car’ which was the identity of the cardboard box yesterday…..when today it’s a skyscraper!  Dolls are no different and a generic brand can become anything from a farmer to an astronaught!    

So you might not think it now, but allowing your child to use their imagination will develop problems solving, leadership, social and reasoning skills that will last a lifetime. 




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