Doll Play for Boys, Not Just Girls

Kids will be asking Santa for toys and that includes dolls. Doll play for boys, not just girls, still raises some eyebrows. Author and dad, Doyin Richards, gives “3 Reasons why you should buy your son a doll” in his article on Upworthy.  Besides wondering if girls can do it why boys can’t, he states doll play for boys encourages the development of empathy and confidence. Both of these have lifelong impact on outcomes for kids.

boys playing with dolls
Slow & Careful, 2 Boys with Dolls (photo L. Price)

Last summer, in a series of articles on supporting children’s play, doll play was one of the topics. Here is an excerpt:

Dolls give children a different kind of play opportunity….In this century, it really should be possible for all kids–girls and boys–to play with dolls if they want. Most children’s toys need some kind of action, such as fitting puzzle pieces, stacking blocks, or zooming cars. Dolls are for feelings as well as actions. The play experience is also one of relationships.

Play with dolls stimulates imagination. Pretend play can be very involved and creative. Children often feel like they have no power, that adults have it all. When kids play with dolls, the play can sometimes be rough and aggressive, as kids explore how it feels to be in control. Watching their play can sometimes give us clues as to what children are feeling.

When kids, girls and boys, play with dolls they are figuring out the skills and strategies used in real relationships. They are rehearsing how to care for others. As they talk with their dolls, they engage in conversation much as we do. They check on what their dolls need, asking many of the questions we ask them. It’s much easier for kids to practice how interactions work with a doll.

doll play for boys

Play brings the world into a manageable size for kids. We want to give kids the best parts of it. Why would we restrict boys from such a big part of play? When they have a chance, they do choose to play with dolls. Doll play for boys–would you say yes?

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