Whether there’s going to be a new baby in the family and you’re trying to prepare your little one…your child just enjoys playing with dolls or you’re setting up a ‘baby care’ home corner in your nursery/preschool- Imaginative Play with dolls and toy babies can be extremely beneficial.
Imaginative or pretend play helps children to make sense of the world we live in through play. It’s important for development and can be incredibly enjoyable. Find out more about Why Imaginative Play is Important here.
Ideas for Play
There are so many different activities you can set up for children with this theme. Here are some we’ve tried:
- Baby Weigh Clinic
The children love playing this and it is fantastic for introducing the concept of measuring weight and growth. Its also brilliant for showing ‘soon to be’ older siblings what happens when you take a baby to see the Health Visitors. We used toy baby dolls and some kitchen scales, and threw in a few extras such as the carry cot and nappies.
The children got to try weighing the different ‘babies’ and learnt basic number recognition skills when trying to read the weight of each baby. They also practised how to care for babies gently.
- Nappy Change Station
A really easy one to set up, you just need a toy baby doll and some nappies. You could even use pretend cream and baby wipes to make it even more realistic! This activity can be great for helping older siblings feel more involved in family life, by teaching them about what you do when you change a baby’s nappy. Kids also find it surprisingly fun!
This imaginative play activity with dolls, has children in giggles! But on a serious note it is a good way of introducing basic first aid and banishing fears of the doctors surgery.
Using bandages (under supervision), plasters and thermometers children can pretend to look after unwell or injured dolls and nurse them back to health.
*It goes without saying that safety is paramount with this activity, we take no responsibility but please be aware bandages could be a strangulation risk and no medication should be involved or within reach.
Another fun activity they can play is pretend hair dressers or general hair care. Children can use dolls or our favourite The My Little Pony Groom Pony Doll to practise brushing hair, styling it into bunches, pony tails, plaits or even bead it. They can also have great fun giving the doll a makeover!
Not only is it an enjoyable activity for learning how to look after and style their own hair, but it helps make hair appointments less daunting. It also provides a novel way of practising fine motor skills when plaiting and beading hair.
Which Toys Would we Recommend:
There’s a lot of dolls and doll themed resources out there and it can feel a little bit daunting when you start looking to buy one. For the activities listed above these are the toys we have used and would recommend:
Boy Doll with Down Syndrome I’m a strong believer that children should feel like they belong and are represented in the books and toys they play with. Which is why I think these dolls by Early Years Resources would make a great addition to a child care setting. They help children feel included and they teach children about special educational needs and the differences between people. In my opinion, its vital we teach children kindness and inclusivity from a young age- find out more here.
If you’re after a basic, first baby doll, thats also good value- then I’d recommend this one by Zapf Creation. Its lovely and soft and is a firm favourite in our house!
My little pony My Little Pony Pinkie Pie Style and Groom Pony Doll
We love this toy! Great quality and the children had hours and hours of fun brushing, plaiting and beading the My Little Pony’s hair. There’s lots of accessories to help make it even more fun too- with make-up, clips, hair bobbles, brushes, stickers and beads. Fantastic for imaginative play and for helping any child who may be anxious about hair appointments.
*Please note we were sent some items for review but all words and opinions are our own. This post contains amazon affiliate links-for more information please read out “About me” section here.