3 and 4 year old girls have already outgrown baby dolls??? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 45 Old 11-18-2010, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd is turning 2 next week and she is really into babies right now so i made her a mini diaper bag with diapers, wipes, bibs, etc for her baby dolls.

 

I was thinking of making a similar thing for my 4 year old neice for Christmas but then I realized that she pretty much outgrew baby dolls at age 3 and moved onto princesses.  Now she is obsessed with princess barbie type dolls - for her 4th birthday party she got lots of princess barbie dolls, even some nail polish and lip gloss.

 

I've been thinking about this a lot and it makes me sad - I remember playing with baby dolls at least until I was 8 or 9.

 

I also think it's a reflection of our cultural values - what do we value in women?  Not nurturing, caretaking, mothering, etc but how they look, what clothes they wear, etc.  It makes me sad/angry that from such a young age girls are learning these values.

 

Have you noticed this trend?  What do you think?  When did your children outgrow baby dolls?


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#2 of 45 Old 11-18-2010, 12:22 PM
 
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My dd is 4.5 and while she has recently begun to express a love for the "barbie" sized dolls and princess anything, she still regularly carries and cares for her babydolls, and they play "babies" at daycare as well... She would have loved her own diaper bag for baby.

 


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#3 of 45 Old 11-18-2010, 12:34 PM
 
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Aw they do???  My DD is 17 mo and she looooves her babies.  Loves them.  I was shocked; TBH I thought dolls were creepy when I was a kid, and didn't really plan on getting DD one.  But when I saw how much she loved talking about babies, I got her a little baby doll, and it just melts my heart to see how much she loves playing with it.  I honestly think I'm gonna be a little teary when she gets too grown up for them.  For some reason I assumed it would be later. 

 

Could it also be possible that many 3/4 year olds have younger siblings - live babies are probably so much more awesome than play babies.

 

And could it also be that these fashion dolls are filling a niche in the sense that kids seem to like to play with dolls that are the same "age" as them?  Babies and toddlers love baby dolls because it's a world that is familiar to them.  What would be the equivalent for a 4 year old? 

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#4 of 45 Old 11-18-2010, 12:36 PM
 
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I think some kids just aren't that inot baby dolls. My 4 year old loves them. She'll choose a baby doll over any other toy including Barbie any time.  My other daughter never cared about them.  when I go pick up my 7 year old from her afterschool program, though, there are usually a lot of kids (mainly girls0 her age 2nd grade playing with the baby dolls she just isn't one of them.


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#5 of 45 Old 11-18-2010, 12:37 PM
 
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It might be the kids she plays with.  Perhaps there are a lot of older sisters in the mix?  I know that my daughter's friends all seem to be with baby dolls, and they are three, four, and five.  But these kids are all around this age and none of them attend elementary school yet, and none of them have older sisters (there are just two older brothers in the group).

 

It's a very mainstream group, too.


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#6 of 45 Old 11-19-2010, 02:21 AM
 
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My dd has never liked dolls- baby or fashion dolls. She was never into princesses either.

She does baby her stuffed animals though. I think she actually mothers them more at the age of 10 than she did at the age of 4 so maybe the child will come around to that type of play again in future. Just lately she has gotten more into dresses and more girly stuff.

 

I can't speak for all girls. Some girls we know were very into princess play, Barbie, and boyfriends very young and other girls were not.


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#7 of 45 Old 11-19-2010, 05:48 AM
 
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My kids played with baby dolls for a long time. They played with them less as they got older because they played with a wider variety of toys. Just because an older girl like Barbies or American Girl dolls (or lego!) doesn't mean that she no longer like babies.

 

And all our baby doll stuff was also used to care for stuffed animals.

 

I think it depends on the kid.


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#8 of 45 Old 11-19-2010, 06:03 AM
 
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I think some kids are into baby dolls for a long time, some for a shorter time, and some not at all.  My dd was playing with them at 4 for sure, though she's more into the American Girl dolls now at 8 (almost 9).  I remember her and a friend playing a ton with baby dolls a year or two ago.  But to some extent this could just be a preferences thing.  I never played with baby dolls as a kid, or really any kind of doll.

 

I will say that I have seen in families sometimes where kids are encouraged to become interested in older things.  Like when my dd was 4 or 5, I remember a mom in the neighborhood where we were living there in the Chicago area saying that her dd (the same age) had "advanced" to High School Musical and wasn't into baby dolls anymore, but when my dd would play with dolls this girl would love to join in, and the mom would see this and encourage High School Musical barbie doll play instead.  I think sometimes some parents think that kids acting more grown up is equivalent with kids being smarter or more advanced or something.  This is the only parent I've seen do this though, so I don't know if it's common.  I knew this mom in high school, and she was very popular and I was under the impression that it was important to her that her dd also become popular so it might be about that?  Like wanting her dd to play with "cool" stuff?

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#9 of 45 Old 11-19-2010, 06:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post I remember a mom in the neighborhood where we were living there in the Chicago area saying that her dd (the same age) had "advanced" to High School Musical and wasn't into baby dolls anymore, but when my dd would play with dolls this girl would love to join in, and the mom would see this and encourage High School Musical barbie doll play instead. 


This is sooo funny!!

 

And if it weren't for location, I'd be sure that I had met that mom!!!!!


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#10 of 45 Old 11-19-2010, 07:02 AM
 
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I don't think it's necessarily a reflection of culture although it can be something that parents project as some PPs mentioned (wanting more grown-up toys for their kids). I was never into baby dolls or barbie-type dolls as a kid. I did like stuffed animals a lot and I know a number of parents (including my DH) who discourage those mainly because they see them as clutter.

 

After I got over my dds liking babydolls as toddlers I let them lead the way. Dd1 moved on pretty quickly, her baby doll phase probably only lasted a year or two (maybe 2-4 yrs old), and she had many other interests during that time period also, (FP Little People, seals, mice, kitties). Dd2 loved her some babies and did probably until she was 5 or 6. She hasn't played with a baby doll in awhile now, but they've both picked up an American Girl lookalike in the past week or two. Dd2 has played with her American Girlish doll off and on since she got it and dd1 only played with it right at the time she got it and then it languished in the toy box until a new American Girl catalog arrived in the mail.

 

Both my girls absolutely loved certain stuffed animals and would be really upset if anything happened to them. We did lose one baby doll that Dd1 had loved as a toddler. Dd2 had it when she was a toddler and it disappeared when we were visiting Grandma. We got a replacement (never found the original), but neither girl was that upset about losing the original. I think they would have been really upset about certain stuffed animals, though.

 

So, in my opinion sometimes 3 and 4 year old girls do naturally outgrow baby dolls and it has nothing to do with culture or parents, but is just a reflection of the girls' interests.


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#11 of 45 Old 11-19-2010, 07:32 AM
 
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my 4yo loves baby dolls. she's 4 so her "cultural values" are what happens in our home. my 7yo son is also into baby dolls from time to time.


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#12 of 45 Old 11-19-2010, 07:43 AM
 
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I still played with baby dolls til I was at least ten.  Baby dolls and Fisher Price people stayed in my room until sixth grade.  

 

But, my daughter never really played with baby dolls the way I did.  She loved My Little Ponies and teeny tiny dolls like the rubber Polly Pocket type dolls.  She played with Littlest pet shop until she was 12.  She had, and loved her baby dolls, but never played with them the way I did.   

 

I don't think your niece outgrew dolls, but, she likes different things more than dolls.  

 

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#13 of 45 Old 11-19-2010, 07:52 AM
 
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Dd (3.5) LOVES her babies still-I made her a little diaper bag for Christmas last year too :) Dsd (~9.5) still enjoys playing with her American Girl doll, but stopped playing with baby dolls maybe around 6-7?  She passed her babies down to dd around then, but would still play with them with dd.  I think she **** plays with Barbie dolls at her moms' house though (we don't do Barbie at our house).  I agree that it just is part of what they are exposed to, dd would probably love Barbie dolls at this age, but I am not interested in exposing her to them at this age (or ever, if I get my way, lol!)


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#14 of 45 Old 11-19-2010, 07:53 AM
 
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I think this is partly a function of what is encouraged by the the parent (High school musical mom) and party of what the child is interested in -

I was never all that into Barbies - had 1 or 2? but my cousin had a HUGE collection and was into them - I preferred to BE the mom and 'play house' - Loved my "Baby Alive" that I could feed and change diapers (disgusting to think of the mold possibilities now).

 

My dd (almost 7 yo) is really not into either - but defintiely more Barbie oriented than baby doll - but actually she is FAR more into stuffed animals than any other toy or activity - which is why - when we did an 'inventory' to reinforce the tally marks she was learning at school we discovered she more than 122 of them! (that is PLUSH animals only)

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#15 of 45 Old 11-19-2010, 07:58 AM
 
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Frankly, I value women for things beyond their ovaries, breasts, uteruses, and "caretaking" abilities, myself.  And if you think that women being valued for "how they look" (though granted The Look has changed throughout the centuries) is a new thing, I suggest that perhaps you are romanticizing a tad.  I think seeing women's primarily value as being caretakers and mothers to be just as gross as seeing them primarily as sexual relief objects.  Will all of us have elements of both/are there many women who will concentrate on one or the other during certain times in their lives?  Sure...but it's still not respecting the whole woman.  Even the best mom does not only have that side of her--and even the woman who likes to wear tube tops and 5 inch heels (believe it or not) has more than that side to herself as well.

 

My DD was never (and still is not) into baby dolls.  She prefered to play with and nuture her stuffed animals and animal figurines.  I don't worry about her getting into to beastiality.  Similarly, your niece is not going to be a slut because she like to play dress up with her dolls that have a wider variety of choices than a baby doll, and because she'd rather do that than change baby diapers.  It's not a reflection on her future abilities as a mother.  I was the same way, and yet I have 3 happy kids that were cloth diapered, nuturued, and are growing into fantastic young people.  Meanwhile, my mom, who loves baby dolls (and still collects them) was abusive, anything but nuturing, and prefers "stuff" to human connection and interaction.

 

When you start to extrapolate your niece liking something different than what your kid likes (or you like) to the ills of society--unless she's having Barbie orgies/drunken parties--I think that's time to kind of take a step back and stop taking yourself so seriously. 

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Originally Posted by bluedaisy View Post

 

I also think it's a reflection of our cultural values - what do we value in women?  Not nurturing, caretaking, mothering, etc but how they look, what clothes they wear, etc.  It makes me sad/angry that from such a young age girls are learning these values. 

 

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#16 of 45 Old 11-19-2010, 08:01 AM
 
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My ten year old still has her dolls.  

 

My oldest daughter gave them up long ago.  She was never much into baby doll type play. 

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#17 of 45 Old 11-19-2010, 08:17 AM
 
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Frankly, I value women for things beyond their ovaries, breasts, uteruses, and "caretaking" abilities, myself.  And if you think that women being valued for "how they look" (though granted The Look has changed throughout the centuries) is a new thing, I suggest that perhaps you are romanticizing a tad.  I think seeing women's primarily value as being caretakers and mothers to be just as gross as seeing them primarily as sexual relief objects.  Will all of us have elements of both/are there many women who will concentrate on one or the other during certain times in their lives?  Sure...but it's still not respecting the whole woman.  Even the best mom does not only have that side of her--and even the woman who likes to wear tube tops and 5 inch heels (believe it or not) has more than that side to herself as well.

 

My DD was never (and still is not) into baby dolls.  She prefered to play with and nuture her stuffed animals and animal figurines.  I don't worry about her getting into to beastiality.  Similarly, your niece is not going to be a slut because she like to play dress up with her dolls that have a wider variety of choices than a baby doll, and because she'd rather do that than change baby diapers.  It's not a reflection on her future abilities as a mother.  I was the same way, and yet I have 3 happy kids that were cloth diapered, nuturued, and are growing into fantastic young people.  Meanwhile, my mom, who loves baby dolls (and still collects them) was abusive, anything but nuturing, and prefers "stuff" to human connection and interaction.

 

When you start to extrapolate your niece liking something different than what your kid likes (or you like) to the ills of society--unless she's having Barbie orgies/drunken parties--I think that's time to kind of take a step back and stop taking yourself so seriously. 

 



Thank you.  Very well said.  I think we all deserve to like what we like.  Let our children like what they like.   My daughter wore bright green furry boots with Tinkerbell on them along with Spiderman Pajamas and carried a PJ Sparkles mermaid doll that she had cut all the hair off of for two months.  She seems pretty normal now as a young adult.  

 

When she did have a doll, she usually cut all the hair off of it.  She likes doing other people's hair now, but has no plans to be a hair dresser.  

 

She played with Bratz dolls, but is very modest herself.  

 

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#18 of 45 Old 11-19-2010, 08:31 AM
 
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Would your niece like a set of baby things for her Barbies' babies?

 

Ooo! Or bedding, upholstered furniture?

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Would your niece like a set of baby things for her Barbies' babies?

 

Ooo! Or bedding, upholstered furniture?


Or a nice bag to keep them in?  But, I like the bedding idea.  I would have loved that.

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#20 of 45 Old 11-19-2010, 08:58 AM
 
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My 5 year old DD and 3 year old DS are both into babydolls. But we have a 6 mo DD, so that might play a role.

 

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#21 of 45 Old 11-19-2010, 09:23 AM
 
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Only one of my daughters was ever really into baby dolls.  She's 7 now and bought a baby with her birthday money.  My oldest daughter didn't really play with toys, (she's an odd child and was busy "being Ainsley")  and my youngest daughter loves all things considered "boy" toys.  She had a massive train set, loves hot wheels, balls, frogs, etc.  I think a lot of it has to do with the child's personality and not cultural values, because I provided all of them with a vast variety of toys and actually we still have toys from my oldest dd's toddler/preschool years so they all pretty much had the same stuff available to them. 


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#22 of 45 Old 11-19-2010, 09:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post



Frankly, I value women for things beyond their ovaries, breasts, uteruses, and "caretaking" abilities, myself.  And if you think that women being valued for "how they look" (though granted The Look has changed throughout the centuries) is a new thing, I suggest that perhaps you are romanticizing a tad.  I think seeing women's primarily value as being caretakers and mothers to be just as gross as seeing them primarily as sexual relief objects.  Will all of us have elements of both/are there many women who will concentrate on one or the other during certain times in their lives?  Sure...but it's still not respecting the whole woman.  Even the best mom does not only have that side of her--and even the woman who likes to wear tube tops and 5 inch heels (believe it or not) has more than that side to herself as well.

 

My DD was never (and still is not) into baby dolls.  She prefered to play with and nuture her stuffed animals and animal figurines.  I don't worry about her getting into to beastiality.  Similarly, your niece is not going to be a slut because she like to play dress up with her dolls that have a wider variety of choices than a baby doll, and because she'd rather do that than change baby diapers.  It's not a reflection on her future abilities as a mother.  I was the same way, and yet I have 3 happy kids that were cloth diapered, nuturued, and are growing into fantastic young people.  Meanwhile, my mom, who loves baby dolls (and still collects them) was abusive, anything but nuturing, and prefers "stuff" to human connection and interaction.

 

When you start to extrapolate your niece liking something different than what your kid likes (or you like) to the ills of society--unless she's having Barbie orgies/drunken parties--I think that's time to kind of take a step back and stop taking yourself so seriously. 



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#23 of 45 Old 11-19-2010, 09:38 AM
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My DD didn't really start playing with baby dolls until almost 4. She was into stuffed and model animals, blocks, balls and dinosaurs before then. She likes princesses, castles, dragons and knights now at 5 but still loves her babies too. She likes playing with a mix of toys all at the same time and doesn't seem to outgrow things often.  I have a really cute pic of 4 little dolls and a ninja turtle standing in front of a star trek shuttle craft that had model monkeys in the back.

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#24 of 45 Old 11-19-2010, 10:04 AM
 
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I played with Barbies over baby dolls and I am both unfashionable and nurturing. I wouldn't worry about that part of it smile.gif

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#25 of 45 Old 11-20-2010, 10:09 PM
 
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I vote for very dependent on the child. My dd is 6 and still plays with her dolls sometimes. She plays with stuffed animals more, however, as does ds (age 9). This summer one of our neighbors, aged 11 (boy) spent a lot of time at our house. Even he played stuffed animals (and he initiated the games). The 11 year old comes from a very media mainstream house -- his little sister is really into Hanna Montana and Barbies. He plays video games I'd never let my kids touch. He has his own iPod. And he still played stuffed animals.

 

There is also a developmental period where doll play may fade out for a bit. For some kids it comes back, for others it doesn't. 2-3 year olds are pretty content just acting out the daily care routines. But once you've done that and 'mastered' that type of play, your dolls need to do something different to make it interesting. Not all kids make that switch; some move on to other types of play. Actually, ds didn't really get interested in stuffed animals until he was a bit older. The stuffed animals in our house lead very interesting lives. They go to school. They played a rousing game of charades this afternoon (you haven't lived until you've tried to make a stuffed elephant act out putting on boots!). There is an "Animal ball" (baseball) game every Saturday in our living room. There is a complicated Penguin family tree that ds is working on expanding. The penguins came traveling with us this summer. They went to the beach. They went camping.

 

Penguins at the beach 450.jpg

 

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#26 of 45 Old 11-21-2010, 12:00 AM
 
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My DD at 5.5 is gradually expressing her interst in baby care :). When she was about 1-2 she would play with baby dolls occassionally and then

she moved to princesses and never looked back. I would say now from what I experienced that she tends to play with things that she relates to

as when she was a baby/toddler she wanted to do play with babies and take care of them as she has been taken care of. Then she

felt like a big girl and she was pretending to be a princess and so she did play with princesses only. Now she sometimes displays

interest in taking care of a baby doll again and this sometimes is with actuall baby doll and sometimes with any toy she wants,

she just will do all the swaddling, nursing or bottle/sippy feeding or food feeding .. bathing..putting  the toy in the bed etc..

 

I realise that for that now she does not need actuall baby doll, she will do this with a soft toy, with a princess toy.. she simply

has enough imagination to project her care onto any toy without needing specifics ;)

 

I noticed that older girls actually go back to baby care because their mothering instinct so to speak kicks in at older age

so this is just different stage I would think. I see my daughter somewhat headed that way so I will let you know in few years.

 

For now it is still princesses and Barbies. Now she is big time into Snow White. Snow White and her beloved Cottage dollhouse and this is hot topic these days

but there are days when she would take even seven dwarfs and after tending to them as they were babies she will put them all to sleep right there.

 

 

 

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#27 of 45 Old 11-21-2010, 12:07 AM
 
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Wow that is really young I think to be moving on to princess type dolls- my daughter still LOVES babies and she is 8! She actually got a very special baby doll for her eighth b-day and was sooo grateful, she now has her heart set on a moby to carry it in for Christmas.  I think though that the way that we live plays a very large role in shaping the types of toys and such that she likes...Also both my sons love to play with the dolls and pretend to take care of them like real babies too...:)


 dust.gifJesus loving, wife to my sweet love of 11 years luxlove.gifgoorganic.jpg,saynovax.gif,uc.jpg, bf.gif,baby-wearing,familybed1.gif,homeschool.gif,cd.gif ,mama to dd wool.gif , ds1 broc1.gif, ds2 diaper.gif ,ds3 babyf.gif one on the way heartbeat.gif!

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#28 of 45 Old 11-21-2010, 06:15 AM
 
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I'll say another "it depends".  Dd played with baby dolls and started with Groovy Girls and Barbies and Polly Pockets at some point (and Playmobil and Lego minifigs too). I can't recall exactly when that happened, but she still played with baby dolls. Her devotion was always to her stuffed animals though.  Even last summer, when she was 13, she wanted a special bear that she spotted when we were traveling.  Interest in dolls ebbed and flowed. When she was 11, her heart's desire was for a very elaborate dress-up doll that took her fancy. I knew that she wasn't really going to be into doll-playing much longer, but she did get it for Christmas, enjoyed it for a while and sure enough, it hasn't been out of the box in 2 years.

 

I think part of "it depends" is whether the child has another outlet to express their nurturing impulses. DD found it mostly with her stuffed animals, but also with pets. A child with baby siblings may not need or want a doll to play with, if they can help with a real baby.  

 

OP, if it's the fashion and body image aspect that is troubling you, there are lots of alternatives to Barbies and Bratz dolls that don't emphasize the fashion stuff. OTOH, you could encourage your niece's creativity with dress-up and give her some fabric ends and notions and she can try crafting her own doll outfits. She'll need some help with cutting and stitching, but it may inspire her.  DD did this and now as a teen, she buys vintage clothes at thrift shops and re-makes them.  She's into fashion, but it's on her own terms and it's an expression of her individualism. 

 

 

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#29 of 45 Old 11-21-2010, 06:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
There is a complicated Penguin family tree that ds is working on expanding. The penguins came traveling with us this summer. They went to the beach. They went camping.

 

 

 



Those photos are adorable! Last year, DD (then almost 13 y.o.!) did  something similar with a family of marsupials - kangaroo, koala and wombat - when we took an extended road trip in the van. They were snuggled comfortably on the back of a head rest so they had a great view of the passing countryside. I noticed that they are still in the van, though, so I think the charm wore off once the trip ended and she had real human friends to see again everyday. 

 

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#30 of 45 Old 11-21-2010, 06:58 AM
 
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I think a lot of this has to do with which type of pretend play an individual child prefers. I think some kids like to be IN the action and some kids like to direct the action. For kids who like to be in the action, baby dolls might appeal--then they can be the parent, or big brother/sister, or whatever in the narrative they're constructing and the baby doll is more or less life-size. My 4 yo is much more a "direct the action" kind of kid. She doesn't play with dolls much at all, but she LOVE Playmobil stuff, her dollhouse, and setting up little scenarios with her small stuffed animals. She typically narrates the action that she's having the toys enact. Compared to other kids I know, she is also much less into dress-up. She has some dress-up clothes and uses them occasionally, but she's much definitely less interested in BEING the pirate/princess/robber/teacher than she is in setting up, talking about, and moving her figures through the pirate adventure/princess story/robbery/classroom.

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