Picture the scene, your child is happy and playing with their doll, engaged in the important business of play, but it’s more than just fun, a doll can give your child the power to develop empathy, explore their emotions, use their imagination, unleash their creativity and provide reassurance. For a child, play is an all-consuming experience where they can explore the world of grown-ups by imitating what the adults in their life do. With a doll, your child can act out the care they receive from beloved family members, friends, and carers, giving them an early opportunity to care for something and to reflect the love they are given.
A doll can be your child’s first friend, a playmate, especially for firstborns and those that don’t have siblings close in age. Their doll provides a long-standing buddy to join in games and adventures. For nervous or shy children, a little doll slipped into their pocket can be a great comfort in different places with unknown people. Dolls also are great for developing empathy. As the child grows up with the doll, an emotional attachment will develop where they can learn how to understand and share the feelings of another. Even as children mature, they often turn to a favourite doll to allow them to replay and process a highly emotional life situation.
As well as allowing children to deal with reality, dolls unlock a world of imagination and allow your child’s little world to take off. Whilst engaging in play they can be who they want to be and allow their imagination to flourish, whether it’s exploring the imaginary Amazon river behind the sofa; driving a fictional racing car in the armchair or bobbing about on the dreamlike sea in the laundry basket.
Naturally, children spend a lot of their day doing what grown-ups ask them to do, eg to wash their hands before eating, to eat their fruit and vegetables, put their shoes on before they go outside. A doll gives a child a chance to ‘be in charge’. They can decide when the dolly goes to bed, what dolly wears, and what dolly eats. When you listen to your child playing you might hear them telling their doll what they need to do, sound familiar?
Polly had a Dolly is passionate about the power of imagination and aims to create dolls which engage children through creative play. Each doll is thoughtfully designed and made, by Lydia Stonely, to develop your child’s imagination using natural materials, simple expressions and tactile fabrics. As a member of the British Toymaker’s Guild and the Heritage Crafts Association, Lydia Stonely works to ensure that traditional dollmaking techniques are not forgotten.
Expertly hand crafted in her home workshop in Staplehurst, Kent, each doll is as unique and individual as your child. Filled with pure British lambswool her dolls offer a sustainable option in a world of plastic toys. Safety is critical and all dolls are UKCA marked and safe for children. To reflect our diverse nation, dolls are available with six skin tones, various eye colours and even freckles!
You can find lots more doll play ideas at Lydia’s blog www.pollymadeadolly.co.uk including a doll swing and parachutes! To find out more about the beautiful dolls she creates please visit her website