Why Playing With Diverse Dolls Builds Empathy In Children

The next time your feel like adding to your child’s Barbie collection think carefully about your choice. All dolls are not equal. According to experts how diverse your doll can have a powerful effect on how your child sees the world.

Doll play has all the benefits
Dolls can help children learn social skills and develop empathy. They can also be used to help educate children about body knowledge and role play social situations. All this makes dolls a great toy for children of any gender.

Mixing things up
Are your dolls all blue-eyed blondies? Well it may be time to mix things up. For parents who value diversity, regardless of their own cultural background, consider using dolls of different colours. Experts agree there are many benefits of playing with dolls that look like them, but this also applies to dolls that don’t – from dolls with disabilities, to dolls of different sizes and colours.  

Whether it be that amazing Afro, or ginger curls galore, freckles or green eyes, children benefit hugely from seeing themselves in the dolls that they choose or play with.  After all, how does a child feel proud of their own identity if there are no toys that celebrate their existence?

Keep things simple
We all wish we could have hair and a figure like Barbie, but how realistic is this? I mean have you even seen her waist? Dolls that don’t promote diversity risk reinforcing stereotypes in the consumer mindset and in our society. Ultimately, buying Barbie isn’t going to do them harm, but parents should at least be aware of appearance-focused media young children consume. And helping our children nurture their awareness and acceptance from an early age, creates a more tolerant and accepting grown up in the future.