Last updated: August 18, 2021

This time we are going to talk about dolls, one of the oldest toys in existence and one of the most popular with girls all over the world. We will tell you about the main features of this product so that you can choose the most suitable one for you. The market offers an infinite number of doll models, brands, designs, sizes and materials, adapted to different ages and styles. According to these characteristics, you will also find different qualities and prices; that is why it is important that you can evaluate all aspects. Throughout the article we will discuss what types of doll models there are, their characteristics, advantages, disadvantages, costs, etc. It is essential that you take into account every detail to make the best choice of purchase. Don't miss it!




Summary

  • Dolls are imitations of babies, girls and women, used as toys for young girls. Through playing with dolls, girls develop imagination, creativity, empathy, compassion and communication, among other benefits.
  • There are different types of dolls, designed for different ages and tastes. In the market you can find from classic to modern dolls; there are also handmade dolls, handcrafted dolls, and collectible dolls for antique lovers.
  • Among so much variety and assortment, it is important to take into account certain fundamental factors before buying, such as the materials they are made of, the dolls appropriate for each age, collectible dolls, etc.

The best Dolls: Our Picks

Buying guide

The main purpose of this section is to inform you about the most important features of the product you are interested in buying. Further on, we will tell you about the dolls, their advantages, and the factors that you should not lose sight of before choosing the perfect model for you.

Dolls are one of the most popular toys for girls. (Photo: tan4ikk / 123rf.com)

What are dolls and what are their advantages?

Dolls are replicas of babies, girls and women, made of various materials, such as cloth, wood, wool, hessian, cotton, plastic, etc. They are one of the oldest toys in existence and have been chosen by little girls for hundreds of years. Dolls are also sought after by collectors, who in many cases pay large sums of money to obtain antique models made of porcelain or wax. They are one of the objects with the longest history, and have even been considered magical by certain cultures. Nowadays, the market has incorporated an infinite number of designs, materials, formats, styles and sizes of dolls, often adapted to animated characters from series or films. There are also dolls that talk, walk, sing, cry, laugh, etc. Playing with dolls has enormous benefits. This toy develops empathy in girls, allows them to create bonds of affection, learn to socialise and relate, externalise feelings, resolve conflicts, create stories and reproduce everyday situations, among many other things.

Advantages
  • They develop imagination and creativity
  • they favour intercommunication
  • they create affective bonds
  • they stimulate cognitive capacities
  • they allow the externalisation of emotions
  • they develop empathy and compassion
Disadvantages
  • Hard materials can harm the youngest
  • there are sexist doll models
  • some are replicas of physical or gender stereotypes

Classic, modern, handmade or collectible dolls - what should you pay attention to?

Dolls can be divided into four types: classic, modern, handmade and collectible. We will tell you the most significant aspects of each of them so that you can compare them and choose the one you like the most according to your style and interests. Classic dolls. Classic dolls are those that are more or less faithful replicas of real babies, girls and women. Some have very similar features, and others are more caricatured, or have simpler and more linear designs. Modern. Modern dolls tend to be more adapted to market trends, as many are inspired (as we mentioned in What are dolls and what are their advantages?) by characters from fashion series or films, or have a more "fashionable" wardrobe. Handmade. The main particularity of handmade dolls is that they are handmade. Their designs are usually more rustic and simple, and they can reproduce real girls, women and babies, or female children's characters, historical characters, etc., depending on the style of the creator. These dolls are often made from recycled materials and accessories. They can be aimed at children or adults, depending on the theme and materials, as in many cases they are used as decorative objects. Collection dolls. Collection dolls, or vintage dolls, are the most chosen by antique lovers, who use them as decorative objects. As with all collector's items, the prices of these dolls vary enormously according to the period of manufacture, the state of conservation, the materials, whether it is authentic, etc.

Classic Modern Handcrafted Collectable
Materials Plastic, cloth Plastic generally Burlap, cloth, wool, wood Porcelain, wax
Ages Up to 4 years approx. From 4 or 5 years and up Girls or women, depending on material and theme Adults
Design Simple, childlike Commercial Rustic Antique, realistic

Buying criteria: factors that allow you to compare and rate different doll models

Here are the most important factors to consider before buying a doll. As it is such a varied product, it can sometimes be difficult to choose, so we will tell you which are the aspects that you can't fail to observe if you want to choose the perfect doll for you.

  • Ages
  • Materials
  • Collectible dolls
  • Therapeutic use

Ages

Although the ages are estimates, they can serve as a reference when choosing the right doll for your child. Therefore, below we will detail which doll is ideal for each age or stage, according to certain predominant factors. 2 to 4 years old. At this stage, girls prefer more classic or traditional dolls that look like them or their mum. Plastic baby dolls, which they particularly enjoy playing with, can be included, but those with small parts should be avoided. Classic dolls are also recommended for babies, but it should be made clear that they do not yet have much idea of the figures and what they represent, so the best dolls are those in bright colours that attract their attention, and made of fabric so that they do not bump into them. 5 years and older. At this age, girls already consume television programmes and animated films, so they ask for dolls inspired by some of their heroines, or those with accessories or thematic costumes (for example, ballerinas, princesses, doctors, teachers, sportswomen, etc.). Adults. Strangely enough, there are adults who love dolls, especially collectible dolls made of porcelain or wax. There are also those who collect handmade woven or embroidered dolls, which are usually inspired by female characters (Frida Kahlo, for example).

Materials

As mentioned throughout the article, dolls are made of a wide variety of materials (it would be redundant to mention them again). None of them is better or worse than the other, but certain details should be taken into account before choosing them. Plastic. Most modern dolls are made of plastic, as are all their accessories. It is important to check that it does not contain Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), as it can be toxic, and that it is not used by small children as it is a rigid material and can hurt them. Cloth. Fabric is a very convenient material for dolls in terms of safety, as it is soft and flexible. You should take into account if the stuffing is washable or if, preferably, it has a zip to remove the fabric so as not to spoil or caking the doll. Wool. Wool is usually used for dolls designed for newborns, as its texture is soft and delicate, but it is not the most suitable material, precisely because of its delicacy, for more intense play. Wool is also used to make decorative dolls. Wood and burlap. Although these materials are very different from each other, they have in common that they are used for handmade dolls. The former, of course, is not recommended for very young girls because of its rigidity, and the latter tends to be quite rough to the touch, so both are more for decorative use. Porcelain. This material, like wax, is no longer used for doll making. In fact, it is not usually used for any product, as it is more related to antique objects or utensils (tableware, for example), and it is not suitable for play, as it is very fragile.

Dolls are made of fabric, plastic, wool, hessian, wood, etc. (Photo: Antranias / pixabay.com)

Collectible dolls

We could say that the collectible dolls par excellence are those made of porcelain and wax, perhaps because they are the oldest, or because of their amazing realism and costumes; but the reality is that there are several types, models and materials of collectible dolls, for all tastes and styles. Rag dolls. They are made of cloth or rag, and generally have a very simple design. They are usually hand-painted, with clothes made from scraps, and their hair is made of wool or thread. Although they are still handmade, you can still find some collectible antique models. Metal dolls. Most of these dolls were made in the mid-1880s in Germany and the United States, and can be made of silver, bronze, pewter, etc., and have their whole body metallised or just the head. They are usually quite expensive due to their age and the materials used in their manufacture. Rigid plastic dolls. These are the classic "baby dolls", but from the 40's and 50's. Their material is harder than today's plastic dolls, and they usually have much more detailed, defined and detailed features than their contemporary namesakes. Wooden dolls. Antique wooden dolls, whose origins date back to prehistoric times, are often carved or hand-painted. They are collected as a rustic or traditional decorative object of certain cultures, especially Latin American and African. There are also modern collectible dolls, which are less than 20 or 25 years old, but which have been discontinued and few examples remain. In reality, however, for a doll to be considered "collectible", it must be more than 25 or 30 years old.

Therapeutic use

Dolls are widely used to treat diseases such as Alzheimer's, for example. Since it is an object that inspires peace, love, joy and empathy, it is very good to accompany therapeutic processes that require more relaxation, concentration and social interaction. (Featured image photo: 1588877 / pixabay.com)

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