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Waldorf dolls: Are they worth the cost?

Monica Beyer is a mom of four and has been writing professionally since 2000, when her first book, Baby Talk, was published. Her main area of interest is attachment parenting and all that goes with it, including breastfeeding, co-sleepin...

Moms and Kids Love them

Have you seen your friend's child with a beautiful, handmade Waldorf doll? Did you blink a little when you found out how much they cost?
Quality dolls for imaginative play
Waldorf doll

These heirloom-quality dolls are not your usual baby doll — but the investment is a good one for the moms and kids who have and love them.

Waldorf dolls got their start in Waldorf education and have made a splash worldwide for parents looking for quality handmade toys for their kids. Instead of being mass-produced, these dolls are lovingly handmade by one or more skilled artisans, often of natural or organic materials. They aren’t cheap, though — they range in price from $100 to $200 each and sometimes more — and the more coveted types can sell out within seconds. Are they worth the cost?

Gentle appeal

Moms find these dolls so appealing because they feature soft, natural materials, and each doll has a neutral, yet pleasant expression. This allows for free and imaginative play without constraint. Many mass-produced toys have a singular function — doing a lot of the thinking for the child — and are limited in that respect, which is why parents turn to toys that feature open-ended play.

Saving your money and spending it in a big chunk can be intimidating, but these dolls are so well-made they will last for generations, and will only grow more wonderful with all of the love and nurturing they are bestowed upon by your children and yourself.

Absolutely worth it

Kimmy, expecting her fourth child, loves Waldorf dolls and absolutely believes that the high price tag is totally worth it.

“I much prefer heirloom-quality toys than plastic stuff,” she explained. “They are traditionally stuffed with wool and smell a bit sweet. They also warm with your body heat so they are wonderfully snugly. The materials are expensive and they are also time consuming to make — most doll makers end up making a few dollars an hour when it’s all said and done.”

Rebecca, mom of four, agreed. “I think they are worth the cost if you look at the time, materials and skills involved in crafting the dolls,” she told us. Store-bought toys are thoughtful gifts, but a Waldorf doll is a gift and so much more. Kids will enjoy dressing them, comforting them, playing tea party with them and sleeping with them. They become a pal in times of stress, such as doctor’s visits.

No dolly love?

The only downside is that some kids don’t take a liking to them — which isn't common, but sometimes happens — as Rebecca ultimately experienced. “My kids have not valued the dolls as much as I had hoped, and do not play with them all that often,” she remembered. “They seem to prefer sticks and stones, and playing in the mud, over toys.”

In that case, there is a market for reselling the dolls that aren’t loved as they should be, or you could also save the doll for a gift for another family member or a future child — or even keep it yourself. You’re never too old to love a doll, and many moms love shopping for themselves too.

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