It might be news to toy stores that label their aisles “boys toys” and “girls toys” (or grandparents who insist your daughter would really like a miniature vacuum cleaner for her birthday while your son needs a train set), but kids don’t care about gender. And if they do, it’s because we have conditioned them to. If a toy is fun, they play with it; if it’s not fun, they make it fun using their imagination. I mean, kids are the very best version of humans.
My son likes to play with robots, Legos, cuddly stuffies and dolls. We have a play kitchen and a train table, plus dolls galore. And guess what. When given the chance, most boys will play with dolls. In fact, not only do boys enjoy playing with them, they can reap huge emotional benefits from this type of play. Dr. Lindsay Henderson, a psychologist who treats patients virtually via tele-health app LiveHealth Online, says boys can actually improve their emotional literacy and practice real-life skills by picking up a doll.
“By playing with dolls, children are exploring and developing skills related to caretaking, nurturing and even parenthood,” she tells SheKnows. Boys may well be pretending to be a dad when they nurture a plastic baby doll, but even if their imagination games have little to do with parenting roles, the type of play associated with dolls is beneficial to all children’s growth and development. “The long-term benefits of playing with dolls are not restricted to future parenthood; empathy, responsiveness, love and caretaking can be applied to any relationship or interaction throughout life,” says Henderson.
Yep, boys dig dolls too. Not sure where to start when it comes to buying a doll for a boy? Just for you, I’ve gone straight to the source. I asked my son for his top picks. And with racial diversity as well as body-positive designs, these dolls definitely measure up. Your little guy will love them too.