First of all a disclaimer! Yes I do sell thousands of dolls as the Pattycake Doll Company, but I don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression and assume that I’m all about the almighty dollar. The following suggestions apply to home made dolls too, and in fact, if you know how to make a peg doll, or an apple head doll, or a corn husk doll, or even just a simple stuffed sock doll… please do! Homemade dolls are sweet and personal.
But if you do want to buy a doll for a child, here is what you should consider:
- Most important, and the place everyone should start is age. How old is the child? Is the doll you’re thinking about appropriate for that age? Dolls are tested and rated for safety. Pay attention to that. If a doll says ages three and up, there is a reason! Babies don’t see well for the first six months, but their sense of touch is great – so dolls with lots of different finger-friendly textures are the way to go. Especially dolls ‘made’ for touch… like loveys with satin tags or edges.
WARNING! Choking hazard: May contain small parts, not for children under 3 years.
- What do you want the child to do with the doll, and when do you want her to play with it? Do you want her to cuddle it on the couch and sleep with it at night? Do you want her to play with it like it’s her sister or maybe nurture it and play Mommy? Or do you want her to have dozens of outfits and shoes and hairstyles to work with? I’ve just described the differences between a rag doll, a baby doll and a fashion doll. There are many more, but you get the drift.
- Finally, try to remember who you’re buying the doll for. You’re not buying it for yourself, you’re not buying it for her parents, you are buying it for her. She is not going to be impressed with how much you spent, or if it’s from a famous doll company, or how big it is. It’s a doll. So if you spend $100 on a life sized doll that you love and that is sure as heck going to impress her mama, you may be shortchanging a sweet little girl who just wanted a pretty new doll to love.