5 Really Non-Traditional Uses for Children’s Dolls

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post  on five traditional uses for dolls that got a lot of interest. Today I’d like to talk about five uses for dolls that are ‘non-traditional.’

1: Good Touch – Bad Touch

antomically correct Asian Boy doll

It doesn’t surprise us, but it does make us feel sad every time The Pattycake Doll Company receives an order of anatomically correct dolls from a Social Services Agency. For children, it is easier and more comfortable to talk about it happening to a doll then it is to themselves.

2: Aromatherapy, Relaxation and Bed Warmer Dolls.

A Microwavable Aromatherapy and Bed Warmer Doll

A Microwavable Aromatherapy and Bed Warmer Doll

Filled with Flax seeds and herbs instead of fiberfill and foam, like these childrens heating pads, are just as soft and cuddly as a traditional teddy bear or other ‘take-to-bed’ doll. But you can put it in the freezer and then between the sheets as an ‘air-conditioner on a hot summer’s eve, or in the microwave to release the delightful aromatherapy and bed warming benefits.

3: Teaching and Representing Diversity

Using dolls to teach diversity

Using dolls to teach diversity

You know that more than half of America’s Children are children of color right? Gone are the days when the only dolls in America’s schools were pink.

4: Comfort Babies

a reborn doll

An example of reborn doll artistry by doll artist Donna Lee

For some people, a ‘Reborn,’ Realistic Doll can fill a void in their hearts. Empty Nesters, widows and widowers, people who have recently lost a child… are all examples of people who have used a doll as a surrogate to attach to while working out their feelings.

Most successful reborn doll artists have had the request to create a doll “exactly like…” a recently deceased child.

5: The Potty Training Dolls

Aquini Boy Doll on doll's potty

Drink and Wet dolls have been around for a long time, but Drink and Wet dolls sold in kits with the potty as Potty Training Dolls, especially the boy version, are a very recent variation.

Soft Bodied Dolls – Happy Hybrid?

Dolls today come in three basic styles:

‘All Cloth Dolls’ – also known as Rag Dolls,

Classic Raggedy Ann Doll

All ‘Vinyl Dolls’ – often called plastic dolls,

antomically correct Asian Boy doll

and hybrids or ‘Soft Body’ dolls.

Soft Body dolls

a 12″ and an 18″ doll. Both are ‘soft body’ dolls

Why should you care? Because the three different types of dolls offer three different kinds of ‘play,’ and all three are important to a child’s development.

Broadly speaking, rag doll’s are more cuddle and security objects, all plastic dolls can be dressed and undressed (learn to dress, nurturing and fashion), and go into the bath, and cloth / plastic hybrids offer a combination of both features… they are soft and cuddly like the rag dolls, but are easily dressed and undressed because of the flexibility of their limbs for shoving arms and legs into the clothing.

PS: A new and very positive trend we’re seeing now is the cloth body ‘bath’ doll… has all the advantages of a hybrid, but made with a cloth body specifically designed to dry quickly. Corolle’s Tidoo and Adora’s BathTime babies are two examples of these new ‘Hybrid – Hybrids!”

The Different Kinds of Dolls

The Pattycake Doll Company carries over 400 different dolls,  but we are still really only a small doll specialty store.We specialize in about a half-dozen categories, but we thought might find our (admittedly incomplete) list of dolls interesting:

Rag Dolls – Celebrity Dolls – Baby Dolls – Boy Dolls
Collectible Dolls – Potty Training Dolls – Waldorf Dolls
Home made dolls – Corn Husk Dolls – Apple head dolls
Baby’s First Dolls – Fashion Dolls – Ball Joint Dolls
Puppets – Paper Dolls – Art Dolls – Reborning Dolls
18″ Dolls – Plush Character and Licensed Dolls
Anatomically Correct Dolls – Drink and Wet Dolls
Pillow Dolls – Bath Dolls – Antique Dolls
Hair Styling Dolls – Water Babies – Learn to Dress
Bath Dolls – Barbie Dolls – Animated Dolls – Musical Dolls
Doll House Dolls – Action Figures – Special Needs Dolls
Kachina Dolls – Kokeshi Dolls

And of course there are many subcategories within these!