What are the benefits of playing with dolls?

What are the benefits of playing with dolls?

What are the benefits of playing with dolls?

What are the benefits of playing with dolls?

Do you remember playing with Polly Pocket, a doll's house, or racing cars? All of these things are classed as ‘small world play’. Did you know that small world play has some enormous benefits for your child’s development? This blog is packed full of tips and ideas for the best toys and resources to support your child’s development!

toddler playing with russian dolls nesting babies and water

Why is small world play beneficial?

Some of our strongest play memories are associated with this kind of play. Memories that you can clearly recall from your childhood are synapses that were formed and stored in your brain, so, if you can clearly recall some small world play, which most of us can, this shows you just how impactful this kind of play can be! Essentially, small world play is pretend play with figures and dolls that encourage children to create playful and detailed worlds, in miniature form. As I’ve already mentioned, you might remember playing dolls or figures as a child, and, the options these days are endless; farms, fairies, firefighters, and small figures. Small world play is one of the most beneficial activities that your child can engage in. Here at Rosa & Bo, we have a wide selection of dolls to support your child with this kind of play. 

woodlies small world play dolls for toddlers

Key benefits of small world play:

Small world play encourages children to develop narratives, helping them to storytell.

You may have seen your child giving characters little voices (so cute!), or perhaps have been involved in your child’s small world play, and have first-hand experience of just how specific children’s narratives can be when it comes to storytelling for small world play, ‘’no not like that Mummy!’’. Your child is absorbing information from you, books, television and watching people all the time. Small world play allows them to piece together all this information and develop their own story. All you have to do is provide the props! A wide selection of people, animals and types of buildings will support your child to come up with their own ideas, the more adventurous the better- think mixing dinosaurs with a school!

 nesting babies in the sand russian doll toddler toys

 Small world play gives children a safe outlet to repeat experiences

Pretend play can be really helpful when children need to repeat something to process the experience. Positive or negative, perhaps there has been an occasion where a child might want to repeat an experience to help them make sense of it. For example, if there was an occasion where was difficult to share a toy, a child can reenact this during small world play. This can support a child see someone else's point of view. Using small dolls in a home-based setup may support your child with something like this. Check out this BBC article on the importance of children’s play.

Small world play boosts children's self-esteem and self-confidence

In small world play, children can explore their own ideas. Sometimes during play, children tend to follow others’ lead, this can be really helpful in extending play and keeping a game going. When your child has the opportunity to create a small world for themself, it lets them test out ideas and boost their confidence which will support them in future when playing in a group. It’s best not to interrupt your child when they are engaged in this kind of play, so consider setting it up when you have a free morning or afternoon.

Small world play develops children's fine motor control

Having control over figures requires children to use their palms or pincer grip. Both of these are critical to developing the muscles needed to learn to use a pencil, get dressed, and tie shoes. But none of this is possible without developed fine motor muscles, so the more play they get with small figures- the better! Animals, people, or fairies, follow your child’s interest and the fine motor skills will follow.

Small world play helps children understand the world

The world is big and complicated- there are many types of places, people, jobs and environments to learn about. It’s hard enough to fathom as an adult, so, what better way to explore, than through play?! You could create the Amazon rainforest, a police station, a zoo, a school, or somewhere totally imaginary.

little jewels nesting babies

The best way to engage your child in this kind of play is to create an ‘invitation to play’, we have a blog here on why parents are the best teachers (and playmates!) for their little ones, and some more ideas for play. Our Rosa & Bo Nesting Babies and Nesting Friends are perfect for this kind of play and can be adapted to whatever your child is interested in. Rosa could become Queen for the day and maybe Benji Bunny could go in a spaceship. I wonder where you will go and what you will discover! Happy Playing!


This blog has been written by our Resident Play Expert here at Rosa & Bo, Sarah Doman. Sarah is a Hypnobirth and Early Years Expert. She helps families from pregnancy to children of 

school age to give birth and parent with confidence. You can find her on social media @sarahldoman.

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