A really easy way to engage your little one in doll play is through a simple changing station.
I’m a massive fan of open ended toys as these spark so much more imaginative play – and hopefully you will see how simple household items can be gently gathered together and presented in a way which inspires doll play.
You really don’t need a lot of doll accessories to nuture a loving relationship between your child and their doll.
To find out why I think dolls are so important pop to my previous post —>
I see myself as a play facilitator at home – initiating play and then quietly stepping back and allowing their little worlds of imagination to take over. With younger children you will need to hover more and be prepared to step in and play a ‘grandparent’ role – as the dressing and undressing of the doll will need to be supported.
First of all quietly gather all the elements of the play – and set them up. For this changing station I collected:
• a rug
• a hand towel and a few reusable cloths
• a basket and a wooden bowl
• a little teddy for Dolly to play with
• a change of clothes and a ‘clean’ nappy (if you don’t have these you just put her clothes back on again).
As soon as I started laying everything out my children gathered around eager to join in. First of all we undressed the Dolly.
My eldest decided that Dolly really needed a bath and they decided to use the basket to wash her in. They made some great sound effects – wastchhh chhhhh!
The care that they used to lift the Dolly out of her bath and dry her melted my heart – dolls are a brilliant way for children to re-enact the love and care you give them.
My eldest, who is 9, is very capable of dressing her dolls and enjoyed putting Dolly in her dungarees. This part is where we have to help out younger children – it’s a great opportunity to bond with your child. In our home this special play has resulted in me being called ‘Nanna’, and my mum ‘Great Grandma’ as we join in the playtime.
I hope this gentle approach to doll play has inspired you to have a go!