I have had people say to me … Little girls just do not play with dolls any more. My response … Have you encouraged her, or played with her?
I know growing up, that dolls played a very important part of my life. Our family struggled to make ends meet, and our toys were treasured and few. So treasured in fact, that the dolls I owned as a child, are still my treasured holdings today. I rescued them from the toy box after my two younger sisters had also had their turn with them!
My dolls were babies when we played pioneers, with a wagon and trunk. They were my patient clothing models, when I began to learn the art of sewing, and they put up with countless terribly designed and sewn outfits. They were my comfort on cold winter nights.
My sisters and I played with and treasured our dolls much longer than most young girls seem to today.
Paper dolls were another huge part of our creative childhood. A few magazines of the era such as McCalls came out with a sheet of paper dolls each month. We had a neighbor who subscribed to McCalls and saved the paper doll sheets for us. Betsy McCall and her friends were greatly anticipated on a monthly basis! Carefully cut out, the dolls glued to the back of cereal boxes and cut out, they made fantastic play things. Looking at the elaborate craft sets that are presented to today's children, it is hard for me to imagine that they really stimulate creativity any more than our own imaginations did.
Doll houses played another large part in developing our creativity. As we could only dream of owning a store bought doll house, or furniture, we industriously set out time and again to create our own doll houses out of whatever materials came to hand. A large cardboard box held infinite possibilities.
Items such as empty paper rolls, match boxes, bottle caps, to name a few became pieces of furniture, dishes and much more. Careful searching through the Eatons and Sears catalog as well as weekly sales flyers also produced a wealth of accessories. Pictures from the food flyers glued to cardboard, were used to fill the kitchen cupboards, people cut out and glued to cardboard became the doll house families. My sisters and I enjoyed countless hours of creative fun with these simple materials.
I read an article recently that suggested little girls are tiring of dolls as young as 6 years old. What do they play with then, that can develop their imagination, creativity and nurturing instincts.
I hope parents everywhere will realize the value in simple, uncomplicated playthings for their children. A doll house, with a doll family, furniture, and accessories can provide countless hours of decorating and imaginative fun, as rooms are changed and rearranged. Not only is the imagination developed, but also fine motor skills are honed as children learn to manipulate miniature items.
I also can not help but feel that a little girl who cares for, changes, puts to bed and adores a favorite doll, will learn valuable nurturing instincts that will stay with her into her adult life.