Before each holiday, we begin to think about gifts for children. This article is about why a doll should be on your gift list for a girl or boy.
According to new research published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience titled “Exploring the Benefits of Puppet Play through Neuroscience,” playing with dolls allows children to develop empathy and social care skills.
Playing with dolls has been shown to activate areas of the brain that allow children to develop empathy and social processing skills, even if they play on their own.
In 2020, Cardiff University’s Centre for Human Development Science used the latest neuroimaging technology (fNIRS), which allows you to scan brain activity as the child moves to give the first signs of the benefits of puppetry at brain level.
By observing the brain activity of 33 children between the ages of 4 and 8 as they played with various Barbie dolls, the team found that an area of the brain associated with processing social information, such as empathy, was activated even when the child was playing on its own. These benefits of playing dolls alone have been shown to be the same for both boys and girls.
Dr. Gerson explains:
“This is a completely new discovery. We use this area of the brain when we think about other people, especially when we think about another person’s thoughts or feelings. Dolls encourage them to create their own little imaginary worlds, as opposed to problem-solving games or making games. They encourage children to think about other people and how they can interact with each other. The fact that in our study we observed pSTS activity shows that playing with dolls helps them rehearse some of the social skills they will need later in life. Since this brain region has been shown to play a similar role in supporting empathy and social processing on six continents, these results are likely country-agnostic.”
In 1945, the 20th-century Swiss scholar Jean Piaget published an article, “Play, Dreams, and Imitation in Childhood,” in which he described the imaginary game as inherently social. Since then, the effects of pretend play have been considered positive for children’s social skills and creativity, but it wasn’t until 2020 that these findings received scientific evidence on a neurological level.
The study, conducted in partnership with Mattel, creator of leading doll brand Barbie,is the first time neuroimaging data has been used to identify how the brain is activated during natural play with dolls. Recognizing that this study is the first step towards understanding the positive impact of puppetry with further research needed to develop these initial findings, Dr Sarah Gerson and the Cardiff University team, along with Mattel, have committed to continuing research in neuroscience in 2021.
Contrary to the traditional opinion of society, playing with dolls can provide important growth for children, regardless of gender.
What skills does the game of dolls develop:
- Communication skills
Playing with dolls strengthens the social skills acquired by the child at an early age. When children play in the house, they learn to communicate kindly with each other and cooperate. Children mostly play dialogues and situations that happened to them in reality or they watched from the sidelines. Playing dolls with a child can adjust communication skills and help the child understand how best to communicate with people in different life situations.
By learning important social skills at an early age, children are also aware of responsibility. They learn to care for the doll by playing with it. Mastering this skill can help children learn to care for their pets or older siblings easier to understand how to take care of their younger siblings. Now on sale a lot of game sets with pets, sisters and brothers. Buy them in order to develop skills in your child.
- Empathy and compassion
Another important social skill that children learn by playing with dolls is the ability to process emotions such as empathy and compassion. If you buy several dolls, pets for dolls, a game set of the doctor doll, you will teach the child to feel empathy and be able to show it.
Dramatic play, a play that occurs when children play with dolls, helps develop a child’s imagination when faced with creative, fictional scenarios with his dolls and other children. To develop imagination in the game with dolls will help game sets on topics of interest to your child. As well as cars for dolls, an airplane and a doll’s house. If your child has a favorite cartoon, buy a doll – a hero to play scenes and create your own script with your favorite hero.
For example, Rainbow High dolls are not only very beautiful, but an animated series is shot on them. Each character has his own role and character. Therefore, they are very interesting to collect and play with them.
Playing with dolls and with their friends or parents, children are faced with new unique situations for their games. Communicating with each other can strengthen their vocabulary by filling it with a practical vocabulary. By communicating in this way with their friends, children learn about household chores that may differ from their own. In this way, they discover the world around them.
Alice Lee, a senior psychologist from Melbourne, says playing with dolls has several important advantages.
“Playing with dolls seems to be a critical brain-stimulating activity,” says Dr. Deery.
Whichever doll you choose, Ms. Lee recommends that parents, when playing with children and their dolls, focus on creative play and empathy, saying things like “Oh, I’m wondering how Dolly feels now, she just fell,” instead of focusing on the doll’s clothes or appearance.
“If the emphasis is on’ Oh, she’s so beautiful, and she’s doing all these household chores, that’s part of [teaching little girls]: ‘Oh girls, they do it,'” Ms. Lee says. (Same as if your Ken doll always stays away from that tiny plastic vacuum cleaner.)
“From a young age, many of these scenarios are heard from what they hear around them, and then they can reproduce it.”
Observations of parents and comments of psychologists
In the game with the doll, a role-playing game is born. The child speaks for the doll, pronounces its actions, and in this pronouncing the rudiment of role-playing is hidden – the child takes on the image of the doll, performs its role.
Playing with a doll also satisfies the cognitive activity of the child. Considering the doll, the child explores himself, forms an idea of his body, his capabilities. Also, curiosity is satisfied in destructive actions with the doll: the child breaks, undresses the doll, looks at what is inside it.
The correct proportions of the doll form the correct ideas about your body in a child. And this is very important for his further mental and physical health. For example, Barbie Fashionistas dolls,which were previously criticized, now have different shapes, skin color, and style.
The quality and texture of the material from which the doll is made also matter. This has been established by research. Children have different attitudes towards toys made of different materials. Soft and fluffy materials cause positive emotions, stimulate the child to play. At the same time, rough and refrigerating materials cause a negative attitude.
Dolls Na Na Na Surprise soft, in fluffy purses, just like children.
The expression of the face, the general appearance, the elements of the doll’s clothes carry certain inherent human qualities, and accordingly the way of playing and the role of the doll. So dolls with good or neutral facial features almost always assume their role as saviors, heroes, good fairies, and toys with negative expressions are often some kind of scoundrel, villain. These are characteristic dolls. A characteristic doll (this is a boy doll or a girl doll) has certain human qualities: naivety, stupidity, mischief, etc. This doll carries a characterological given, on which the plot played out with it often depends. The child attributes a lot of positive traits to a positive character doll, and negative characters – negative ones. Such dolls seem to require a certain way of interacting with them from the child. Playing with such dolls becomes a kind of school of social relations.
Most adults are sure that the game of dolls is only for girls. And by the way, boys, about 2-3 years old, willingly play with dolls as well as girls: they put the doll to bed, carry it in a stroller, carry it in their arms. Dads are usually surprised and very shocking.
As mentioned earlier, this is an absolutely normal behavior of any child of this age, because there is an imitation of adults. The kid does all the same things that his mother does to him. There is a development of the social and emotional spheres of life. The child thus learns to interact with others. But, according to the decision of adults, a simple doll is taken from the boy and replaced with various technical toys, or some monster, at best a soldier. Thus, the child is deprived of proper emotional development, there is a development of aggressive behavior, the baby does not learn the right interaction, does not get the right social experience.
Therefore, it is important that at least at this age the boy had the opportunity to play with dolls. It is not necessary to understand this game in dolls for girls, because there are different types of dolls. Growing up, the baby himself will move on to other types of toys, more characteristic of his sex.
Playing with dolls has a comprehensive development on the child. Choose the best doll for your child and show how to play. And then he will play and develop.