Inclusive Dolls

Why Inclusive Dolls for Kids Matter?

11 Sep 2023

Remember those days when you'd spend hours lost in a world of imagination, where your dolls were your closest companions and confidants? Perhaps you had a favourite doll, one that you cherished more than any other. For many of us, these playtime memories hold a special place in our hearts. Did you know that statistics show that children spend up to 6 hours a day playing with toys? During these hours of play our kids’ minds are actively absorbing the world around them, and what they play with can have a significant impact.

In this blog post, we'll talk about inclusive dolls and why they matter so much in today's society. From their historical significance to the positive influence they have on children's development, we'll explore the reasons why inclusive dolls are not just toys, but powerful tools that can shape young minds and create a better world.

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Historical perspective - evolution of dolls

Dolls have been around for a very long time. From ancient figurines, dolls made of clay, wood or cloth,  to handcrafted porcelain dolls of the Victorian era, these miniature companions have been cherished by generations of children. However, if we look back, we'll notice something quite telling – traditional dolls often reflected a limited worldview as most of them looked the same. They were usually made to look like a specific kind of person, often from a particular place or culture. This meant that many kids didn't get to play with dolls that looked like them or their friends. They lacked the diversity and representation that our world truly embodies.

Wooden Doll

It wasn't until more recent times that we witnessed a transformative shift when inclusive dolls started emerging. We’ve realised that dolls should be more diverse and that they should look like kids from all over the world. These changes paved the way for dolls that could resonate with every child, regardless of their abilities, colour and background.

The importance of play in child development

Playing is a very important part of every child’s life. It is how kids explore and figure out the world and it is their path to learning and growing. Through doll play, kids can learn how to solve problems, communicate, share and express their feelings. Dolls can also boost a child’s self-esteem because they look like friends who are just like them. On the other hand, when dolls come in all kinds of shapes, colours, and abilities, children get to play with dolls that are different from them and they learn about being kind and accepting of everyone.

So, playing with dolls isn’t just a simple pastime- it can actually make your kids smarter, happier and kinder.

Diversity in dolls - why representation matters

Imagine a world where everyone is a superhero, with a doll that looks just like them by their side. That's the kind of world we're aiming for when we talk about why representation in dolls is so incredibly important for kids.

When children play with dolls that mirror their own backgrounds, cultures, or abilities, it's like a warm hug for their self-esteem. It makes them happy and helps them understand the world better. It tells them, 'You belong, you matter, and you can be anything you dream of.' It helps them learn that being different is wonderful, just like real life.  And there are some fantastic examples out there that are already making a big impact. Dolls that celebrate different ethnicities, body types, and abilities are doing a great job of being inclusive.

Inclusive Dolls

Breaking stereotypes and challenging norms

Inclusive dolls are like little revolutionaries in the world of toys. They have the ability to teach kids some of life's most valuable lessons. It’s like they step onto the scene to say, 'Hey, forget about those old stereotypes and boring gender roles.' Whether it's a doll dressed as a fearless firefighter or a doctor with a passion for fashion, they show kids that anyone can be anything they want to be. The significance of dolls that have diverse careers, abilities, and backgrounds is enormous. They show our kids there’s a world of possibilities and encourage them to dream big without being held back by preexisting beliefs.

Inclusive toys - toys that teach

Studies show that these dolls can inspire children to challenge stereotypes, broaden their horizons, and embrace the beautiful diversity of humanity. They connect children to different cultures, backgrounds, and identities, fostering their curiosity and understanding. They teach kids that being different is not just okay; it's something to celebrate. Beyond that, inclusive dolls can help reduce bias and prejudice. By interacting with dolls that represent diverse races, abilities, and genders, children learn from an early age that diversity is a treasure, and kindness is universal.

A Kid Playing With a Doll

The role of parents and caregivers

As parents and caregivers, we have an important job when it comes to choosing dolls for our kids. It's all about picking dolls that show how different and amazing our world is. Here are some easy tips to help you do that.

Encourage inclusivity

Look for dolls that look like all kinds of people, with different skin colours, abilities, and jobs. This way, your kids can learn that everyone is unique and special.

Choose dolls made from sustainable materials

Try to find dolls that are made from sustainable materials or produced by companies with eco-friendly practices. This helps take care of our planet, which is another super important lesson to teach your kids, nurturing environmental awareness in them.

Rag Dolls Made from Sustainable Materials

Involve your kids in doll shopping

When you go doll shopping, let your kids join in the fun. They can pick dolls that they really like and that resonate with their hearts and imagination.

Foster conversations about diversity

Talk to your kids about why it's awesome to have dolls that look like different people. Share stories about how everyone's different but that's what makes the world interesting. Encourage your little ones to ask questions and learn with an open heart and mind.

Promote kindness and acceptance

Finally, show your kids that being kind and accepting of everyone, no matter where they're from or what they look like, is super cool. Invite all sorts of people into your life and home, and teach your kids to be caring and respectful.

By doing all this, you help your kids grow up to be kind, respectful, and mindful of our planet, making the world a better and more inclusive place.

Challenges in the toy industry

While inclusive dolls have been a positive force for change, there are still some challenges in the toy industry. One of the big challenges is making sure that these dolls truly represent different cultures, abilities, and identities while keeping them affordable. Another challenge is that the people who create toys need to be more diverse themselves, so they can understand and make better toys for everyone.

But here's the good news: some toy companies are working hard to tackle these issues. They want to make toys that are inclusive and reflect the real world. By talking about these companies and the work they're doing, we can help make the toy industry more fair and enjoyable for all children. Together, we can ensure that every child can find a doll that reflects their unique identity and the wonderfully diverse world they live in.

Explore our selection of handmade inclusive dolls for kids by Watoto, and join us in supporting a more inclusive toy industry.

Inclusive, Handmade Pocket-Sized Doll - Baby Yara
Inclusive and Handmade Play Doll - Lara
Inclusive and Handmade Play Doll - Adil

Beyond dolls: other inclusive toys and media

Besides dolls, there's a whole world of inclusive toys and media, such as TV shows and books, that can enrich a child's play and help them learn about different people and places. These include toys like board games, action figures, and puzzles that feature characters from various backgrounds and abilities. These toys go hand-in-hand with doll play as they offer different ways to explore diversity.

When kids play with dolls and read books, or watch TV shows or movies that show diverse characters and cultures, it's like having a big adventure where they can learn about the world and all the different kinds of people and cultures in it. These stories not only entertain but also educate, as they are like windows into different ways of life and perspectives. Together, these inclusive toys and diverse storytelling create a great environment for children to learn about the world, fostering empathy, understanding, and an appreciation for the rich tapestry of humanity.

Inclusive Dolls Diversity


Let’s take a look at some important insights we have uncovered in this text. We've learned that dolls aren't just toys; they can be special tools that help a child’s development and foster their imagination, empathy and self-esteem. We also saw that representation matters and how important it is for dolls to look like different people because it teaches our children to be accepting, kind and fair. Parents and caregivers have a big role in helping kids play with inclusive dolls, and toy companies need to make more diverse and sustainable toys.

We also learned that when dolls and stories in books or on TV show different kinds of people, it helps us all see the world in a better, unbiased way. So, as we finish, let's remember that the toys we choose for our kids can make the world a kinder and fairer place, where everyone is accepted and valued. Let's keep supporting inclusive dolls and making playtime full of diversity and togetherness.

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