In Montessori homes and classrooms, it is common to find simple toys that are based on real life. This is why Montessori educators and parents provide children with baby dolls that are realistic, anatomically correct, and provide a variety of ethnicities.
Montessori baby dolls are realistic and anatomically correct because parents and educators want learning materials that reflect the realism and diversity of the world. Montessori baby dolls are ideal for children to develop social-emotional learning and value people from diverse backgrounds.
Dolls that are based on these characteristics are great toys for children that build upon the principles of the Montessori learning style.
Why Consider Buying Realistic Baby Dolls
Parents and educators who want to teach in the Montessori style need to provide children with a foundation of the real world. Buying dolls that are realistic and anatomically correct give children this type of foundation.
The Montessori learning style is not based on fantasy in any way, but doll playing doesn’t have to have any unrealistic characteristics. Instead, children can learn how to role-play, which helps them develop social-emotional learning or SEL. Not only do children gain a better understanding of social skills, but they also develop better hand-eye coordination by playing with baby dolls.
Children are naturally drawn to nurturing and loving others, and role-playing with dolls helps develop and grow this type of compassion. Children are able to bathe, dress, feed, put to sleep, and care for dolls, just as they would with a real baby. Playing with dolls gives children repetition, which is one of the principles that Dr. Maria Montessori coined as Montessori-style learning.
You might not find baby dolls in a Montessori classroom—baby dolls can sometimes be a source of debate in Montessori environments. Dr. Montessori believed that children learn and grow through play, especially when based in reality. She also believed that pretend play is crucial for children to learn about the world around them. Overall, it depends on parents’ preference whether or not they would like to give baby dolls to their children to play with.
Check out our full article on Montessori’s views on pretend play, imagination, and creativity.
Benefits of Playing with Anatomically Correct Baby Dolls
There are many benefits when it comes to playing with an anatomically correct baby doll. Parents might think that it is strange to give a child a toy that has primary sex traits. However, giving children these dolls doesn’t create perversion or harmful thoughts. Instead, children can learn about the anatomy of the human body along with other benefits, which include:
- Learning about Self-Care: Parents are able to teach their children how to care for the baby doll, which can also help children how to care for themselves. Related: Self-Care in Montessori.
- Improving Self-Esteem: When children use correct anatomical language, it has been shown to improve body image and self-confidence. Having a doll that looks a lot like the child also improves self-esteem because it affirms to the child that there are people in the world that look like them.
- Improving Motor Skills: Since children repetitively dress and undress baby dolls, the repetition helps children develop and strengthen their motor skills.
- Learning about anatomy: Since the toys have primary sex traits, children can learn more about themselves and of those who are of a different sex.
- Forming a well-rounded world view: Many doll companies create multicultural dolls, which help children to understand that the world is diverse and there are many ethnicities.
- Valuing those from different cultural backgrounds: Since there are a variety of multicultural dolls, giving children diverse dolls can help them foster and respect people of different cultural backgrounds.
Which Dolls Are Anatomically Correct
There are several anatomically correct baby dolls. Some of these dolls are ultra-realistic and can cost up to or even more than $100. However, many other brands make more affordable dolls. Take a look at the table to see the price of different baby dolls and which toys are anatomically correct.
|Baby Doll Brand||Is the Baby Doll Anatomically Correct||Price|
|JC Toys||Yes, and the brand offers ethnically diverse baby dolls||$27.99-$67.99 USD (link)|
|Miniland||Yes, and the brand offers ethnically diverse baby dolls as well as dolls with different conditions||$19.98-$37.98 USD (link)|
|Ann Lauren||Yes||$49.99-$139.99 (link)|
In the table above, there are a variety of different dolls that are great for the Montessori approach. JC toys and Miniland toys are both in the more affordable range, which makes them very popular amongst parents.
Miniland toys have a big following, not only because they are affordable, but because the dolls are racially diverse, realistic, and have different conditions. Some of these conditions include visually and auditorily impaired and down syndrome. Miniland’s diverse toys help children to value equality. Miniland is also popular amongst parents that are raising their children within a Montessori environment because the accessories are made out of wood.
JC toys are similar to Miniland toys because the company creates baby dolls that are ethnically diverse, affordable, and anatomically correct. They do not have baby dolls that have different conditions, but this is still a very popular brand that has a variety of shapes and sizes of baby dolls and a variety of plastic accessories.
Ann Lauren baby dolls are on the more expensive side for baby dolls. The dolls are extremely realistic looking and are anatomically correct. This company isn’t as diverse as the other companies named above, but it is still a great brand for parents that are looking for very realistic baby dolls.
No matter which doll you choose to purchase for your little ones, be sure to educate them on the different body parts and show them how to care for their doll as they would a real baby. Through this realistic approach, your child will learn about the world in a fun, yet educational, way.