For years, we’ve written about the joy and beauty and specialness of baby dolls as gifts for our kids, from newborns to toddlers, even our school-aged kids. A doll can be a cherished best friend, a bedtime comfort, a travel companion, a tea party guest, and these days, a source of endless smartphone photo inspiration.
At least for all the parents, godparents, aunts, uncles and grandparents of the world!
So we are beyond thrilled to be teaming up with Corolle, the wonderful French company behind our own absolutely favorite baby dolls. They’re each designed to have the perfect look, size, feel and scent (mmm…that vanilla scent) for little ones to love, and we’re so grateful that Corolle offers such diversity of skin tones, races, and genders too, plus dolls for children at all ages and stages.
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You may have even grown up with a Corolle doll yourself, because (drumroll) Corolle is turning 40 this year! That’s a whole lot of happy kids with a lot of baby dolls over four decades.
And should you need more reasons to pick up a Corolle doll for your next birthday, shower, or new baby gift? We’ve got 7 right here, all based on research, expert advice, and or own lived experiences.
(We may even be a little emotional just writing about them.)
Related: The best baby gifts of 2021: Our Annual New Baby Gift Guide
1. Baby dolls inspire imagination
Our associate editor Kate doctoring her doll back to health
Sure, it looks like a baby doll to us. But to your child, they see a newborn in need of a change, a preschooler in a classroom, a cake-loving friend at a birthday party, a new sibling (aw!) — or even a firefighter, a teacher, a baker, an astronaut, or a movie star.
Kids have the incredible ability to see beyond what a doll may look like, and use their imaginations to create great adventures they’ll always remember. (We even remember our own adventures with our own dolls from childhood — some going back as long as Corolle has been around!)
And of course, pretend play lets kids practice all of the other skills here, which are all so essential to their social, emotional and physiological development .
2. Baby dolls help establish nurturing, empathy and kindness.
Ibidunni took Bubbles to Santa Fe, NM in 1985…and basically everywhere else
When your child dresses a doll, tucks a doll into a carriage, sings the doll to sleep, or bathes the doll (even if the doll wasn’t made for the bath, whoops!) it’s all a demonstration of kindness. There’s something just so incredible about seeing a young child put on a bandage when the baby “has a boo-boo” or sing a lullaby because “the baby is scared.” It’s like we’re seeing the first signs of true empathy appear right before our eyes.
And if you’ve got a new baby in the house, a baby doll allows your older child to emulate the caregiving they see in you. Which is why our toy chests are packed with baby doll accessories like strollers, feeding sets, and mini strollers, ha.
Even the littlest children love getting to “be” good moms and dads too.
3. Baby dolls helps kids become responsible
Liza M rocking her Corolle baby doll to sleep
Kids start to learn real responsibility when they have a doll — not just the imaginary kind. You may notice it starts with imaginary play actions like covering the baby doll with a blanket, but only up to the doll’s shoulders. Or putting the doll into a tiny high chair at the dinner table. (How cute is this doll high chair!)
But as kids grow, they learn how to really take care of the doll — like keeping it dry (if it’s not made for the bath), making sure the clothes are on properly, or even storing it in a special place to keep it safe.
Seeing that sweet, realistic baby face means your child will see the baby doll as having more realistic baby needs than even other stuffed friends they may love.
4. Baby dolls help children process emotions.
Our contributor Caroline getting her cuddle on with her favorite doll
As your kid becomes verbal, you’ll learn that the baby is angry, the baby is sad, the baby is happy, the baby is feeling silly. Coincidentally — your child may be feeling the same way. It’s remarkable to see how kids gain emotional growth by projecting their own emotions onto a doll, as a way to learn to manage, express, and understand feelings.
5. Baby dolls teach social skills
Bridget and Juliette playing with Baby Baby
When children are old enough to start playing with dolls together — even if they’re simply co-playing, side-by-side — they are learning important social skills like sharing, listening, taking turns, solving problems, and eventually, collaboration. In fact, we think a lot of adults could solve problems too, if we just played with some dolls together. (Yes, we’re serious.)
6. Baby dolls help kids gain developmental skills like language, and fine/gross motor skills
Our assoociate editor Kate’s son Hayes being a cool dad
We still remember overhearing our toddlers in cribs singing at night to their dolls. Rocking them for naps. Reading to their dolls. Or waking up in the morning, determined to change the baby doll’s clothes, with their tiny, chubby little fingers. All of these activities are opportunities to practice developmental skills in a free-form, open-ended way.
Educational opportunities don’t always come from STEM toys or mommy-and-me classes! Sometimes, all it takes is the love for a doll and the chance to take care of it.
7. Baby dolls build beautiful memories
Liz’s daughter Sage and her Papa in an entire doll world of Sage’s imagination
Collectively, our team probably has a hundred sweet, funny, wonderful stories about our kids and their dolls — and about a zillion photos as evidence. As you can see here!
As kids grow up, they may not remember their preschool classmates’ names, or their favorite foods, but we can assure you, even our tweens and teens always remember the dolls they loved.
And we remember ours too.
We love that Corolle provides kits like this one to the The Fiaria Project , to help foster kids to help ease their transition. Shown here with Kristen’s daughter.
A huge happy birthday wish to our sponsor Corolle! We’re so honored to be a part of your big celebration, and we know so many families will appreciate your generosity.
I followed the steps! This is my link–https://www.instagram.com/p/BxdrANNnCeC/
All steps followed! I LOVE this idea. Kudos! https://www.instagram.com/p/bxi6be7haue/?igshid=1c8pjern3evcw
We entered at @lucilleimogen
I entered! @tired.as.a.muthax5
I bought this doll for my grand daughter’s birthday and she was so excited she screamed! She has 4 older siblings which means money is tight so this meant the world to her I follow both accounts on Instagram as well thank you so much for this opportunity
https://www.instagram.com/p/BxiQ49SHeU9/ My two sweet babies!
Entered using instructions
I ALWAYS LOVED DOLLS EVEN AS AN ADULT AND BELIEVE THAT DOLLS ARE GOOD LEARNING TOOLS FOR BOYS AND GIRLS.
We entered! @aguaserena
Oops! I forgot the link https://www.instagram.com/p/BxiT-BfH1ac/
My mom is an avid Disney fan so after my baby was born, she gave her her own Mickey plush. It’s been with my baby since day 1. It’s a nice reminder of my moms bond with my daughter, and a way to look forward to the future. Someday they’ll be at Disneyland together 🙂
Here’s my link: https://www.instagram.com/p/BxiXidQHoZj/?igshid=1fwyg1dj2ofy3
Yay! This is such a wonderful giveaway to give to The Fiaria project. We entered @aguaserena
I entered! Here’s the link to my post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BxicbtZFIUT/. The account is @babysheepie.
Thank you for this wonderful giveaway and partnership with the Fiaria Project!
Adorable! My girls would love this!
I followed the steps and emailed a screenshot (as pics of the kiddo stay on the private IG) Thanks for bringing this great brand to my attention, Coolmoms ?
I entered! Hoping I did it right. https://www.instagram.com/p/BxjXNeYH6Xa/
Here’s my link, hoping I did this right:) This was fun! https://www.instagram.com/p/BxjZS5PguYK/?igshid=joo06xpirswn
My daughter has a baby doll that goes with her everywhere.
Hope I did this right.. I caught a grammatical error as soon as I hit post.. Argh! Auto correct you are evil! https://www.instagram.com/p/Bxost_nHht7/
I shared a photo of my baby boy with his bear. He got it from his great granny when we visited her in England. It is so special to have something from her!
I entered! Thank you!
My girls were playing this morning and they pulled out this baby! I had to share as she is from ‘94 or ‘95.
Entered on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/BxyPycgHLSq/?igshid=szto4v06p4ma
Our little loves her Bebe Calin!!! Entered @BDShapiro
I entered because my youngest daughter loves her baby dolls so much. I really enjoyed reading the research about kids play and dolls.
Everyone’s tagged and screenshot is emailed! Thanks for this amazing opportunity and for giving back. The world needs more kindness and baby dolls are a great way for all children to practice love and kindness.
Screenshot emailed since I too keep pics of the kiddos private.
I didn’t see the comment I just submitted so trying again. 🙂 It was super important to me that my baby boy have a baby of his own to love and nurture and cherish. He chose and cherished his first baby, a monkey aptly named “Baby” and everywhere that my first baby and I went, “Baby” was sure to be there.
Thank you for the opportunity. I had a Corolle doll when I was little that I absolutely treasured and it makes my heart so happy that you and Corolle have teamed up to make a difference and give back. The world needs more kindness and love and a baby doll is a great way to start teaching that to our kids at a young age.
I was in foster care at a early age and that lonely unsettled out of place feeling is something that doesn’t really go away but having a baby doll or stuffed animal to lay down with it night to make you feel like you’re part of something or somebody just that feeling of having something to take care of even if it is a baby doll or stuffed animal would have helped me to get through another night and feel a little safer because I had my arms wrapped around something, I think what you guys doing is a wonderful thing and I would love to have one of these baby dolls for my three-year-old granddaughter.
Thanks Christy for sharing such a personal story. We’d love your granddaughter to win too!
To be sure you’re entered in this Instagram contest, please follow the rules above. – Eds
My son really wants a doll, he would love to have one arrive in the mail!
Love this!! Just posted a pick of my girl and her most prized possession. I love that they’re giving dolls to those in need too. Everyone deserves a doll!
Be sure to post the link here or email it to us Elizabeth — can’t wait to see it! – Eds