Experts say it’s good for girls to play with dolls, that playtime helps them try out social situations, develop relationships, and learn to manage conflict in a safe way through role-playing. However, experts say today’s girls are abandoning their dolls way too early, a change that could negatively impact their entire lives. According to The Wall Street Journal, girls used to play with dolls until they were 12 or 13. Today, most of them grow out of dolls by the time they’re 7. Often because they’re too embarrassed to play with dolls their baby sister would play with. It’s part of a trend called “age compression,” which means children grow out of every type of toy at an earlier age. Often their attention turns to videogames, the Internet, or smart phones, and more-adult role models like Miley Cyrus. That makes them want to be grown up way too soon.
Child development experts and toy manufacturers think they’ve discovered a way to get girls to play with dolls longer. How? By making the dolls bigger!
That’s because research shows that girls see large-size dolls as a companion instead of a plaything, someone cool that they can relate to and identify with, and have real-life adventures with. Like the popular American Girl dolls. They’re 18-inches tall, have names, and come with stories about their lives, as well as accessories, and matching outfits for their owners.
A lot of toy manufacturers are following that lead. The new crop of “tall dolls” is priced around $40. Many of them come with names and back stories, and dress like today’s tweens and teens. For example, Walt Disney doubled the size of princess dolls, like Ariel, to 18 inches. The makers of Bratz dolls have released a line of trendy 14-inch dolls with big lips, big hair, and trendy wardrobes. BFC – or Best Friends Club – has 18-inch “tall dolls” that come with a membership card, a storybook, and a diary. Already, the dolls are flying off shelves, and toy retailers expect “tall dolls” to be at the top of a lot of holiday gift lists this year.