Dolls: Pretend Play for Real Empathy

Dolls:  Pretend Play for Real Empathy

Between making sense of their surroundings as well as themselves, and developing and practising important skills -- dolls are an integral tool in early childhood education. 

Our first in a series on using dolls in an early years classroom, we'll look at how careful doll selection can encourage empathy and cultural understanding in young children. 

CLICK HERE to browse our entire doll collection.

Tanya R. Altmann, M.D., a pediatrician in West Lake Village, California, and author of Caring for Your Baby and Young Child tells* that role playing with dolls is an effective and fun way to prepare children for an addition to the family.


Many schools have empathy programs in the early years that combine the regular visit of a mother and her newborn with lessons anchored by realistic dolls. They mirror caregivers behaviour, practising with the dolls, between the mother and infant visits.

Giving students a newborn sized doll can provoke pretend play that fosters responsibility, empathy and social skills.

These Lots to Love Newborn dolls feature unique facial expressions and eye colours capturing a wide variety of emotions.

Their expressive eyes call for attention, and friendly expressions elicit conversation.  Available in two sizes, and come in a range of ethnicities. 

Carefully selecting doll sets with a variety of skin tones, eye colours, and dress can expose children at a young age to a wide range of not only cultures, but physical abilities and body traits.

You can find our Multi-Ethnic Dolls set (pictured below) here.   You can also add Multicultural Ethnic Doll Clothes set here, to add to your existing doll collection.


Whereas the Special Kids dolls combine different assisting tools (wheelchairs, crutch, guide dog) with the different dolls. 

Dolls reflecting special needs physical aids wheelchair crutch guide dog for education child care.

So snap a pic and share showing how your kids, school, or childcare centre puts their doll collection to use!


*Information from:

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  • Katherine Robb
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