Dolls have been loved for centuries and continue to have a place of popularity in cultures worldwide. The variety of dolls ranges from vintage and collectible styles to mass-produced dolls. Also, today’s marketplace offers a variety of kinds of dolls, from soft-bodied dolls to porcelain, with skin tones from white to black baby dolls.
Finding the Right Baby Doll
When searching for the perfect doll the task can be overwhelming. Consider the age of the child and the temperament of the child. A tantrum thrower probably wouldn’t enjoy a porcelain doll for very long and a twelve year old would probably want something more like American Girl Dolls or Stardolls.
With an online membership of nearly 23 million, Stardolls are very popular, but are actually paper dolls printed from the website. Here you’ll find ethnic dolls and online interaction for friends age 7 to 17, complete with options for a catwalk to showcase new fashions for the doll clothes.
Kinds of Baby Dolls
Baby dolls come in many shades and sizes. Berenguer baby dolls, Middleton baby dolls and Madame Alexander Huggums dolls are available as African American baby dolls, Caucasian and Asian baby dolls.
It’s common now to find weighted baby dolls that have a more solid “real baby” feel to them, and these weighted babies are often teaching tools in classes about childcare.
Life-like or realistic dolls go potty and cry and need burping and so on, becoming more advanced as technology is incorporated into the dolls.
Cloth Dolls – A Long Time Favorite
Cloth dolls were perhaps the most common dolls for a long time because they could be sewn from remnants of cloth used for clothing in the household. These rag dolls developed into marketable dolls like Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls.
Fabric dolls are still available today in small and large varieties and are appropriate for the youngest children because of the soft features. When the doll is for a baby the eyes should be stitched and the clothing will often be securely attached.
Hard Plastic Dolls
Hard plastic dolls became very popular in the 1940s and 50s as an improvement to the durability and detail found in other doll types. There are still hard plastic dolls today, but the composition of the material is different and more precisely referred to as a hard vinyl doll. Vinyl dolls, such as Barbie dolls, are the most mass-produced and affordable. Made of a soft plastic, these dolls offer easy clean surfaces and are usually safe for young children.
Antique and Vintage Baby Dolls
Antique and vintage dolls are popular with collectors too and even when dollar value may not mean much the nostalgia value could be priceless.
Materials for these dolls include wood dolls, metal dolls, bisque dolls, paper-mache dolls, and composition dolls made of materials such as sawdust, paper, glue and Plaster of Paris.
The most important part of a doll collection is finding a balance between dolls that are enjoyable to look at and ones that are worth a good deal of money (or are likely to appreciate in value). Gene dolls, Robert Tonner dolls, Ginny dolls, and Madame Alexander dolls are a good starting place when looking for elegant collectible dolls.
Porcelain dolls are considered elegant dolls due to the translucence of the material produced by firing pure clay. Porcelain baby dolls are often found with accessories and sometimes they have pose-able bodies.
Don’t Forget About Dollhouses
Playmobil’s Victorian dollhouse and doll house accessories are of a standard size similar to Fisher Price doll houses. Even wooden doll houses by KidKraft and Melissa and Doug are of a similar size to these plastic versions.
Greenleaf doll house kits are known as some of the best miniatures around and make a great family project.
When size is a factor, Playmobil has a very miniature dollhouse complete with tiny figures that are all magnetic. It is a great way to take a dollhouse on a trip or keep a kid busy when going out for dinner (there is a pirate version too).