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MPMK 2015 Gift Guide: Best Dolls & Accessories for Girls and Boys

Top dolls for girls and boys - because playing with dolls builds empathy and emotional intelligence in kids.

Dolls are wonderful for dramatic play, teaching emotions, and fostering nurturing and empathetic qualities in children and with the awesome variety of dolls out there made with boys in mind too, there’s no reason not to take advantage of all those benefits for all of our kids.

Plus, I have so many friends with little girls that are absolutely obsessed with dolls right now that I had to include this guide (they’re just too good of a resource not to take advantage of).

Don’t forget – you can check out all 10 of our 2015 Gift Guides here!

Once again this year, I’m heading up each list with my favorites from all the picks – here, in no particular order, are my top 7 Dolls & Accessories for Girls & Boys (scroll down for full details on each):

  1. Melissa & Dough Brianna Doll $18.95
  2. Playskool Sesame Street Big Hugs Elmo $49.00
  3. Corolle Emma Drink-and-Wet Bath Baby Doll $38.49
  4. Rosa Grandma Doll & Pancho Grandfather Doll $39.95
  5. Chico Doll Stroller $47.20
  6. ERGObaby Original Doll Carrier $24.00
  7. Green Toys Tea Set $19.59

Special Note: This time of year prices can fluctuate quite dramatically.  So if you see something a little outside of your price range, it might not be a bad idea to click over and check  it out anyway – you may get lucky and catch a sale.

Along those lines, I’m doing my best this year to keep our readers up-to-date on any sales I see on our gift guide items.  To be in the loop, be sure to follow us on facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

Ready for the big list? Here we go…

Top dolls for girls and boys - because playing with dolls builds empathy and emotional intelligence in kids.

Dolls for Boys & Girls

With all of the options on the market today, it’s easier than ever to find dolls of one variety or another perfect for your little girl and your little boy. (Check out the grandparent dolls – they’re sure to please any kid.) Here are our favorite picks for a whole range of kids.

  • Manhattan Toy Snuggle Pod $18.00 – Looking for baby’s first doll?  This ultra soft baby complete with her own snuggle pod is a great choice.  Huggable and washable, it’s great for babies and toddlers alike.
  • Melissa & Dough Brianna Doll $18.95 – There’s a lot to like about this basic doll.  At 12″, she’s a good size for hauling around.  Her soft body allows for laying or sitting and her hard arms and legs easily wipe clean.  She has lots of shiny hair to play with and her eyes open and close. Plus, her open mouth allows her to suck on either her thumb or pacifier.  Last but not least, her price can’t be beat!
  • Playskool Sesame Street Big Hugs Elmo $49.00 – Elmo has once again managed to land himself a coveted spot as one of the hottest toys of the year.  Parents are reporting that this dancing, singing, sleeping and hugging super-sized Elmo outshines his tickle-me predecessor.  I especially like how he encourages imaginative play with scenarios revolving around astronauts, rabbits, frogs and horses and how his affirmative words and hugs will help kids build emotional intelligence.
  • Corolle Emma Drink-and-Wet Bath Baby Doll $38.49 – Last Christmas our daughter was 2 and getting more and more into baby dolls.  She was also getting more and more into the idea of potty training (do you hear the angels singing?).  So I figured, why not combine the two? A little research revealed several dolls that actually “pee” after drinking water but reviews, and reports from my friends, suggested that this one was the best. Santa left her under the tree and S was thrilled. I really liked that the doll doubled as a bath toy.  S had been dying to take one of her babies in the tub with her but didn’t have one that would work for that purpose.
  • Manhattan Toy Baby Stella Doll $30.42 – The problem with a lot of soft dolls is that there isn’t a lot the child can do with them.  I love that this one comes with removable clothes and diaper and has a pacifier that attaches via magnet – so smart! There are also tons of cute accessories available for Stella (we’re talking clothes, baby carriers, and even a potty).
  • My Baby Alive $44.88 – Looking to really wow your daughter this year?  This doll is the ultimate in virtual baby care. She comes with more than 30 different phrases to let you know if she’s happy, sleepy, or ready for a snack.  Her eyes close when you put her to sleep and open when she wakes up. She even eats actual food your child prepares and really needs to be changed later on. Your little girl will be truly amazed.
  • Rosa Grandma Doll & Pancho Grandfather Doll $39.95 – A lot of my kids’ imaginary play right now centers around family structure – they often pretend to be the mom and dad and all of S’s dolls are part of an elaborate family tree (“Pink Bear” is “Bunny”‘s Grandma, “Bearie” is “Bunny”‘s daughter, and etc.). So I think they would both love a set of grandparent dolls to add to their play, especially these guys who will sing songs in both english and spanish at the push of a button.
  • Disney Doc McStuffins Time for Your Checkup Interactive Talking Doll + Lambie Plush Doll $43.99 – Doc McStuffins has taken the world by storm since debuting in 2012 and, I have to say, I don’t mind getting behind a character that promotes healthy habits and serves as a great role models for girls.  This doll is a best seller not only because of the character, but also because of the cool stuff she does including talking, singing the “time for Your Check-Up” song, and even making Lambie talk when she checks her heart, ears, and temperature. This would be a great pick for any child who has doctor-visit anxiety too.
  • The Adventures of Shen the Panda $49.99 – We had the pleasure of reviewing Shen a couple years ago and he’s been a treasured part of our family ever since (you can read my full review here).  He belongs to C and I’m now thinking of getting his female counterpart, Zylie, for S.  Not just your run-of-the-mill teddy bears, these guy are a brand new mixed breed: part stuffed animal and part dress-up doll. Created by a mom whose kids were becoming frustrated in their attempts to find suitable dress-up clothes for their teddy bears, Shen and Zylie are an award winning duo that come with an array of cool accessories (including a passport and a book about their adventures).  They’re soft and cozy like most stuffed animals but their hands, feet, and lower torso are filled with a bean bag material so it’s easy to slip them in and out of their large array of dress up options.
  • North American Bear Company “Girls on The Move” Gymnast Tan Finger Puppet $11.99 – These award-winning 7″ velour dolls are part doll and part puppet and they come in all kinds of characters girls will love. The legs serve as spots to slip in your fingers so that you can make these dolls twist, twirl, jump and do the splits.  My favorite options are the gymnast and ballerina.
  • Blabla Dolls starting at $24.00 – These hand-knit 100% cotton dolls are on the expensive side so we don’t collect them but we did splurge on one for our daughter for Christmas when she was 18 months old.  Being the second child, she wasn’t really in need of anything because she already had all her brother’s old toys.  We still wanted to get her something special though.  We considered getting an American Girl Doll but thought she was too young so we got her Prudence the Owl instead.  She’s now one of S’s best friends and I have no doubt she’ll end up being a family heirloom.  (Side note: there’s a great selection of characters well-suited to boys as well).
  • Ugly Dolls starting at $4.99 – And speaking of a great gender neutral doll, how rad are ugly dolls? I just love their colorful look and silly, irreverent nature. Judging by their popularity, kids do too!
  • Hasbro Furby $55.00 – Dolls don’t have to be just for toddlers.  Older kids flip over this tech-based friend. Feed it, speak to it, tickle it, play music for it, and shake, tilt or turn your FURBY upside down. But be warned – how you treat your FURBY will shape its personality.

gift guide: top doll accessories

Accessories for Playing House

Once you’ve found a doll your child will love, it’s time to explore the vast array of incredibly realistic accessories available.

  • Corolle Mon Premier My First Accessories Set $34.99 – This is a really nice all-in-one set.  I like that it covers all your basics from feeding to the potty and includes some fancy extras like the bottle warmer.  Best of all, there’s a handy bag to store it all in.
  • Badger Doll Highchair with Plate, Bib and Spoon in White or Pink $19.18 – This is a simple, basic highchair for your child’s doll that’s received great reviews. What more could you ask for?
  • Chico Doll Stroller $47.20 – In my opinion, if you’re going to buy one accessory for your child’s doll, it should be a stroller.  S likes her dolls, but isn’t obsessed, yet she LOVES to pile them into her stroller and take them for a stroll around the house over, and over, and over again.
  • Badger Basket Quad Deluxe Doll Stroller $48.62 – At first glance, I thought this was over the top.  But then a good friend told me how much her two girls love their double doll stroller, so I thought “if two’s good, maybe four’s really good”.  And then I thought about how S stuffs no less than 6 baby dolls in her stroller at a time most days, and I realized this might actually be brilliant – if you have the space. (Plus it’s really not that much more than a quality single doll stroller.)
  • Joovy Doll Booster Seat $29.99 – The photo of a doll loaded up in this car seat in the backseat of a car was just too cute.  S would absolutely love it!
  • Melissa & Doug Doll Play Sets $13 – $15 – If the Corolle all-in-one set is just two many pieces for you, Melissa & Doug also offers a very nice feeding set or changing set that includes a diaper bag.
  • ERGObaby Original Doll Carrier $24.00 – With baby wearing being so popular these days, this is the perfect gift for any big sister who’s witnessed mommy wearing their own younger sibling. I’m thinking of getting one for S for when baby #3 arrives. There are tons of options, including miniature Beco, Moby Wraps, and slings so your little girl can get suited up just like mommy.
  • Lil’ Doll Cradle $26.99 – This is another basic staple that any doll lover will enjoy.  Getting to put baby down for a rest is a nice way to extend the dramatic play (and we find the cradle works well for storing S’s doll collection when not in use).
  • Doll Bicycle Seat $16.95 – Being able to strap her baby in and take her for a bike ride, will make your daughter the envy of the neighborhood. Such fun.
  • Joovy Doll Car Seat $49.99 – This is pretty darn cool.  This doll carseat carrier works just like the real thing.  The base stays in the car and the carseat latches in and out of it.  If you want to get really fancy, there’s even a tandem stroller for it to snap into as well.
  • Green Toys Tea Set $19.59 – Whether playing with mommy or a favorite doll, tea time is always a fun way to pass some time.  We’ve had this set for over a year and it still looks like new (despite lots of use in the playroom, bathtub and even sand box).  Plus I love that Green Toys are 100% recycled, made from milk jugs, are FDA approved to eat and drink from, and do not contain BPA, phthalates, or lead paint.
  • Designed by You Doll House with Furniture $82.09 (3+ years) – This doll house isn’t really to be used with the dolls on this list but it comes with it’s own little people and serves as another great way for your kids to experiment with playing house. Whenever I make a big toy purchase for my kiddos, I obsess about it a bit.  I research (a lot) to find the train table, play kitchen, etc. that’s not only going to hold up the best, but will also offer up the most beneficial play experience.  When my daughter indicated that she wanted a doll house for her birthday last year, my research led us to purchase this one and we’ve been really, really pleased with it. The rooms are easy to access and it came with a bizillion pieces of furniture that both my son and daughter use for lots of dramatic play.  What I love most about it, though, is that instead of one permanent structure, the house is modular and can be reconfigured a bunch of different ways. This really extends the kids’ engagement.  I would recommend this for both boys and girls (if hubby gawfs at buying your boy something pink, just paint over those two walls with chalkboard paint to add to the fun).

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If you like these recommendations, I encourage you to pin or bookmark them for later when you’re ready to start shopping.  I would also love it if you forwarded the list on to your parenting friends or shared it on facebook – trust me, your friends will thank you for the help and you get to be the cool mom (or dad) with all the best resources. It’s a win-win.

Also, don’t forget to follow us on facebook and subscribe to our newsletter for even more recommendations and alerts when we spot our gift guide items on sale!

P.S. See all 10 of our 2015 Gift Guides here.

 

 

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