The Canadian Toy Testing Council Suggestions for DOLLS, HOUSES & ACCESSORIES

Children are interested in social, imaginative, and especially imitative play. They act out their environment and prepare themselves for adult roles by playing house or family. Doll play is an integral part of this role playing. In a child's imagination, a doll lives, cries, laughs, eats, and shares life's experiences.

To encourage development of your child's imagination, choose dolls that are simple in design and avoid mechanical, battery-operated dolls which inhibit play by their continuous, monotonous movements. The highly promoted, gimmicky doll may deliver immediate gratification, but give critical consideration to its suitability as a long-term plaything.

As is the case with stuffed toys, a child's reaction to a doll is a very personal one. It is therefore very important to consider the child's tastes and play habits before deciding to give a doll. For the very young children, soft vinyl one-piece dolls are highly recommended. For the preschooler, a doll that is a comfortable armful and which has more elements of realism is recommended. Look for firmly rooted hair, a soft, cuddly body, and velcro fastenings. Clothes should be washable and well-sewn.

Doll equipment, such as beds, high chairs, strollers, and carriages, should be sturdy and well-balanced. Accessories should be in proportion to the dolls, but avoid an overabundance of accessories as this can stifle imaginative and creative play. Doll clothes should be attractive, roomy, washable, and well-sewn with good fasteners.

Doll houses should be sturdy and accessible for play by more than one child at a time. Doll house furniture should be sturdy, well-balanced, and scaled to the doll house.