Stuffed animals versus dolls

Stuffed Animals Versus Dolls

Playing with Stuffed Animals

Many of us had stuffed animals and dolls while we were growing up, and have happy memories of both. I in no way mean to suggest in this article that only stuffed animals are worthy children's gifts. I do believe, however, that kids play with and love stuffed animals for much longer than dolls and that stuffed animals are likely to initiate much more creative, imaginative play.

Think back for a moment to what sorts of play activities you used to do with stuffed animals and dolls. On the doll side, my friends and I definitely enjoyed playing with dolls. We would imagine Barbie going on a date with Ken and hanging out with her friends at the beach. Even more fun (and what we did most of the time) was changing the doll's clothing over and over.

Stuffed animal play was different. We played school with our stuffed animals, imagining we were their teachers. We tended to the stuffed animals' wounds as doctors. We imagined our own lives played out with stuffed animals, learning how to better interact with others (even if we didn't know this). Now, this is not to say that these games could not be played with dolls, but stuffed animals just seem to lend themselves to more imaginative play because they do not look like us. Sally the teddy bear and Fred the dog stuffed animal have no limitations on what they can do.

And stuffed animals have the additional benefits of being available for comfort and sticking around in a child's life a lot longer. Stuffed animals are not embarrassing the way that "playing with dolls" eventually becomes at a certain age. While both stuffed animals and dolls play important roles in a child's growth, development, and happiness, I believe stuffed animals offer greater possibilities and thus make better gifts.