Last updated: 08/13/2020

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Dolls have always been the favorite toy for little girls, and they will continue to be for generations to come. A girl’s childhood would not be the same without a doll. Not only do these toys provide a lot of enjoyment to little girls, but dolls often become an important companion for children. Dolls are available in many different models and a wide range of prices, so it is important that you find out everything there is to know about them to make a successful purchase.

There are many different types of dolls; wooden, rag, porcelain or plastic, among others. Dolls can be made in the form of a newborn, right up to one with adult characteristics. Dolls also come in many different sizes, from miniature dolls, right up to those that are the size of a real baby. By reading the following guide, you will learn everything there is to know about dolls so that you can choose the most suitable doll for your little one.

Key Facts

  • To choose the most suitable doll, the first aspect to consider is the age of the child. This is important as, for example, a young baby will prefer a different doll to a 4-year-old.
  • Baby dolls and mannequin dolls (those identified by their youthful features) are the main options on the market.
  • Doll accessories are often just as important as the doll itself. They have the ability to energize the playing experience, to make each playtime session different from the previous one.

Ranking: The best dolls on the U.S. market

Since the creation of dolls, children of all ages have enjoyed endless hours of good times. These fantastic toys allow them to make up fantasies and imaginary worlds. A doll can help develop a child’s imagination and foster their creativity. To help you find the best doll for your child, we have researched the best products on the market and selected the top 5. Below we list the best dolls so you can review and compare all the options.

No. 1: 12” Baby Twins Dolls 1 Boy & 1 Girl with Milk & Juice Bottle

This baby twin set from the Mommy & Me Doll Collection is the perfect gift for little girls! All girls will love these cute and cuddly dolls and will play with them for hours. This set is Amazon’s Choice product thanks to its amazing value for money, high rating, and fantastic customer reviews.

This doll set comes with a milk and juice bottle so your little girl can practice feeding the doll. Each doll also comes with a 3-piece outfit of a shirt, pants, and a hat to practice dress-ups. For a top-quality product that meets the child safety standards, take a closer look at this doll set on Amazon.

No. 2: Baby Doll Car Seat with Toy Accessories

Another one of Amazon’s Choice products is this amazing doll set from Dolls To Play. Featuring a realistic baby doll, complete with a car booster seat carrier, rattle toy, bib, and 2 feeding bottles, this is a great toy for children over the age of 2. This is the perfect travel toy for your child as you can easily strap the toy in the backseat of the car and keep your child occupied for hours.

This baby doll is made from gentle touch vinyl with a soft weighted body that is extra safe. The doll’s features are all handcrafted to depict tiny little toes and cute fingers. The doll accessories are colorful, safe and can be put into your baby’s travel bag to take along with you on your next car trip!

No. 3: American Girl WellieWishers Ashlyn Doll

This is a very realistic doll that is recommended for girls aged between 5 and 7 years of age. The doll’s name is Ashlyn, and she is a princess-in-training as well as a party-planner extraordinaire. Ashlyn has brown eyes, freckled cheeks, and long silky brown hair that can be brushed and styled easily. With a size of 14.5″, this doll is perfect for your little girl.

Ashlyn is part of a set of 5 dolls, called the WellieWishers, who are a sweet and silly group of girls who each have the same big, bright wish: to be a good friend. With this doll, your little girl will learn the valuable lessons of friendship, honesty, and teamwork. For a fantastic doll from an award-winning doll manufacturer, take a close look at the WellieWishers Ashlyn Doll.

No. 4: Disney Moana Adventure Doll

Moana is an adventurous, tenacious and compassionate 16-year-old from the Disney movie of the same name. Moana is dressed in her iconic outfit & necklace from the film, with all accessories to match. If your little one loved the Moana film, they will be so delighted to play with the Moana doll all-day long.

This doll is suitable for children above the age of 3 and will allow your little girl to develop their imagination skills by going on an ocean adventure with Moana. This doll includes a removable flower hair clip that your child can even wear. The size of this doll is 14 inches and weighs 5.6 ounces.

No. 5: Melissa & Doug Mine to Love Brianna

The Melissa and Doug dolls are a fantastic range from a family-owned, American business that strives to make the best products on the market for your children. Melissa and Doug are real people (and parents of six) who are passionate about making childrens toys! Their mission is to create toys with quality and care, that inspire a world of discovery and hands-on learning.

The Love Brianna doll is a soft-body baby that features eyes that open and close, with cute little baby cheeks. This doll also comes with a 2-piece removable outfit and matching cap. This doll is 12 inches long, which makes it the ideal size for children aged 18-months and older to hug, cuddle, and care for.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about dolls

The world of dolls is vast, with many different products to choose from. The diversity can be overwhelming for consumers due to the many sizes, types, and materials of dolls on the market. The age of the child and their interests should be taken into account to select the right one. In the following section, we will cover the most important aspects when it comes to buying a doll so that you learn more about these products.


Dolls with interchangeable dresses are great for children.
(Source: Kuzmina: 44248590/

What types of dolls are there?

Dolls are perhaps one of the oldest toys that exist. They can be classified according to their size, type and what they represent. There are dolls that are made to look like babies, in terms of size and look. Over time, baby dolls have been changing and developing more innovative functions. Nowadays, some dolls can even cry, eat, babble or talk, just like a real baby.

Dolls that are in the form of a baby can be small or the same size as a newborn.

The other main type of doll that exists is the mannequin doll. The most famous brand of this type of doll is the Barbie Doll. This is a world-renowned brand that has been loved by little ones for decades. When it comes to the design of these dolls, they are usually made to look like teenagers or young people. These dolls are easy to play with and there are an endless amount of accessories for this type of doll, such as dresses, shoes, and other clothing items.


When it comes to a doll for babies, make sure that the doll is made from soft materials, without small pieces.
(Source: Akdeniz: 44260644/

There are also dolls that are made from other materials, such as porcelain, wood, and rags. Usually, these dolls more beautiful and have removable clothes, which makes them fun for dress-up games. Many of these types of dolls also have real hair, which means that children can comb the hair of the doll. The porcelain and wood dolls are characterized as harder dolls, in terms of feel, whereas rag dolls are far softer toys.

What are the benefits of dolls for children?

Playing with dolls is not only fun for children, but it can also offer many benefits. Playing with dolls will improve the sense of responsibility of a child. In the case of baby dolls, your child will learn how to take care of the doll and cater to its every need, which is a valuable life skill. Dolls also contribute to learning certain values such as empathy.

A doll also promotes a child’s ability to solve problems by providing different situations during playtime. By resolving these small challenges, children will grow and develop quickly. Hand-eye coordination and balance are some other skills that are also developed through playing with dolls, as the child must lift and hold the doll.

Did you know that having to dress, comb or handle dolls stimulates fine motor skills?

Are there any safety regulations when it comes to dolls?

Any toy that is marketed and sold in the U.S. must meet certain safety standards. Firstly, it must have certain physical properties that are not dangerous. As an example, it must not have any sharp or protruding edges that could lead to cuts. Also, dolls should not be flammable and certain chemicals must not be used in the manufacturing processes.

When it comes to formal certification of children’s toys, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission sets out the safety rules and regulations under ASTM F963 – Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety. When reviewing the product details of every product, make sure the dolls meet this industry safety standard.


Dolls are one of the oldest toys.
(Source: Kuzmina: 53471284/

What type of dolls are appropriate for each age group?

Dolls are almost always classified according to age group. It is very important to buy a doll that is in line with the child’s stage of growth, in order to realize all the possible benefits. In the case of a doll for a young baby, dolls that are soft, made of rags or cloth, and do not contain small pieces are suitable.

From the age of 5, children like to imitate and play with older and more innovative dolls. This is why at this age, they will love baby dolls that incorporate innovative new features such as crying and talking. At the age of 6 or 7, mannequin dolls are by far the most popular and beneficial. Barbie dolls or those dolls that are versatile and come with accessories for will be very popular among this age group. In the following table, we show you the age groups and the suitable dolls:

Growth stage Type of doll
From 0 to 1 year Soft dolls (rag or cloth) and rubber
From 2 to 3 years Dolls with accessories such as dresses or prams.
From 4 to 5 years Innovative dolls that talk or cry and dollhouses.
From 6 to 8 years Barbie dolls or similar products

Shopping Criteria

When choosing a doll, there are many aspects that you should consider. The age of the child, their tastes and the type of doll are some of the factors that you should take into consideration. In the following section, we will elaborate on the key shopping criteria to consider in order to make a successful purchase.


The first criterion and the easiest is the age of the child. A young baby will not have the same needs or enjoy the same doll as a 6 to 8-year-old child. This is why the first task is to look for the recommended age by the manufacturer of the doll. The product description or the labeling on the box will provide this information.

For a newborn or baby, it is very important to choose a doll that does not have small pieces. Small plastic parts that can easily be pulled off and swallowed by a young child must be avoided. You should choose a soft doll so that your child cannot hurt itself. As your child grows a little older, at around the age of 3, they will love to recreate everyday scenes such as dress-ups or pushing a baby in a pram.


Barbie dolls are well-renowned and very popular.
(Source: 44746510/

From the age of 4 to 6 years old, children really like the dolls of their favorite characters. In this age group, mannequin dolls become more and more important, as these dolls allow the child to imagine what they will be like when they grow up. From the age of 7, the more realistic the doll is, the better. At this age, children will want to comb the hair of their dolls and dress them in different outfits.

Types of dolls

The doll market is huge. Only a few decades ago the options were limited, but today there are so many models that it can be overwhelming. For children who love to imitate their parents, baby dolls are great as the child can practice and copy their parents, especially if there is a real newborn baby in the family. Mannequin dolls, on the other hand, allow children to recreate and imagine all kinds of situations.

There are also classic dolls, such as rag dolls, porcelain dolls or crying babies that keep children interested for hours. There are also increasingly newer models that incorporate different functionalities and dolls that almost look like real babies. The type of doll you choose often depends on your budget, as newer, technologically-advanced dolls can be rather expensive.

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Francesca 13”-33cm ?

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Child’s preferences

There is no doubt that your child’s preferences should be taken into account when choosing a doll. If your child is under the age of 3, choosing any doll that is recommended for this age group will be fine. Children of this age will play with anything for hours. However, as your child grows, their personality will begin to take shape and their preferences will be defined.

Particularly from the age of 6 or 7, a child will be attracted to the characters that they see on television. For this reason, they will want to play with dolls from their favorite series or movies. Disney princess dolls are one of the types that are always a winner among young girls.

Alan L. Mendelsohn, M.DPediatrician
“A toy’s most important attribute is its capacity to bring the parent or caregiver and the child together in playful interactions that are warm and full of rich language, supporting the parent-child relationship and the child’s social-emotional and cognitive-language development”.

Additional features and functionalities

Additional features and functionalities are very important to consider when reviewing the different options on the market. The technological revolution has also found its way into the field of toys, which has created some innovative and exciting options. Dolls are being developed to be increasingly versatile and intelligent, with functions that make them extremely realistic.

It is possible to buy dolls that behave just like babies. They have functionalities that make them cry, babble, emit sounds and eat. Their features are becoming more and more realistic, which children find very entertaining. If your child likes dolls with special features, such as the ability to eat or cry, we recommend buying one with these types, as your child will stay engaged with the toy for longer.

Comments and ratings

Finally, it is often very helpful to take into account the comments and ratings of other consumers. Reviewing the comments will help you understand the pros and cons of each doll. Each customer review of a product provides an individual and honest opinion of the product.

It is also possible that the special features specified by the manufacturer do not work as well as they are described. Customer opinions are one of the most effective tools to check how well a product functions. We recommend reading the opinions and customer reviews of products with 4 or 5 stars to learn more about each doll.


For children, dolls are much more than just a simple toy that they will grow out of. At certain ages, dolls are essential playmates and companions for your child. One of the best things about dolls is that there are models designed for practically every stage of a child’s growth: from babies up until 8 or 10 years of age.

Although dolls are seen as toys to most people, the reality is that dolls offer many benefits for the development of children. Not only do dolls enhance the motor skills of a child, but these products will also develop their emotional, cognitive, social and communication skills. Keep in mind that as your child grows, their needs and interests will change.

Did you enjoy this shopping guide on dolls? Let us know in the comments below. You can also share this article on your social networks.

(Source of featured image: Belchonock: 40731360/

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