Playtime is one of the most important things a child needs to have and enjoy. It helps little kids develop their fine motor skills, their mental/cognitive ability, their social and interpersonal skills, and their physical skills. One of the most popular toys for children, both boys and girls, are dolls.
Dolls have come a long way. The first doll ever recorded to have been used as a toy dates back from 100 BC and they were made from wood, ivory, clay, or rags. Today’s dolls are usually either made of fabric or plastic and they’re much more detailed as well. They’re no longer just pretty faces, too. A lot of the dolls you’ll see in shops today have features such as lights and sounds that make playtime even more enjoyable for the little ones.
Dolls by age
With an overwhelming number of choices for various doll styles, makes, and designs out there, picking the perfect doll to give our little ones can be quite the challenge. The ideal doll for your child will depend on his/her preference, interests, and age.
0 to 24 months
Newborn babies may not be able to play with dolls yet but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy it. At this age, finding the best baby doll means finding one that’s soft, plush, and cuddly. Besides being a plaything, dolls for children this age can also be a cuddle buddy, a chew toy, a drool rag. As they grow older and reach a few milestones, plush dolls that survive the natural wear-and-tear often graduate to becoming a comfort object.
2 to 6 years
The time from their toddler years up until their preschool years is the time when we, as parents, need to be more careful of how we act around our kids. It may not look like it but kids within this age group often watch adults intently and later on copy and roleplay their observations with their toys. At this stage, dolls are often used to portray various roles while kids imitate and act out their own role of choice. Dolls for 3-year-olds and below are often simpler while dolls for kids 4 to 6 are more detailed. Interactive dolls are great for this age group as well.
7 and up
Older kids often see dolls as a representation of themselves. This is why many doll makers today aim to create and present a diverse, all-inclusive collection of dolls. Being represented and seeing themselves in their toys gives children a sense of belonging and an assurance that we, the grownups, see them and value them enough to pay attention to them. For older kids who want to see themselves and express themselves through dolls, highly customizable options like Barbie dolls and other similar dolls.
In a hurry? The test winner after 28hrs of research
best baby dolls Reviews
Looking for a doll to give your little one? Don’t just settle for the most popular baby doll or the most expensive one that you can find. Here are 10 of the best and most highly recommended baby dolls we’ve found. Check them out and see which ones might be a good fir for your child.
1. Melissa & Doug Mine to Love Jenna
Soft, innocent, and sweet — that’s what Melissa and Doug’s Mine to Love Jenna doll is. This doll is great for pretend play and it’s an amazing cuddle buddy as well. It has a soft body for hugging and plastic head and arms so it’s easy to clean. It measures 12 inches which is the perfect size for toddlers to lug around.
This doll closes its eyes when put in a lying down position and opens them when upright. It’s not fully poseable, but you can have it switch from the lying down position to the sitting up position easily. You can also have it posed so that the doll looks like it’s sucking its thumb.
Mine to Love Jenna wears a cute pink romper with a matching cap. Both are removable so you can wash them when they get dirty and you can replace them as well so your child can match clothes with this doll if you like.
It’s not too big nor too small at 12 inches from head to foot. It’s lightweight so your little one won’t have a problem bringing it anywhere.
The Melissa and Doug brand is known for producing high quality, safe toys for kids so you can rest assured that your baby’s doll will last them a long time.
This doll comes with a pacifier in the box but it also works well with other accessories from Melissa and Doug, especially the Doll Feeding and Changing Accessories set.
We don't like
2. Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby's First Doll
The Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Doll is a simple, no-frills, no-fuss plush doll that’s great for very young babies. It’s soft and small, so it’s a safe sleep companion for the little ones and it rattles when you shake it, too, so it’s sure to keep them entertained for quite a long time.
The details on this doll are sewn on and embroidered which means there are no buttons, zippers, or clasps that your baby could possibly choke on or get injured from.
It’s machine-washable so you can just throw it in the washer and let your machine do its thing.
The doll’s whole body is made from soft material, making it very huggable. There are no plastic or vinyl parts so it’s safe to bring to bed.
Though not poseable or customizable, this doll rattles when you shake it so it’s quite interesting and entertaining for younger babies.
Its cute design is sure to be a hit among babies, no matter what age and gender.
We don't like
3. Manhattan Toy Baby Stella
Here’s another soft baby doll option for those of you looking for a doll to give their young babies. The Manhattan Toy Baby Stella comes in different variations, each one showing dolls with different facial features to make babies feel excited and represented in their toys. There’s even a few baby boy and gender-neutral options!
This doll comes in a variety of styles and designs and there are tons of accessories (sold separately) like clothes, diapers, and baby gear that you can play along with it as well. It’s a great option for toddlers who want the freedom to explore and change things up as they please.
Removable clothes allow you to personalize your child’s doll and make it into his/her likeness as much as you like.
Whether it’s a sleep buddy, a comfort blanket, or a toy to express their creativity that you’re looking for, this soft and snuggly baby doll is sure to be a great option for you.
The size of this doll is just perfect for babies and toddlers to hold and carry around wherever they want. It’s light, too, and doesn’t take up much space so it’s easy to bring along on your travels with your baby.
This doll is an ideal first doll to give teeny tiny babies but it can grow with your child as well. Thanks to its classic design and customizability, it can last your child a long time.
We don't like
4. Berenguer Boutique 15" Soft Body Baby Doll
For the ultimate role-play experience, this Berenguer Boutique doll comes with accessories like shoes, a feeding bottle, a spare set of clothes, and more. This doll is ideal for preschool aged kids who want a baby doll that they can treat as another character in their world of creative imagination.
Unlike rag dolls and plush baby dolls, this doll has tons of details. It’s not as realistic as other dolls, but it’s definitely something an older baby would see as a representation of his/herself.
This doll comes with accessories that make playtime more realistic.
The dolls have a nice weight on them that makes it feel a little more lifelike. It still is light enough for little kids to comfortably play with and carry around.
This doll is definitely an amazing addition to any child’s collection of toys for pretend play. The accessories make interactive play possible which is great if your child is playing with others.
This doll measures around 15 inches in height so it’s not too big for toddlers. It’s also a good size for older kids pretending the doll is a younger sibling.
We don't like
5. JC Toys Lots to Cuddle Babies
Double the dolls, double the fun! The JC Toys Lots to Cuddle Babies come in pairs, making them a great gift idea for twins. It comes in various styles and skin colors so you’re sure to find one that’s a perfect fit for your little babies. No twins? You can buy them individually as well so no need to worry.
We love that these babies look so innocent, happy, and angelic. Their facial features are a bit on the realistic side so we appreciate that they don’t creep us (or our babies) out.
With two adorable babies that came in the set, we were expecting the price tag to at least be double what a single doll is worth. Surprisingly, there was a very small difference between a single doll’s price and the price for this couple.
The dolls have a vinyl head, plastic arms and feet, and a soft body. This makes them ideal for hugging and cuddling whenever your babies need cozy snuggles.
The clothes and accessories on the dolls are all completely removable so you can swap them out with clothes from other dolls of the same size. The same brand also has clothes and accessories sold separately so you have the option to get those if you want a more varied play experience for your babies.
We don't like
6. VTech Baby Amaze Learn to Talk and Read Baby Doll
Why settle for just fun when you can have fun and learning together at once? Kids learn to talk faster when they have someone to talk to but we, parents, have other things to do as well and we can’t always dedicate 100% of our time to them so finding an alternative is crucial. Need something to relieve you of your chit-chatting duties with your little one for a while? This doll might just be what you’re looking for.
It may not be able to compete with Siri and your Google Assistant but this doll does have the ability to talk and say things back to your little one, encouraging him/her to talk and interact with the doll more. It comes with three vocabulary books that you and your child can read to the doll and it has a reset button that allows you to restart the fun learning journey all over again, whenever you want.
Everything that you need to get the doll to interact with you is on its bib. Press each one and discover a world of fun learning with your little one.
They say learning is a two-way street and this doll definitely knows that. Teach it to say things that you know and it will teach you various melodies, songs, and nursery rhymes.
Regular dolls make great props for nurturing play but this doll takes it to a whole new level. It calls out to “Mommy” and asks for a pacifier and a bottle so your child feels needed like they way he/she needs you.
Every sound that comes out of this doll is crystal clear, making it easy for your little one to understand and sing along.
We don't like
7. Baby Alive Super Snacks Snackin' Lily
Take pretend play to the next level with the Baby Alive Super Snacks Snackin’ Lily. Baby Alive is known for its highly interactive dolls and this mode is one of the most popular among the whole collection.
The whole concept behind this baby doll play set is feeding a baby which is a great way to encourage nurturing play. Without the accessories, however, children are also free to create their own play’s storyline. The dolls also “poops” so your child learns about the responsibility of changing diapers.
The great thing about this doll set is that the food is “reusable.” No need to purchase additional food, the set comes with a couple of tins of reusable doll food and you also have the option to make your own.
Despite being highly interactive, this doll doesn’t require batteries which is always a great thing because it means one less thing to spend money on and there’s a lesser chance of your baby accidentally ingesting the batteries.
The Super Snacks Snackin’ Lily doll comes in multiple styles. You can choose whatever hair color and skin color you prefer to make the doll more relatable for your little one.
The whole doll is made of plastic so it’s quite easy to clean. A quick wipedown for spot cleaning is enough to keep the doll looking fresh, but you can also take it to the bath if you need to get rid of stubborn stains.
We don't like
8. Adora PlayTime Little Prince Doll
Dolls don’t always need to be girls. Boys can (and should) play with dolls, too, and having one that your little prince can relate to is important. Here’s an adorable baby boy doll from Adora’s PlayTime collection.
This doll measures 13 inches from head to toe so it’s not too big for your little one to hold and carry. It weighs about 12 ounces so it’s not that heavy either. It’s nicely proportional and feels quite lifelike when held close.
All the materials that were used to make the doll, from the BPA-free plastic to the hypoallergenic fabric and the non-toxic materials used to put details on the dolls, are perfectly safe for even the most sensitive little ones so you don’t have to worry about your child cuddling it close all day and all night.
This doll is made of a combination of vinyl, plastic, and fabric but it’s completely safe to clean in the washing machine so you don’t have to worry about getting those inevitable stains out by hand.
The doll has a nice, light, and refreshing powder scent. You get a whiff of this as soon as it comes out of the box, giving you a bit of nostalgia on your first encounter with the doll.
This handsome little boy comes dressed in a gorgeous striped romper and it’s completely removable and replaceable so you can customize the doll’s look however you prefer.
We don't like
9. JC Toys La Newborn Doll
Dolls are not just for babies, adults can benefit from them too. Dementia patients, people with Alzheimers, and grieving parents who just lost their little ones are just some of the people that dolls are able to help during therapy and recovery. In cases like these, dolls with realistic features are ideal.
The JC Toys La Newborn Doll comes in a variety of styles and designs. Each baby style is dressed differently and has unique facial features that are just adorable and impressively realistic.
This doll captures the little things that make a baby look innocent and pure: their beautiful eyes, soft and silky skin, and all the gentle wrinkles and lines on their skin. It’s unscented as well so you don’t have to deal with any perfumey smell or the scent of plastic which is usually the case for most baby dolls.
Jointed shoulders, hips, and neck make this baby somewhat poseable and totally stiff which is great for pretend play
It’s difficult to find a doll that fits into any human clothes so we were excited to find out that these dolls fit perfectly into preemie clothes and diapers, eliminating the need to have outfits especially made for your dolls at a much more expensive cost.
A quick wash-and-wipe with lukewarm, soapy water is all you need to get your doll looking like new again.
We don't like
10. Corolle Mon Premier Bebe Bath Girl Doll
This is one of the pricier baby dolls we have on the list, but the rather hefty price tag is somewhat justifiable once you see the doll itself. It’s beautifully made to accompany baby during bath time and it comes with a cute little ducky that makes bath time and play time even more fun.
The facial features on this baby doll may not be as realistic as the other options we’ve tried but it is quite beautiful nonetheless. The innocence of a baby is impressively captured on this doll’s face.
Because your child can take this doll to the bathroom to have a bath with him/her, keeping this doll clean is easy. Just remember to always let it completely dry first before playing with it again to avoid mold and bacteria growth inside the doll.
Most baby dolls with vinyl or plastic skin have a horrible chemical smell to them. They may say it’s non-toxic but the smell indicated otherwise. Thankfully, this doll doesn’t have that off-putting smell and has a nice vanilla scent to it instead.
The body is made of a soft material so your baby will enjoy hugging it and cuddling with it, be it in the bath or in bed.
Let your child’s inner fashionista shine through. This doll’s clothes are fully removable so you can dress it up however you like. The brand also sells doll clothes and outfits so you can dress the doll up to your heart’s content.
We don't like
This doll is a great bath time companion but it takes a while to dry so if your baby gets attached, you might run into some problems. The soft body also increases the chances of mold developing.
Dolls have always been a great go-to gift for babies and kids. It doesn’t matter if your little one is a boy or a girl, an infant or an older kid — whatever their age, gender, and preference may be, a doll will always be something that will entertain them.
Of all the dolls we checked out and tested, we love the Melissa and Doug Mine to Love Jenna Doll the most. We appreciate Melissa and Doug’s effort in creating a high-quality toy for the kids at a reasonable price point. We also love the fact that this doll is simple and leaves plenty of room for your child’s imagination during playtime. It encourages creative play and brings out your child’s nurturing instincts. The doll is great for open-ended playtime and is enjoyable for kids of all ages.