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Doll play is an aspect of childhood play behavior.

A doll is an object that represents a baby or other human being, but includes likenesses of animals and imaginary creatures. Dolls have been around since the dawn of human civilization, and have been fashioned from a vast array of materials, ranging from stone, clay, wood, bone, cloth and paper, to porcelain, china, rubber and plastic.


A porcelain doll from the Czech Republic

While dolls have traditionally been toys for children, they are also collected as a recreation by adults, for their nostalgic value, beauty, historical importance or financial value.

In ancient times, dolls were used as representations of a deity, and played a central role in religious ceremonies and rituals.

Lifelike or anatomically correct dolls are used by health professionals, medical schools and social workers to train doctors and nurses in various health procedures or investigate cases of sexual abuse of children.

Gender differences[]

In Western society, a gender difference in the selection of toys has been observed and studied. Action figures that represent traditional masculine traits are popular with boys, who are more likely to choose toys that have some link to tools, transportation, garages, machines and military equipment. Dolls for girls tend to represent feminine traits and come with such accessories as clothing, kitchen appliances, utensils, furniture and jewelry [1] [2] [3]

See also[]


  1. Servin, A, G, Bohlin, L Berlin (1999). Sex differences in 1-, 3-, and 5-year-olds' toy-choice in a structured play session. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 40.
  2. Nelson, Anders (2005). Children's Toy Collections in Sweden—A Less Gender-Typed Country?. Sex Roles 52 (1/2).
  3. Sobieraj, S. "Taking control: Toy commercials and the social construction of patriarchy" Masculinities and violence, L. Bowker, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage..
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