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Waldorf Wednesday is Back! Or why Boys need dolls!

It’s been a while since we had our Wednesday blog entry. From what I understand the original idea was to talk about Waldorf education, natural toys, and living a natural lifestyle. I will try to keep that in mind as I ramble on about my views and perspective of life as a German immigrant in the US. I have lived here for about 12 years now. Scary. I cannot believe it has been this long. But please, forgive occasional spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and a little bit of an accent bleeding through at times. I am still very much German at heart…

The subject I want to talk about today is: Why do boys need dolls?

It is really important to me, and I want to tell a little anecdote to explain why that is. A few of years ago I had a rather strange encounter. I believe it was on a sunny fall day when I took the kids to the park to play at the playground. As usual when I go out, I had one of my projects with me. I am always crocheting, sewing, or have something with me to keep my fingers busy. As I sat there on a park bench a young woman approached me. People are always curious when they see an artist at work. So of course, I end up telling them that I make dolls. The young woman had her 4-year-old son with her. As we got to talking she sighed and told me about her dilemma. A couple of weeks ago a toy catalogue had arrived in the mail, and her son saw a dollhouse in it. Now whenever she asked him what he wanted for Christmas he’d say: I want that cool dollhouse from the catalogue. To which I responded: So, why don’t you get him a dollhouse? She said her husband would have an absolute fit. He thinks boys should play with trucks and “manly” toys and that “Dolls are for girls”!

I was totally stunned and maybe even annoyed. After taking a moment I told her that her husband was so wrong. That there was no reason why her son should not have a dollhouse to play with. Role play with dolls is very important for children. Why would we assign boys to play with inanimate objects such as cars, trucks, and building blocks only? Maybe we throw in an occasional plastic soldier or a plastic superhero. But why not give them a soft cuddly baby? Or a doll family? Some day this little boy will be a dad, have a family, and a real house. I told her to ignore her husband and get the boy the dollhouse anyway!

I get so frustrated when I hear such stories. Often I hear boys, big and small, talk derisively about the “Pink Aisle” in the stores and dolls being “for girls” only.

I think this world would be a much better place if we gave boys dolls and allowed them grow up in a more loving and nurturing environment. Both boys and girls need to learn how to nurture and cuddle a doll because some day they will be a parent. I feel sad for this dad in my story who did not want to give his son the gift he so much desired. It made me wonder how he grew up…

Foto by JustynRebecca, a dear etsy customer of mine

I really wish more people bought dolls for their sons. I always keep one or two boy dolls in my store. Sadly they sit around the “virtual store shelf” much longer than the girl dolls…Sprinkled throughout the text please find some examples of sweet dolls that have found a loving home – nurtured by a boy who will, no doubt, become a great dad!

The boy doll below was made my dear friend and fellow doll artisan Rebecca. Steve is still available if you are looking for a cool boy doll to give to a boy you love.

Steve, a boy doll with spunk, available at Toys From Nature

Take Care! And see you next Wednesday!

Ulla, the German Dollmaker

Ulla Seckler  is a dollmaker who was born and raised in Germany. She lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband and two kids. You can find her Notes by a German Dollmaker on her blog where she shares some great German recipes, pictures of her sweet dolls, and life lessons learned.  Don’t forget to stop by her Etsyshop and take a peek at her wonderful doll creations.


27 thoughts on “Waldorf Wednesday is Back! Or why Boys need dolls!

  1. I agree, Ulla! My sons have always had dolls and loved them very much. Happily, my 13 year old son is so gentle with his baby sister…often rocking her to sleep for me (as a matter of fact, he and I are the only ones in this house who can get her to sleep!!) :0) He will make a great dad someday.

    And I should add, my almost 5 year old son is sooo gentle with his “Nothing” (his waldorf baby doll) and his new baby sister. He is loving, tender, talks to her and makes her laugh. He probably spends more floor time with her than anyone else! And I definitely believe them having dolls has had a role in this!!

  2. Ok..malone my two year ols is getting a sweet doll for to the shops, Natural Kids Team ETSY shops off course???

  3. Boys do need dolls! My 17 year old had a couple of them and he is now extremely loving and gentle with all of his youngest cousins because he learned to be so by role-playing and copying his parents when he was small.

  4. i totally agree! my ex-husband wouldn’t allow my son to have dolls… so when i divorced him i made sure my son got my childhood barbie collection (i didn’t say they were the BEST dolls) which he enjoyed playing with for about a year before he got bored of them. it’s awful that men can be so afraid and homophobic as to deny their sons this classic form of play 🙁

  5. I agree completely . . . and I would take any excuse to buy more germandolls dolls!

    Do you know the book William Wants a Doll? It’s very sweet.

  6. My oldest only has his favorite stuftie that he sleeps with, he never had an interest beyond that. My 3 year old has a doll. A feel so sorry for it. It is constantly being hit by toy cars and then the fire truck has to save it or it gets beaten up by spiderman because the doll is the ‘bad guy’. I don’t think dolls for boy are a bad thing, but some boys just have no interest in them.

    Your dolls are adorable, and I have a niece that would love them (she’s always complaining that she doesn’t have a boy doll to be the daddy, only little girl dolls!)

  7. Thanks Ulla for the fantastic article. My son has a growing collection of NaturalKids Team dolls, and he is ever present over my shoulder, letting me know that he wants more!

  8. My brother had a Cabbage Patch doll when he was little named Lyn Louis. They were buds and went everywhere together.

    Now, he’s a 23 year old husband and National Guard soldier. He’s also one of the nicest young men in the world and great with kids.

    My thought has always been to allow children to express their own wishes in what kind of playthings they want.

  9. Wonderful article! And I agree totally -there is nothing wrong with letting boys play with dolls! I have 3 girls and one boy – my son is my youngest. All he has to play with are his sister’s hand-me-downs! LOL! He plays with dolls and dishes as well as his trucks and blocks. He also loves trying on my high heeled shoes and waving his sister’s cheerleader pom-poms around. I think kids should be allowed to play with whatever interests them. There should be no labels or limitations on a child’s imagination.

  10. Oh, I love this! It makes me think of the children’s book “William’s Doll.” I have three boys (and one girl) and they all have their own special babies, boys and girl alike. My oldest, nine, recently passed down his Waldorf baby to his little brother.

  11. very nice article! i made very special waldorf dolls for my son and daughter last year for christmas. my son’s doll ended up looking so much like him, and he knew how hard i worked to make it for him. dolls were really important to him after his little sister was born (he could act out many of the things we were doing as parents with his own doll). now he plays less with dolls, but he and his sister do play “family” together and he loves to be the papa. girls aren’t the only ones who grow up to have children, so they shouldn’t be the only ones given the opportunity to practice nurturing and caring for others.

  12. I am really pleased with all the great comments here. It gives me hope! thanks so much to all of you!

  13. I am a very conservative person from the south. I have alot of brothers. My son was 4 years old when my daughter was born. This was about 27 years ago. I had my new baby so I gave my son a Snoopy dog with clothing. I took alot of tacky comments at the time when people saw him with his baby. I showed him how to take care of a baby.
    He now is a father of 2 children and he is the absolute best dad. His girls adore him. He is a manly man though and works in a manly field but it has not ruined him for life to have a doll but quite the contrary.

  14. Well said, Ulla! I don’t have a lot of experience with boys, but I will say – when my girls are looking for husbands, I’d love for them to have one that was man enough to nurture a doll when he was a boy! I’m very hopeful about this happening!

  15. wonderful article- I have 2 boys and my oldest has always loved his dolls and all plushies- I think encouraging boys to nurture another, a doll, a special plushie is a critical part of raising our sons for the future- and if you give them a dolly sling also you set up a future slinging daddy!

  16. Not just boys but CHILDREN should have dolls. They want to be nurturing, they need only the outlet.

    Kids + Dolls = Love

  17. As the mother of 3 grown sons who ALL played with dolls, I couldn’t agree more. How can a boy grow up to be a loving caring Dad if we never allow and encourage opportunities to practice nurturing? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “your boys are so caring and friendly!” said with a tone of surprise. Well I firmly believe that playing with dolls had a big impact on that development.

  18. Thank you for the wisdom! I have girls and we love “babies” but last year we got soft “babies” for all of the boy birthdays we went to. The dad’s eyes rolled, but both of the boys abandoned the tonka trucks that they had just unwrapped and started cuddling the new babies!! It was a triumphant moment for me (and the little boys as well!!)

  19. if boys don’t get to play with dolls, how will they ever feel comfortable nurturing their own children when they grow up????

  20. Sorry Ulla, I am probably the only dissenter here. I discouraged my son from playing with dolls. He played with ‘action figures’.

    He is ten now, and yes he is compassionate, good with kids and animals. He isn’t a brute, just because I encouraged him to play with boy’s toys.

  21. I agree 🙂 I answered in your thread.
    you have a lovely blog and i’m off to heart your shop 😉

  22. Your dolls are great! Thanks for sharing on your blog.

  23. Agreed. And girls should be allowed to play with “boy” toys. The segregation makes no sense. Some parents are terrified it will “confuse” their child. It’s only confusing if you make an issue of it. Otherwise, it’s normal.

  24. I’m really glad you posted about this topic. I actually heard some stuff about this on the radio the other day. The station I listen to has like a daily question thing or whatever, and one day they had this story that a little boy asked for a doll or dollhouse or something, but the parents didn’t know what to do. The dad being a big strong Army guy thought it was wrong and that his son should not have a doll. I think every caller that called in said that was ridiculous and that they should let the boy play with dolls. Oh, I believe the parents said that their son played with Barbies with his other friends. I think he was 13 though…so to me that’s a little different, but I agree with you on the topic at any rate. Now I kind of wish I had a little boy so I could give him a doll! haha

  25. I love this sentiment Ulla! Thanks for authoring here 🙂

  26. Almost two years after you posted this blog post, and still I want to comment. I am a proud Mommy of a little boy and he will absolutely have dolls. He will also be given the opportunity to dance with professional instructors and be creative and sing, and if he wants to wear pink, more power to him.

  27. Thanks a lot for your advice guys, it helped me a lot, I went to and followed their step by step instructions and it worked perfectly, now me and my girlfriend are back together.

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