While the stereotype might be a princess that is beautiful but in need of rescuing by a handsome prince, thankfully many of today’s princesses have a bit more to them than that. And in fact, there are plenty of princess stories that offer excellent role models to our children.
Doll play is wonderful and children are drawn to it from a young age. It teaches them to use their imaginations, engage in narrative thought, builds empathy and understanding for others and helps develop social skills and vocabulary.
Playing with princess toys can also cover a wide variety of different types of play. Children can dress up as princesses and go off on epic adventures, enjoying creative role play and building their imaginations. They might be a princess having a tea party or playing with her toys.
Princess toys also encourage small world play and can be combined with many other toys. Their princesses might be friends with all the animals in the forest or they might be helping the fire fighters save the day. Small world play is also great for creativity and the imagination. It helps children build their vocabulary and encourages problem solving and narrative thought.
How Playing With Dolls Encourages Empathy
Playing with princesses and other dolls is a much gentler form of play than playing with superheroes and action figures. There tends to be less violence and more empathy when it comes to playing with princess toys and other dolls.
Superheroes are great fun and kids love them but they tend to smash their way through problems with little thought to the aftermath and many children focus solely on the violence rather than on the good they are doing. The bravery and compassion get lost along the way and it becomes all about fighting the supervillain.
In fact studies have shown that children who watch superhero programs are less likely to help classmates who are being bullied and that they are more aggressive. Instead of being shocked by violent behaviour, they are desensitised to it and so less likely to notice and do something about it.
Playing with dolls however helps children to build empathy and become more sensitive as they are imagining what it would be like to be someone else.
Princesses today are also far more empowering role models to children than they might have been in the past. And there are plenty of stories and real life examples of princesses being an impressive force for good in the world. A far cry from the image of weak but beautiful women trapped in towers awaiting rescue by the handsome prince.
Today princesses are far more likely to be portrayed as fearless but kind and just as likely to be doing the saving as they are to need saving themselves. They are clever, strong, inventive and intuitive. All great attributes for children to emulate and admire.
Next Up: The Best Ethical Princess Toys