A rag doll is simply a soft doll made from cloth. Traditionally these would have been hand made from scraps of material and stuffed with rags although nowadays there are plenty of beautiful rag dolls and other soft dolls that have been commercially produced.
These simple soft dolls are one of the oldest toys we know about and many of the rag dolls available today retain some of that simple charm that is associated with traditional hand made toys. Including simple features, soft bodies and even patchwork clothing and hair made from wool.
Rag dolls are perfect for children because they are so soft and easy to carry, cuddle and hold. And at a time when more and more parents are focused on choosing toys that are educational as well as fun.
Playing with Rag Dolls
Playing with dolls encourages children to develop empathy and social skills as well as practise caring for something.
Doll play can be both a solo and a social activity and is great for building language skills, practising sharing and taking turns, and brilliant for imaginative role play. Children love to imitate us and so delight in caring for a doll in the way you care for them.
Kids also get to use fine and gross motor skills and practise life skills such as doing up buttons when they play with dolls. And choosing the perfect outfit for the day ahead is fun as well as educational.
On top of this having a soft toy or a rag doll can provide comfort to children. It’s something to cuddle and something to talk to.
Why are rag dolls so popular?
Traditionally rag dolls would not only have been homemade from scrap material, and so very affordable. They would also have been a great way to teach young girls to knit and sew. They might not have made the dolls themselves but would have been able to learn lots of skills while making them new clothes.
Today there is undoubtedly an element of nostalgia when it comes to rag dolls continuing popularity but it’s more than that.
Sometimes tradition just works. Soft dolls are perfect for young children. They are soft and cuddly to hold, easy to carry, can be washed, and are unlikely to do much damage if thrown across the room. And as children get a bit bigger they are perfect for playing dress-up.
These days rag dolls aren’t just designed for girls. There are lots of boy dolls available. As well as dolls with lots of different eyes, hair and skin colours.
A love for traditional natural toys.
Rag dolls, like traditional wooden toys, also tend to be more environmentally sustainable than their plastic counterparts. We are very careful to only source high-quality well made toys where both people and the planet have been considered in the production process.
Rubens eco-buds are particularly special. Handmade from organic cotton they are suitable from birth and can be machine washed. They also fit the Big Jigs clothes so your little ones can have fun getting them dressed up as they get older.
Next Up: When Was the Rag Doll Invented?