The Rag Doll: Empathy Matters

Rag dolls have a timeless appeal and a special place in the lives of both children and their parents. As well as being suitable for use from a young age, it is well known that cloth doll toys help to enhance your child’s fine motor skills, provide companionship and improve their visual memory.

However, did you know that playing with cloth dolls also helps to make children feel safe and secure while promoting natural feelings of affection? Also called Empathy Dolls, rag dolls are not only great toys for children but have also shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering with Dementia. 

Playing and interacting with dolls, even when by themselves, creates a connection and stimulates comfort through the act of hugging which in turn helps to prevent or suppress stress and anxiety.

A study by Cardiff University found that ‘Dolls encourage them to create their own little imaginary worlds, as opposed to say, problem-solving or building games’ and helped ‘them rehearse some of the social skills they will need in later life.’ [Read more here:]

Regardless of gender, race or culture, parents around the world are placing an ever-increasing importance on the development of empathy amongst their children.  Over the past year there have been major concerns raised around the development of young children during lockdown and the impact of their reduced social interaction. These latest findings have now created an opportunity for parents to not only rethink their attitudes towards doll play but also the gender stereotypes surrounding it.

Our Bonikka rag dolls are beautifully handcrafted, in Sri Lanka using soft, comforting fabrics. Bonikka, the word for 'doll' in the Sinhalese dialect spoken in Sri Lanka, is a family-owned and operated business, who have family at the heart of everything they do. In addition to make beautifully handcrafted dolls, they established an alliance with a non-profit organisation in Sri Lanka who serve the needs of approx. 36 underprivileged girls between the ages of 5-18.

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