The childhood years between four and eight years old are a bit of an awakening. Children move from the instinctual exploring of toddler years to elementary school where they’re building relationships outside their family for the first time and discovering who they are as individuals. Dolls for this age are becoming more complex and play an essential role in the development of healthy relationships and the sense of self. We’ve put together a list of our favorite dolls for this age group and answered a few questions you may have about how to choose. Let’s take a look.
What Do I Look For In A Doll For 4 – 8 Year Olds?
There’s a big jump in ability for this age group. They’re engaging in real dramatic play and using pretend to foster creativity and understand the world around them. Look for these things in your dolls.
At this age, children crave realism. The fun, soft dolls of their baby years won’t be satisfying enough when playing pretend. Instead, giving them real features such as eyes that open and close, interactive dolls that cry, or weighted dolls that feel real can jumpstart their creativity and help them to imagine more deeply.
They can have accessories now that are more intricate and complicated because you don’t have to worry about them choking on smaller bits or not being able to manipulate the accessory. Look for dolls that come with more realistic accessory sets for your child to use during play.
Interaction and “Smart” Toys
Some toys can be fully interactive. A baby doll that eats and has to be changed is a great way to teach your child responsibility for example. They can practice more intricate fine motor skills during the feeding and changing process. Other options include dolls that talk or need a response of some kind to stop crying or elicit another type of response.
Dolls that can teach educational concepts are also great. Some dolls help your child cement numbers and colors for instance or to help with math. They can be fun ways for your child to go over the same concepts that he or she is learning in school.
As always, dolls should be made from materials that are safe for children to handle and that are non-toxic. Even though children may not be putting things in mouths at this age, they can still be rough on toys sometimes. If a toy breaks, you don’t want to risk your child being exposed to something harmful. If the paint on features or accessories begins to chip, you want to know that the paint isn’t going to harm your child’s skin (and preferably, that it wouldn’t chip in the first place).
Best Dolls For 4 – 8 Year Olds: The List
These are our top picks for the best dolls for this age group. The dolls are chosen based on a wide variety of interests to appeal to your child’s personality and preferences. Let’s find your child’s perfect doll.
|Product Image||Product Name||Size||Hair||What's in the box||Price|
|Adora Adoption Baby "Hope" 16||16"||none||Сomes with a certificate of adoption, pacifier, hospital bracelet, disposable diaper and is swaddled in a cuddly soft microfiber blanket||Check Price|
|Baby Alive Real As Can Be Baby||18"||none||Includes removable outfit, hat, bib, blanket, pacifier, and bottle with disappearing milk.||Check Price|
|Corolle Mon Grand Poupon Ambre Toy Baby Doll||14"||long||She is dressed in a pretty pink dress and wears a color-coordinated headband and removable pink shoes||Check Price|
|Paradise Galleries Reborn Baby||19"||short||Includes jersey knit pastel pink floral print onesie, jacket, hat, bib, blanket, doll bottle, doll pacifier, booties and the cutest giraffe plush friend||Check Price|
|Disney Beauty Belle Doll||12"||long||She comes with her rose rattle, just like in the movie||Check Price|
|Little Mommy Learn to Ride Doll||15"||long||Includes doll, bike, helmet, water bottle, puppy, bandage stickers and training wheels||Check Price|
|American Girl Willa Doll||14.5"||long||Outfit includes a hedgehog tee, green hedgehog-print skirt, cute headband, light-pink underwear, and red wellie boots||Check Price|
Adora Adoption Baby “Hope” 16 Inch Vinyl Girl Newborn
Adora’s baby doll is a weighted, soft-bodied doll with realistic facial features. It uses a soft, velvety vinyl for the face, hands, and feet that mimics the real texture of skin, and the weighted body feels more like a real baby.
She comes with a pacifier that really fits into her mouth, a disposable diaper for caregiving play, a microfiber comfort blanket, and an outfit that your child can remove. There’s even a realistic looking hospital bracelet. The doll is lightly scented with baby powder to mimic a real baby just after the bath. There are several colors of outfit and skin tones with different eye colors to choose from, but all of them offer the realism of a newborn baby to encourage your child to care just like mommy does.
- lightly scented
- realistic accessories
- no interactive reactions
Baby Alive Real As Can Be Baby
Baby Alive offers your child a realistic baby doll with different expressions and reactions. She comes with over 80 reactions just like a real baby and has several accessories that help your child learn cause and effect. She’s friendly, babbles back to your child, giggles when tickled, and a host of other expressions.
See our review of the best baby alive dolls
The accessories such as the bottle make real noises and help your child learn how to respond to different situations. If Baby Alive is crying, she may be hungry, and the bottle will help. After, pat her on the back to burp her and then rock her to soothe her for a nap. She comes with so many different reactions that even your older children will find her interesting for a long time.
- over 80 different responses
- interactive accessories
- good for learning cause and effect
- requires a lot of batteries
Corolle Mon Grand Poupon Ambre Toy Baby Doll
Corolle’s baby doll is an older looking doll with long hair and a sweet outfit. She’s a little bit smaller at 14 inches but still offers the same tactile satisfaction as other baby dolls on the list. She comes with a coordinating pink outfit and headband with removable shoes.
Her limbs are posable and feature vanilla-scented, soft to the touch vinyl that mimics real skin tone. Her facial features are realistic down to the sweet freckles and her eyes open and close when you lay her down. She comes with her own brush to keep her hair in check and could be a good option for children who already have newborn dolls and want something more like a little sister.
- realistic features
- older age of the doll
- vanilla scented skin
- somewhat expensive for a non-interactive doll
Paradise Galleries Reborn Baby Doll Lifelike Realistic Baby Doll
Reborn dolls are known for their lifelike features, and this one is no different. This doll is weighted with a soft to the touch vinyl face, hands, and feet that feel like skin. She’s highly realistic and could be suitable for older children who want a very realistic baby to care for.
See our review of the most realistic baby dolls
The doll is 19 inches long, similar to a real baby, and has features designed by a world-renowned doll artist. She comes with a full outfit and pacifier that can be removed and includes little details such as crinkles around the eyes or blushing on the tops of the feet. She’s not interactive, but she offers an element of realism that older children may be craving.
- ultra realistic, reborn style doll
- soft touch vinyl face, hands, and feet
- full baby outfit with accessories
- more expensive than standard baby dolls
Disney Beauty and The Beast Live Action Baby Belle Doll
Is your child a super Disney fan? This Belle doll gives them a chance to blend their love of baby dolls with Beauty and the Beast. She features long, soft hair and the familiar yellow dress with a twist, now it’s a baby dress. She has sweet, semi-realistic features and soft vinyl limbs and face.
She comes with one accessory, a rattle in the shape of Beast’s rose. Her hair is perfect for styling, and she’s just the right size for carrying or cuddling. She may not have a lot of accessories, but the details and homage to the movie are excellent.
- rose shaped rattle
- long, soft hair
- good details including facial features
- no other accessories are included
Little Mommy Learn to Ride Doll
This sweet doll is learning to ride a bike for the very first time! She comes with the bike toy with removable training wheels, a fun water bottle, and bandaid accessories. Her outfit is removable as is the safety helmet, and she has realistic features that encourage your child to treat her like a real baby.
When you put her feet in the bicycle pedal straps, she can move like she’s riding a bike. Your child has to push and handle the bike themselves, but it’s a fun way to practice the movements of a real bike and take over mommy or daddy’s job in teaching the steps. There’s a place to put her water bottle and a basket on the back for her puppy accessory.
- plentiful accessories including a working bike
- older style doll great for bike riding kids
- fun hair and facial features
- not a self-pedaling bike
American Girl WellieWishers Willa Doll
This sweet America Girl doll is an excellent entry into the American Girl world for younger kids. She’s dressed in a fun, animal themed outfit to show her love for all animal life and has beautiful, long hair that can be carefully styled.
She’s part of the WellieWishers line, a group of girls with fun accessories and all based around a theme. She’s realistic and a slightly older doll for children who may be looking for a friend or a little sister instead of a baby. She’s got a full outfit that can be removed and posable limbs with wellie boots.
- an excellent introduction to American Girls Dolls
- realistic features
- fun animal-themed outfit
- hair gets tangled easily and is hard to fix
Didn’t you find what you were looking for? Here are some of our other doll reviews:
How Do I Choose The Right Doll For My Four To Eight Year Old?
There are a lot of factors involved in choosing the right dolls for this age group. Let’s take a look at a few things going on in your child’s world how toys can help your child’s development.
Creativity And Imagination
Your child’s imagination has exploded. School and friends outside the family are transforming how your child sees the world, broadening perspectives and giving your child a sense of self. Strong preferences are emerging at this time, so dolls can follow a theme for your child’s interest.
If your child loves Disney, the Belle doll can satisfy that preference while giving your child plenty of creative play. If your child wants to care for a baby just like mommy does, interactive dolls help keep them interested and teach cause and effect. If your child is interested in activities such as bikes or animal exploration, some toys help your child understand those interests.
Dolls now can offer your child a way to interact with siblings and other friends. Toys with a collectible aspect, such as the WellieWishers, give your child something in common with other children and a way to use the doll to make friends or establish common interests.
There’s a good chance your child’s friend has a similar doll and if not, will be interested in your child’s collection. This gives your child the opportunity to practice critical negotiation skills, communication, and explanation as they show off their doll to friends.
Caregiving And Dramatic Play
Children this age are really exploring their own personalities and taking on different roles they see playing out in the real world. This could include practicing caregiving like mommy does or help someone learn to ride a bike like they do with daddy. These dramatic play times are crucial for your child’s development because they help your child understand their place in the world and work out how they feel about it all.
Dolls with interactive features help immerse your child in these types of dramatic play, encouraging long term play much different than the short bursts they experienced as a much younger child. These are epic play sessions that could last all afternoon or for days and weeks as your child interacts with the doll. They learn cause and effect and focus, building critical skills for older years.
Upgrading your child’s doll from the babyish ones of their toddler years is a critical step to helping your child build social relationships, explore critical parts of themselves and take on the role of different people in their lives. This type of play builds the character they’ll need to become more independent and understand themselves.
Using more interactive and more realistic dolls gives your child the chance to play longer periods of time and to focus on the task entirely. They’ll appreciate the realism, and you could be in the running for the best parent on the block.