Dolls are a childhood staple. They teach children critical emotional skills and allow them to imagine themselves in the role of caregiver. Your child is ready for a different type of doll.
Interactive dolls are dolls that offer your child a chance to talk, care for, and listen. Some dolls provide just a few essential caregiving features such as feeding, soothing, or changing diapers. Others have a full spectrum of interactive features like speaking, learning, and games.
If your child is interested in dolls, an interactive doll might be just the type of toy to get them excited to play. If you aren’t sure where to start, don’t worry. We’ve got you. We’ve put together a list of the best interactive dolls. There is a range of different types to suit different ages and interests. Plus, we’ve answered a few questions you might have about choosing the right one. Let’s take a look.
Best Interactive Baby Dolls Available Today
1. VTech Baby Amaze Learn to Talk And Read Baby Doll: Best For Multiple Ages
VTech’s Baby Amaze is a fully interactive doll that learns and adapts the more your child plays. She comes with a bottle and a pacifier plus three interactive books.
She encourages your child to play nurturer as she asks for her bottle or her pacifier. You can press the buttons on the front of her bib to explore all the interactive possibilities.
She will listen to your child and repeat back what she hears. She begins to learn words and phrases and will eventually say over 70 of them. She helps your child learn vocabulary related to food, animals, and household products.
The doll can read the included books to your child, or if the baby is in “learn” mode, your child can read them to her. She invites your child to talk to her and learns from what your child does.
When you want to begin again, just press the “newborn” button to reset the doll and begin the process over.
She’ll sing along with nursery rhymes and melodies, coo, and make babbling noises. She requires two AA batteries that are easily replaced through the compartment in the back. The included batteries are for demo mode only, and you should replace them as soon as you get the doll.
You can adjust the volume through the back as well. At first, the pacifier might be difficult to insert and remove, but with more use, it gets easier.
2. JC Toys Missy Kissy Giggle Time: Best For Young Children
JC Toys’ interactive doll is a 15-inch soft body doll with eyes that open and close. She plays 12 different phrases and two songs. She comes with a change of clothes, a set of pajamas, a bottle, and a pacifier.
The soft body of the doll makes her an excellent comfort toy for younger children who still need soothing toys or blankets. She’s made of a cloth body in the middle with a head, feet, and hands of a velvety plastic that feels more similar to skin. She can be spot cleaned with a soft, damp cloth.
She has three modes accessed by a compartment in the back. The button hidden behind a velcro enclosure gives you the on, off, and demo functions. You can replace batteries through the same compartment. She requires three AAA batteries. The compartment is easy to access, but the velcro is strong enough that the flap won’t accidentally open while your child is playing.
She plays a tickle game. Your child can press her left hand and then tickle under her arms, on her belly, and on her feet to find out where she’s ticklish. She responds with laughter.
She speaks little phrases as your child interacts with her. There are up to 12 expressions she’ll say at different times. Be sure that she isn’t in demo mode to access all the different phrases and songs.
One downside of the doll is that she’s a little too basic for older children. Missy Kissy is best for younger children who want basic interaction and who still need comfort from time to time.
3. Baby Alive Baby Go Bye Bye: Best For Bilingual Children
Baby Alive’s interactive doll is a laughing and talking interactive doll that your child can feed and change. She even crawls. She comes with a diaper, bottle, rattle, pacifier, and even a carrier just like mom’s.
She’s powered by four AA batteries. The ones included are for demo purposes only and should be replaced as soon as possible. She has an on, off, and demo switch accessed easily through the back.
She’s more interactive than a soft body doll. She has no cloth body parts so that she can support herself for the crawl function. The doll body is hard plastic, but it’s high quality and will last a long time. She must have all her limbs matched to the marks to be able to crawl. You might have to help your child the first few times to get the positioning right.
When your child feeds her, she makes realistic feeding noises. Filling the bottle with water means she’ll wet her diaper just like a real baby.
She speaks over 30 phrases in either English or Spanish. It’s easy to switch between the two languages by pressing and holding her tummy. She doesn’t cry, but she’ll babble back to your child. Plus, she giggles as your child plays with her.
You can brush and style her hair because it’s entirely rooted. It’s intended to be in a side ponytail so the length of hair may not be consistent on all sides. Other than that, she’s a fun, highly interactive doll that’s good for bilingual children especially.
4. Zapf Creations Baby Annabell 18″ Doll: Best For Open-Ended Play
This is another simple interactive doll that’s shaped like a real baby. She’s soft and comes with a bottle, pacifier, and a locket. She’s set up to take water from the bottle, and when she gets upset, she cries.
Your child can fill up the bottle and put it in Baby Annabell’s mouth. She drinks the water, and when she begins to cry, the water comes from the corners of her eyes as tears. Your child can learn what makes her sad, and how to avoid (or cause) the crying behavior.
She also laughs, coos, and makes baby noises. She’s a very simple interactive doll suitable for young children who are old enough to be able to play with the locket without danger of choking.
She comes with her accessories, plus her clothing and a bib. She’s set up just like a baby. Although she doesn’t crawl or learn words, she does offer kids a comforting toy that responds like a baby, and a chance for your child to practice empathy and emotional intelligence.
There are youtube videos you can watch so that you know how to make Annabell cry. As your child plays, he or she can also learn what makes Annabell cry and what makes her happy.Sometimes the best thing for children is a simple toy that gives them a lot of leeway to imagine interactions and everything that a baby might do. He or she gets to mimic what mom and dad do to care for siblings.
5. Baby Born Interactive Doll: Best Low Tech Option
Baby Born is an interactive doll that cries and goes to the bathroom on the potty just like a real doll. She’s made of soft plastic, so she can sit up on her own and comes with a range of accessories.
The package includes a bottle, pacifier, food packet, potty seat, a plate and spoon, three-piece outfit, diaper, potty seat, and a birth certificate. She’s compatible with the Baby Born interactive tub that’s sold separately.
She requires no batteries. All of her functions work through basic mechanics. When you feed her a bottle, water travels through a tube in her body and eventually makes its way outside. Same with food packets. She cries when you squeeze her hand so that “tears” flow through her eyes.
The upside to this is that you won’t spend any money on batteries, and the sounds won’t drive you half crazy. The downside is that her interactive features are limited to these three basic functions. If your child is looking for a lot of vocal characteristics, he or she won’t get them with this doll.
If you worry about toys that require a lot of batteries for sounds and other features, this is an excellent low-key, interactive doll. She gives your child the chance to mimic some of the basic maternal instincts of caring, but in a more straightforward way than some of the dolls on the list.
Dark Brown Eyes
6. Spinmaster Luvabella: Best For Older Children
Spinmaster’s Luvabella is another fully interactive doll that learns as the more your child plays. She comes with interactive accessories, a spoon, bottle, pacifier, and a Lamby comfort toy. She also comes with a set of removable clothing.
She’s made of a soft plastic that’s durable and allows her to sit up and stay in position. She produces true to life facial expressions, and as your child interacts, she learns to say words and phrases. She expands from babble to over 100 words and phrases through the course of her learning.
She also has naturally baby instincts. Your child can feed her when she’s hungry by placing the bottle in her mouth and listening to the real feeding sounds. After, your child can burp her and then soothe her to sleep with her pacifier. Sometimes, she fusses like a real baby, requiring your child to problem solve to get her to sleep. Once she’s asleep, you can put your ear to her chest to hear her heartbeat.
She reacts to her Lamby toy with giggles and sounds of happiness. She plays peekaboo and tickle games. She lifts her arms and turns her head to ask for attention. Your child can read her facial expressions and babble or words to figure out how she feels and react accordingly.
The babbling and baby talk slowly turn into real words and phrases the more your child plays. This mimics the learning curve of a real baby. She doesn’t reset, but as your child gets older, he or she can still play with this perpetual toddler.
Dark Brown Hair
This toy is suitable for older children who are in the stages of play where they mimic what they see mom and dad doing. The doll acts like a real baby and gives older children more feedback regarding facial expressions, body motions, and speech.
7. Chatsters – Gabby Interactive Doll: Best For Elementary Children
The Gabby Interactive Doll is a very talkative interactive doll. She comes with six different interactive accessories. The doll chats, plays games, and more features can be unlocked with her interactive glasses.
The doll knows over 300 different words and phrases. She asks questions and asks for your child’s advice. She’ll play different games and break out in dance moves periodically as your child plays. She requests makeovers, new hair does, and other fashion-related activities.
She has make-up accessories so your child can change her make up colors. She also has a smoothie and a cupcake. Be careful because if she drinks the smoothie too fast, she’ll get brain freeze.
You can download the free Chatster’s app so that your child can unlock even more interactive features such as games and other music. She’ll even call or text just like a real friend would. In addition to the smoothie and cupcake, she also comes with an eyeshadow compact, Sprinkles her dog, lipstick, and a mobile phone.
She takes four AA batteries and is best for elementary aged children and older. She’s perfect for a child that doesn’t want to take care of a baby but would like someone who responds the way a friend would.
One potential downside is that the doll can be a little bit bossy. You might want to talk to your child beforehand so that she doesn’t begin to adopt some of Gabby’s mannerisms. Also, some of the accessories are pretty small, so she isn’t suitable for younger children.
Guide to Selecting the Best Interactive Baby Doll
So how do you choose an interactive doll for your child? There are a few different things you might want to keep in mind to help you make the best decision.Age
Like all toys, interactive dolls have age-appropriate limits. You have to consider not only safety issues but also the developmental stage of your child.
Toddlers will have little fine motor control so you’ll need to make sure that the accessories are big enough for them to manipulate without getting frustrated. The best kind of toys for this age are simple toys that have a handful of interactive features but nothing that’s too complicated. If it requires a lot of manipulation for the doll to work, this age will probably get too frustrated.
Older kids and pre-K children are ready for a few more interactive features. They are watching everything that mom and dad do, and a lot of their play involves mimicking what they see. Dolls that provide more interaction and allow children to practice critical thinking and emotional intelligence. If the doll responds to the child, he or she can get that nurturing practice more realistically.
Elementary school kids are ready for even more features. Dolls with smaller parts and multi-step interactive features that include learning, playing games, and responding to what your child says and does. The child might be ready to move beyond baby dolls and into dolls that behave more like a peer.Accessories
Some dolls come with a lot of different accessories. Those that do, you should check to be sure that each one is age appropriate for your child regarding size and usage.
Sometimes, dolls have apps that accompany the doll and unlock more features than what’s on the doll itself. The apps require compatible smart devices, so you should be sure that your child has access to them if this is something you want.
The most basic types of accessories include feeding accessories and soothing accessories. These are familiar and things your child understands regardless of age.
Other types of accessories can be anything from different types of food and clothing to makeover accessories, pets, and technology. These are best for older children, but they can offer a child a lot of different activities to develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence.Power
Most interactive dolls require some sort of power. Many of their features run on battery power, so you’ll have to consider the battery investment. Most dolls run on AA batteries, but some that have a lot of features run on C-cell or larger batteries.
A handful of interactive dolls work entirely on mechanical methods. They don’t need any source of power to operate. They won’t have realistic spoken features such as laughter or talking, but they can do things like cry tears or go potty.
Toys that have power have more interactive features and are suitable for problem-solving or critical thinking. Toys that don’t have power are better for open-ended play. They allow children room to create and play from their imaginations instead of responding to cues.
Both types of dolls are good toys, but for different reasons.
Interactive dolls are excellent toys for developing minds. They help your child think critically and give them the chance to practice nurturing skills. Dolls hit an essential part of a child’s development, the emotional development. Some of them help your child develop those critical empathy skills.
What kind of doll best suits our child? Let us know in the comments below?