What’s The Best Type Of Doll For 2-3 Year Olds

Two and three-year-olds are amazing, aren’t they?

They’re exploring their environment and beginning to pretend.

It’s time to get toys that help them take on the role of someone else while still maintaining safety.

We’ve got our top picks for best dolls for this age range, and we’ve answered a few questions you may have about how to choose.

Let’s take a look.

What’s The Best Type Of Doll For 2 And 3-Year-Olds?

girl holding her doll 1

This is a fun age group. It’s possible to get a wide range of dolls that are good choices, but let ’s look at a few things you should look for.

Safety

This age group is still exploring things and may still put items in their mouths. It’s essential that you avoid anything that could be a choking hazard. Also, non-toxic materials like paints or BPA free plastics are also good because your child may continue to try to put pieces in the mouth.

Sounds And Accessories

This age group also responds really well to simple accessories and sounds. Things like songs can begin to introduce concepts like colors or numbers while realistic effects like babbling or crying can enhance pretend play.

Make sure the accessories are large enough to be handled by small fingers without frustration. The right accessories can encourage fine motor skills and thoughtful manipulation of objects. They can also add realism to a doll for children who are ready for realistic pretend play.

Best Dolls For 2-3 Year Old: The List

IMAGEPRODUCTFEATURESEYESPRICE
Soft Body Doll in Gift BoxSoft Body Doll in Gift Box
  • Removable outfit and hat
  • Inset eyes
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Melissa Doug Mine to Love BriannaMelissa Doug Mine to Love Brianna
  • Soft hair put up in pigtails
  • Realistic eyes that open and close
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Corolle Mon Premier Poupon Bebe CalinCorolle Mon Premier Poupon Bebe Calin
  • Velvety soft head
  • Inset eyes
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Madame Alexander Baby HuggumsMadame Alexander Baby Huggums
  • Vinyl head
  • Inset eyes
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Bitty Baby Doll Light SkinBitty Baby Doll Light Skin
  • Hair is painted
  • The eyes open and close
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Cry Babies Lala Baby DollCry Babies Lala Baby Doll
  • She cries. They have two AAA batteries.
  • Eyes are painted
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Baby Twins DollsBaby Twins Dolls
  • Changeable outfits
  • Inset eyes
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Playskool Classic Dressy Kids BoyPlayskool Classic Dressy Kids Boy
  • Allows your child to practice five actions
  • Eyes are painted
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These are the top picks for an awesome doll for your two or three-year-old. They’re still simple, but they offer some fun features to encourage pretending and to provide comfort. Let’s take a look. There are also reviews of Dolls for a 1-Year-Old and Doll For 4 To 8 Year Old.

#1 11 inch Soft Body Doll in Gift Box – 11″ Baby Doll

Soft Body Doll in Gift Box

The first doll is a sweet, soft-bodied doll that measures 11 inches and is easy to carry. It has a sweet face with inset eyes and comes with a removable outfit and hat. The face, hands, and feet are soft, realistic vinyl and it’s the perfect size to carry around.

It gives your child the simplicity of a realistic baby doll, but there are no small pieces that can be accidentally swallowed. It comes in multiple ethnicities and eye colors. The body can be hand washed, and you can launder the outfit in your machine.

Pros
  • the soft body is hand washable
  • realistic features
Cons
  • no accessories included

#2 Melissa & Doug Mine to Love Brianna

Melissa Doug Mine to Love Brianna

Brianna is a slightly older looking doll that may be closer to the way your two or three-year-old is beginning to look. It features soft hair put up in pigtails with a soft body and realistic features. The vinyl head, hands, and feet are realistic, and the facial features include realistic eyes that open and close.

It comes with a pacifier and a removable outfit. She can suck her thumb or the pacifier, and the outfit can go in the wash. The arms and body wipe clean, and they’re safe for children to play with long term. All of Melissa and Doug’s toys are safe to play with and made from non-toxic materials.

Pros
  • older looking doll
  • comes with a working pacifier
Cons
  • none

#3 Corolle Calin Charming Pastel Baby Doll

Corolle Mon Premier Poupon Bebe Calin

Corolle Calin’s soft-bodied doll is the perfect choice for children who are highly mobile and need something lightweight and easy to carry. She has realistic features and a velvety soft head and hands. There’s also a light scent of vanilla, which gives your child even more interest.

Your child can pose the arms and legs to be more realistic, giving them a chance to get into dramatic play. The outfit and body are easy to hand wash, and the face and hands simply wipe clean. The bean filled body feels good in your child’s hands and provides excellent tactile response.

Pros
  • vanilla scent
  • easy to clean
Cons
  • no accessories (and no molded thumb)

#4 Madame Alexander Baby Huggums With Pink Check Outfit

Madame Alexander Baby Huggums

Baby Huggums is a classic style baby doll with a soft body and realistic facial features. It’s reminiscent of the style your grandmother may have had when she was a child, and it boasts the same remarkable quality those dolls were known for.

It’s a bit more of an investment, but your child gets a doll with excellent seaming and realistic facial features. The material is effortless to keep clean with just a damp cloth, and the doll does sit well in beginning walkers’ arms. It’s easy to carry and a good size for that two to three-year range.

Pros
  • excellent quality
  • easy to clean
Cons
  • more expensive

#5 American Girl – Bitty Baby Doll

Bitty Baby Doll Light Skin

For younger siblings who may be jealous of their older sibling’s American Girl, now, there’s a baby doll just for them. It features a soft cloth body with realistic vinyl face, hands, and feet. The eyes open and close when you lay her down and pick her up again. Hair is painted on using non-toxic paints.

She comes with a pink outfit and a diaper that your child can practice removing. Changing clothing or diapers helps teach fine motor skills and gives your chance to delve into pretend play and be a caregiver just like mommy.

Pros
  • an excellent introduction to American Girls dolls
  • removable outfit and diaper
Cons
  • more expensive than many comparable baby dolls

#6 Cry Babies Lala Baby Doll

Cry Babies Lala Baby Doll

This adorable baby doll has beautifully painted facial features and the cutest little bear outfit. When you remove her pacifier, she cries until you soothe her, rock her, or replace her pacifier. You can even add water for realistic tears.

They have posable arms and legs and require two AAA batteries. Each doll comes with the removable onesie and the pacifier that triggers crying effects. This doll allows your older child to really get a feel for how to soothe a baby with realistic sound effects and adorable real tears. If you’re looking to upgrade from a simple baby doll, this is a great step to take.

Pros
  • cries real tears
  • interactive crying and soothing behavior
Cons
  • requires constant batteries

#7 12” Baby Twins Dolls 1 Boy & 1 Girl with Milk & Juice Bottle

Baby Twins Dolls

Here you get two toys for one! Sweet boy and girl baby twins with changeable outfits (including pant, shirt, and hat) provide lovely play. Their soft bodies are comfortable to carry around, and the realistic faces and hands are soft vinyl. They come with a milk bottle and a juice bottle.

The eyes don’t open and close, unfortunately, but they do have very lifelike features. The juice and milk bottles are painted (no liquid to leak), and they fit into the babies’ mouths. They have a soft, easy to clean torso and the face and hands simply wipe clean with a wet cloth.

Pros
  • two babies included
  • milk and juice bottle accessories
Cons
  • eyes don’t open and close

#8 Playskool Classic Dressy Kids Boy Plush Toy for Toddlers Ages 2 and Up

Playskool Classic Dressy Kids Boy

In a different sort of doll than a baby doll, the classic Dressy Kids gives your child the chance to pretend play by getting elements of the doll dressed. There’s a zipper, a button, a tied shoe, and a buckle. All these things are great for fine motor skills and for giving kids the chance to practice critical elements of getting themselves dressed on the doll.

See our review of the best Learn To Dress Dolls

He comes with his own clip and can attach to bags or loops in the car. It’s fully machine washable and allows your child to practice five actions, buckling, fastening, zipping, buttoning, and tying. All components are very well sewn, and the materials are safe for extended play.

Pros
  • getting dressed activities
  • fully machine washable
Cons
  • the button is difficult, and the zipper is very short

Choosing The Perfect Doll

Two and three-year-olds are really getting into dramatic play. Dolls at this age are great ways for them to begin to act out things they see around them as well as providing soft comfort. While it’s certainly not necessary to have sound, this may be a good age to begin introducing it. Keep these things in mind when you’re making your decision.

What Kinds Of Accessories Are Suitable?

Two and three-year-olds have more control over their hands and movements, so accessories can be more involved. They should still be big enough that your child can’t put it in his or her mouth just for safety reasons, but they are able to manipulate things with more efficiency. Multiple types of accessories could be appropriate depending on your child’s abilities.

What Kind Of Materials Are Best?

At this age, children still need a bit of comfort, so they benefit from soft-bodied dolls. While you may be ready to move on to more complex types of toys, having a soft body with vinyl face, hands, and feet can be the best of both worlds.

A doll like this should be around 12 inches, although a little smaller or larger could be a good choice depending on your individual child. All materials should be non-toxic including any paints or accessories used. That way, if your child is still putting things in his or her mouth, it won’t be a big deal, and you won’t worry. Also, check seaming regularly for loose parts.

How Much Should I Pay?

girl sitting with doll 1

We don’t think it’s necessary to invest a significant amount of money into a doll. While the price may correlate with higher quality, it’s important to remember that there are plenty of affordable dolls with high-quality features that won’t break your wallet.

The best bit of advice is to shop around and look at dolls in person if you can. That gives you a better idea about the types of materials and the quality of the seaming. It’s most important to spend money on things like non-toxic materials and trusted brands because children are still putting things in their mouths at this age.

Do I Need Sound Effects/Interactive Elements?

Children at this age are ready to learn concepts such as colors or numbers, but it isn’t always necessary for every toy they have to teach something explicitly. Instead, consider what kinds of toys your child already has.

See our review of the best interactive dolls

Dramatic play is just as important as learning those concepts, so sound effects that mimic crying may be more appropriate for that kind of pretending. Dolls that help children learn how to be caregivers or offer comfort because of their soft bodies are excellent choices. It’s not always a negative thing that the toy doesn’t have a bunch of noises and lights.

Final Thoughts

Dolls are classic toys and excellent choices for your child’s play. They can give your child the chance to pretend, practice acting out what he or she is seeing happen in the home, and explore what it means to be a caregiver.

Plus, dolls can also offer comfort for your child in that way that only a favorite doll can.

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Sarah Collins

I’m the mother of two wonderful children. My oldest son John is 7 years old, and my daughter Jemma is a little seven-month-old girl. My kids are the main reason why I decided to start this website. Having been a mother for the last 7 years, I’d like to share some useful tips with anyone who might be interested.

1 thought on “What’s The Best Type Of Doll For 2-3 Year Olds”

  1. “Two-year-olds are entering pretend play and figuring out who they are. Kitchen items, cars, trucks, baby dolls, allow them to pretend, to be in the adult-world in their play,” said Tovah Klein, director of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development and author of “How Toddlers Thrive.”

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