Last Updated on December 16, 2021 by admin
Shown in featured photo: Our kids’ Corolle baby doll enjoys a walk in a thrift-store-bought doll stroller about five years after we got the doll for my 2-year-old.
Is there anything cuter than watching a kid who was recently a baby themselves drag around a baby of their own? A baby doll for a 2-year-old can make a great gift, especially for a kid who might have a sibling on the way.
In case you need convincing, here’s a pic of my 2-year-old chillin with his Corolle baby doll. What you don’t see is me also chillin with his 2-week-old brother in my lap on the very same couch.
There are lots and lots of baby doll sets for kids out there, but the best baby dolls for 2-year-olds and younger toddlers (as opposed to older kids) have a few key features, in my mind:
- Washability (most baby dolls aren’t machine washable, but they should be easy to spot clean if possible)
- Durability (I relied on Amazon reviews to get a sense of people thought the dolls were a good value for the price, and I stuck mostly to trustworthy brands)
- Size / Weight (a doll that’s too large of heavy will be more difficult for a young toddler to snuggle and carry around)
- Cuddle-ability (Dolls for older kids tend to have hard bodies, while dolls for toddlers are snugglier with soft middles, even if the hands and faces are still made of firmer material)
Older kids might appreciate things like tiny little compatible bottles, diapers, outfit changes, and other accessories — but little pieces might actually frustrate a younger toddler more than anything — or simply get ignored. (For example, the cute little hat that my kids’ doll came with has been lost for a long, long time.) When it comes to accessories for a 2-year-old’s baby doll, I’d argue that a stroller and maybe a crib or high chair will get the most use at age 2.
Note: All the dolls below generally come in a rainbow of skin tones, so you’ll probably be able to select one in any given brand that looks like your kid (or just whatever color suits ya).
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I think there’s something about the dolls with the soft plastic faces that just make them too realistically cute for toddlers to resist. We have this doll (although it was wearing a little blue outfit) and the kids pretended with it on and off for years along with a secondhand collapsible stroller. It’s little face and hands are a bit dirty and it doesn’t exactly wipe off easily, but that fact doesn’t seem to bother my kids at all. Overall, it has held up well (although the clothes definitely look worn after having washed them a few times). This doll is not machine washable, but it does have the added feature of eyes that open and close.
Manhattan “Wee” Baby Stella Doll
The Manhattan brand of baby dolls is really popular on Amazon, and it’s easy to see why. These dolls are completely soft, but are designed so that kids can do things like move their arms and legs around and sit them in a toy stroller. At just 12 inches high, the “wee” baby Stella is designed for babies and younger toddlers. Manhattan also makes a slightly larger regular “Stella” doll that works for older toddlers and preschoolers. These dolls are surface wash only.
I was unfamiliar with this brand when I started researching this post, but I’m happy to share that Adora is based in Califiornia and appears to focus exclusively on making baby dolls. According to their website, they source a lot of their materials in Europe and Japan, and their dolls are 100% machine washable — which is a huge advantage for parents of young toddlers. This one is just 13 inches long, which is a good size for 2-year-olds.
Basket of Babies
Holy crap. How cute is this little basket of babies? In my mind’s eye, I can see a busy little toddler taking these babies in and out of the basket and making sure they’re all happy. (They have their work cut out for them.) The hats are sewn on so you won’t have to worry about losing them, but the little outfits are interchangeable, which could be fun for older toddlers who want to work on matching and fine motor skills. These babies are just 10 inches long and are surface wash only.
Melissa and Doug “Mine to Love” Doll
This is one of the more affordable baby dolls on the list from the popular brand Melissa and Doug. They’ve taken the interesting step of “naming” each visually distinctive type of baby they sell. I ventured over to their website to get more information on their doll selection and there were a lot of comments from grandmas upset because they accidentally got Mariana when they meant to get Jenna (shown) or they thought the Gabrielle doll they ordered would be lighter-skinned — or other fraught complaints about whitewashing. Phew! Anyway if it’s important that your baby doll has an identical skin tone as its recipients, you might want to glance at the reviews before you buy. There are also sets of twin baby dolls available for sale under different names and a baby dressed in blue named Jordan.
In short, all the Melissa and Doug Mine to Love dolls are 12 inches long, can suck their thumbs, take pacifiers, and are considered “poseable.” The reviews aren’t as great as the ones for some of the other dolls listed, but they’re usually considered to be worth it for the price tag.