Dolls for girls and boys can go beyond mere recreation and be educational and inspiring as well. My Pal and My Sibling Dolls make dolls that are not just cute looking but also a great way for kids to learn about autism, Down’s Syndrome, going green, anti-bullying and peaceful living and lots more. Did you know that you can help your child get ready for back-to-school with a My Pal Doll for School?!
Here is an interview with My Pal and My Sibling Dolls’ founder Loretta D. Boronat, a mother of four, teacher, special needs education and most of all, a mom with a desire to make meaningful play possible for kids around the world.
1. Hi Loretta, we’d love to know about the thought and idea behind the My Pal and My Sibling doll series?
I had been an advocate for people with autism and other developmental disabilities for many years, and had come to realize that in order to effect change in the way my “audience” perceived the issues surrounding life with children who had disabilities, I would have to start educating them at a much younger age. This inspired me to begin to address younger people with my message of concern and the need for action for individuals with disabilities.
To further my message of the need for services for teens and adults with disabilities I developed the My Sibling/My Pal Work Experience program. In this program, teens and adults are given the opportunity to dress and accessorize the dolls, as well as assemble some of our other products.
My Pal dolls were created to reach a broader audience, with themes that are interesting to everyone, some of them being just for fun, and some of them addressing important issues that I think children should learn about. I am trying to teach children, through the booklets that come with these dolls, to have a broader world view and to show concern for others.
2. Do you think toys and dolls for girls and boys have an important educational role, beyond being merely recreational?
Absolutely, and this is why I decided to tell my stories from the perspective of a 7 year old brother or sister. I was hoping that children would be able to “educate” their peers by sharing the stories that come with My Sibling dolls.
The booklets that come with the My Pal dolls all have factual information about the particular themes, which will help children to learn more about some of the issues that are important in their lives: caring for the environment (My Pal for Going Green), caring for others (My Pal for Autism Awareness), caring about those who serve our country (My Pal the Patriot), being a peacemaker/participating in anti-bullying programs (My Pal for Peace).
3. How does pretend play or playing with dolls impact a child’s life?
I think playing with dolls helps children to learn, through play, about caring for others. This activity gives them the opportunity to practice being kind, gentle, nurturing and caring. Simply handling the doll on a daily basis provides an opportunity to use their hands in a loving and demonstrative way. I think that this experience is more important than ever before, because our world is so technologically driven and can be very cold, with little opportunity to “exercise” that part of our development. Even if a child does not have any younger siblings, they can learn to care for their dolls which don’t replace a human being, but can represent those attributes.
4. Please share some ideas and tips on making playtime more meaningful and special for kids?
I think toys for kids should be fun, because that’s what they are there for – to entertain children. However, I think it’s very important for playtime to be wholesome and have valuable lessons built in. Children learn from pretending, and practicing playing certain roles.
My Pal and My Sibling dolls for boys and girls come with booklets, as I mentioned earlier. There are many “lessons” within the stories in the My Sibling booklets about sibling and family issues, and how to possibly resolve them. In the My Pal booklets, which are about broader topics, there are pages provided on which children can write their own stories. The My Pal booklets, therefore, give meaningful information as well as a space for children to put their thoughts and feelings about certain topics into words.
Thank you Loretta!
Don’t My Pal and My Sibling dolls sound just wonderful?!
Here’s your chance to win a My Pal Doll for Going Green from My Pal and My Sibling Dolls.
Tell us how you make playtime more meaningful for your children.
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Giveaway is US-only and is open till 04/20.
This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Jennie B. Moye. Stay tuned for an email from me soon!