Can your boy play with dolls?

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Penguin my son is 2 years old. He loves raiding the kitchen, banging vessels, pretend cooking all day, jump on puddles and dance. Few well-meaning neighbors of mine are really worried about how he loves to help me around the house, put on a bindi (sticker), wears pink and carry his dolls around. Politely (no sarcasm intended), I am often advised how my boy acts more like a girl than a boy. And every time, I try to say HE is FINE. No worries.

should a boy play with doll?
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While, we all are screaming gender equality and rise in feminism, talk about breaking that glass ceiling and all. Most of us, tend to focus more on raising brave girls. And I really appreciate that thought. My parents raised me brave, I fight my own battles. Meanwhile, we don’t realize how our boy’s softer side given a total miss by parents. Just like Bollywood and romantic genre books, the good girl falls for brooding men. Men are praised for their macho manly side; how strong they are. Honestly, even I was crushing over that tall-dark-handsome angry-young-man all my teen days. Once after marriage or getting in a relationship, the same brooding man who was charming becomes dull. As a partner, we complain about how he never communicate, never helps in the household or fails to provide emotional comfort. We blame each other, as we get burnt out regularly.

I am raising a boy on this side of the world where a 2-year-old is judged for playing a doll. Here, let me try to address the benefits of playing with doll irrespective of gender.

Foremost, here let me say it loud and clear, Penguin is free to choose any toy. I don’t have to force him to play with dolls. It is a matter of choice and liking that we act on. For years, we have seen and taught that trucks and guns for boys while dolls are for girls. Our perceptions are colored that way. That thinking needs to be changed.

Emotional literacy

Emotional literacy involves recognizing and expressing one’s feelings. Children are learning to understand their emotions. Accepting emotions and responding right to strengthen their emotional intellect. Recognizing signs and talking about it helps the child a long way.

Giving a boy a doll to play brings out the nurturing side in them. The doll can bring out the caring side of boys and show out a reflection of fatherhood. Is that too much to digest? Well, they would eventually play fatherhood in life too. Just like girl show characteristics of maternal instincts, boys do show a paternal side too. The empathetic side of character evolves well with doll play.

toddler boy playing with doll
Penguin loves sharing his bottle of milk with his doll


Most mornings after breakfast Penguin gets busy to feed his dolls. All are lined next to him and he would cook something from his kitchen set and feed them all. At times, they get dressed up and listen to a story with us. I feel happy to watch how Penguin brushes their teeth with a spare one and even take them on rides.

This doll play enhances his imagination power. I can note his growing vocabulary and social skills with toys and dolls.

toddler boy plays with doll
Penguin is taking his doll around for a ride


We just reached the phase where the favorite toy/doll accompany us to grocery shopping, doctor visits, and parks. Though the list keeps changing, I like how my toddler seeks dolls for comfort. Many parents claim how their child sleeps tugging his/her beloved doll sleep during nights. Dolls become companions, comfort givers.

Will each boy respond to dolls equally? No. The intensity of love and care would vary with every child. Remember, how each of us is so different individuals, ditto for our kids.

Now tell me – Should a boy play with dolls? Or let me re-phrase it can a boy play with a doll? What are your thoughts now? Share me your thoughts.

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10 thoughts on “Can your boy play with dolls?”

  1. One day my boy along with his cousin sister was paying pretend parents, and they were taking the doll child for a vaccination. I was so proud when he showed his concern for the child and helped the pretend play mother to take care of the crying child. It felt like parenting done right.

  2. Absolutely agree with you ! I have seen many families where little Boys are teased by family members itself for playing with toys which they believe are intended for girls only and we don’t even realize this action impacts kids a lot making them learn and understand about gender discrimination..BTW even my hubby family would always gift dolls to my girl because Dolls are meant to be played by girls it seems .phew.. The roots are too old you see !

  3. I have never played cricket/football or any “so-called” manly games in my life til date and have always preferred playing with dolls or houses. It not only built me a better person but also taught me how to establish emotional stability. Love this blog post as it helped me commemorate my childhood memories.

  4. I have never played cricket/football or any “so-called” manly games till date and have always preferred playing with dolls or houses. It not only built me a better person but also taught me how to establish emotional stability. Love this blog post as it helped me commemorate my childhood memories.

  5. Agreed, equality starts at the very beginning n when a lil child is judged for his or her taste in toys, we cannot expect any Equality. In an era where sharing is caring, it is important to raise a girl with strong virtues for her to face the world n a boy must be raised with empathy around, probably that can slowly lead our society to the equality we r looking for. Great post.

  6. We had a discussion this morning about getting gift for a birthday invite.. The first thing a toy shop sales person asks is.. boy or a girl.

    I think it is high time we realize that we need to raise equal gender generation and stop discriminating toys of all things

  7. Definitely, a boy can play with dolls. Great article. Don’t worry mumma … you are doing a great job. Keep it up!


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