Most kids have a favourite toy, usually it’s something that they carry around the house, take to bed with them or play with all the time; but the favourite toy usually doesn’t last too long before there is a new favourite toy. Well with my girls their favourite toy is their doll, but not just any doll, a Maplelea doll….think American Girl for Canadians.
So needless to say I didn’t know too much about dolls, not having any sisters, and growing up the closest thing I had to a doll was a GI Joe action figure…well I guess that’s not totally true, I did have a cabbage patch kid when I was nine, but it was the Toronto Blue Jays collectors edition and it sat on a shelf more that it actually was played with. But I have come to realize that when you have three daughters you quickly learn if you want to engage with what is important to them, you have to learn about things you otherwise would have never pictured yourself experiencing.
So these dolls are generally sold from a magazine, you pick out your doll based on different physical features and hobbies and each doll is based on a real child, each one from a different part of Canada. Once you have picked the girl you would like to purchase, you order it, and in two weeks you have a new friend.
The interesting thing with these dolls is that you can purchase any type of clothing or accessories imaginable, from sports outfits to kayaks to horses. Now these accessories are not cheap, but they are good quality and the girls have fun picking them out.
At first I thought that the doll would be a fad, but we are now heading in to the girl’s fourth Christmas since getting their first doll and they are still excited about having them, so much so that I recently took the girls to the seasonal doll store in Toronto to see what was new….needless to say it was a hit!
Looking back at this summer we attended Black Creek Pioneer Village, where the doll company Maplelea hosted an event specifically for girls and their dolls, hundreds of little girls with their dolls at the pioneer village, learning about how dolls were made in the pioneer times, how the pioneers dressed, farmed and generally lived. The girls loved the experience and to be surrounded by so many other little girls and their dolls was quite exciting for them, a little overwhelming for dad, but fun for the girls.
So that’s the kind of things you do when you’re a dad to three girls, even if you don’t know anything about dolls, or their accessories, to connect with your children sometimes you just need to share their interests.