Nurturing doll brand BABY born teamed up with educational resource provider iChild to bring BABY born into nurseries and schools across the UK this autumn, to celebrate the brand’s 30th birthday.
This marks the third partnership between iChild and BABY born, known for its range of dolls and accessories that harness children’s imagination through creative play.
A total of 500 nurseries, preschools, reception classes and special educational needs (SEN) departments were sent a BABY born Magic Doll, a birthday banner and an activity pack, created in partnership with iChild – and 100% of early years providers agreed that BABY born supports imaginative play, while 99% said they would recommend a Magic Doll to other teaching and childcare professionals, and 98% would recommend the Magic Doll to parents to extend roleplay at home. Children spent 75 minutes a day playing with the Magic Doll on average.
A further 1,300 childcare providers opted to view and download the resource pack, meaning over 20,000 children helped BABY born to celebrate its milestone.The pack focuses on planning and preparing for a party, getting dressed for a party, party games, party friendships, and saying thank you. Each activity is designed to help children develop key skills through play. Early years specialists used the doll and pack to discuss a range of topics with children in their care, including birthdays, growing up, celebrations in different cultures, as well as daily routines, care skills, empathy, and the arrival of new siblings.
One respondent said: “Some of the children have never been to a birthday party after the last couple of years we have had. They loved being at a birthday party and celebrating BABY born.”
Another added: “We recently had a child who has welcomed a baby brother. We used the BABY born to help prepare him for his new sibling. We talked to all the children about how babies need extra support, and how we must teach them how to play kindly, gain independence and talk. We also set up a lovely hygiene and water play activity where we gave our babies a nice bubble bath. The children enjoyed cleaning the babies and naming their body parts. They also shared their experiences of bath time at home and their favourite toys to play with in the bath.”
Some respondents commented on how the doll supported their learning topics, with one saying: “This closely matched in with our topic this term of ‘Marvellous Me’. We had a week of looking at birthdays and how they are celebrated. The BABY born resources encouraged the children’s imaginative play, developed their language and provided opportunities for them to add narratives into their play.”
It was also noted that BABY born is especially useful for encouraging imaginative play. 100% of respondents believed this to be the case, as one explained: “So many scenarios were acted out, from ironing her clothes, to bathing her and making her feel better when she was sick. A marvellous resource.”
Many respondents noted how the doll play was enjoyed by both boys and girls. One commented: “We have seven boys and one girl in the class, and they all enjoyed taking care of the baby.” Another added: “We have been delighted that the boys have had just as much enjoyment from playing with the Magic Doll as the girls.”
Meanwhile, almost 90% of adults caring for children with SEN said that they believe BABY born to be a useful or very useful means to support their education. From developing fine motor skills, to boosting language and communication skills, developing empathy, and helping children to calm down, the doll was found to be beneficial in a wide range of different ways.
“It certainly helped a little boy in my class who doesn’t speak and does not engage with other children,” said one respondent. “I think it could help a lot of non-verbal children communicate through actions. I also think the doll could help children who have emotional difficulties or struggle to express themselves.” Another said: “We have a child who has no speech, but it was quite magical to watch him rock the baby and put it to bed.”
And an additional comment described the doll as an inclusive resource, helping a child with SEN to communicate with his peers: “This little boy has very little communication skills and is on the ASD spectrum but was able to communicate through the baby. It was a fantastic observation… to see the communication between him and another little boy was brilliant. He had not engaged physically or verbally with another child up until then.”
Following these glowing results, BABY born Magic Doll has been awarded iChild Recommends status for the next 12 months. The full range of activities from the BABY born Activity Pack is hosted on www.ichild.co.uk and available for all members, including educators and parents, to download and use at home and in the class room.