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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dover Little Activity Books of Sticker Paper Dolls

Dover Little Activity Books of Sticker Paper Dolls

Paper Dolls need no introduction. Many traditional ones have a paper cut-out doll in bare minimum undergarments, along with various options for dressing this paper doll from head to toe - shoes, headgear, clothes, even accessories.

Around 2 and 3 years, Ana liked the Melissa & Doug™ wooden magnetic dress-up dolls - she named them Globs and Woosh - and could spend a couple of hours by herself, dressing them up and pretending that one is a doctor and the other hurt her leg, or that one is going out for running while the other is getting ready for a birthday party...

Melissa and Doug Wooden Magnetic Dress Up Doll

Very much like the wooden magnetic dolls, there are other simple magnetic doll kits that offer play scenes, sometimes in portable self-contained packages. A couple of these portable magnetic scenes came in very handy last year during the nearly 24hr long flight to India, along with Polly Pocket. Plus, there are lots of magnetic pictures sold separately which can be used with existing play scene/board.

fairy magnetic play scenes

At that age, paper dolls seemed a bit cumbersome, but somehow, when Nana got her Paper Doll Fairies, she took to it right away. It's a sticker paper doll, which is easier to handle, but the adhesive barely lasts as long as the interest lasts.

Lily Paper Doll Fairy Sticker Dress Up Play

Around four years, Ana started showing more interest in paper dolls, with cut-out paper form having notches to hold the tabs for clothing, shoes, head gear etc. Having played with it, I know it can get a bit frustrating to insert the tabs correctly to hang the parts correctly and play dress-up dolls.

For some reason, Ana has taken to this activity, especially after she received this book filled with beautiful clothes and accessories and four cut-out dolls - two fairies, two princesses.

dress up paper doll fairies and princesses book

I get invited to play with these paper dolls once in a while, but, her irritated refrains of, "No,Amma, She does not want to wear that, she likes this pretty dress!" lead to "You are doing it all wrong, please go away Amma" and that is how these play sessions end as she has very specific ideas about coordinating outfits and accessories that clash with mine :)

Till she turned five, the slant has been towards fairies, with some princesses, ballerinas, and mermaids thrown in. But, to take it a step further, I stocked up on small Sticker Paper Doll books by Dover Publications which helps with the Travel The World theme we are focusing on this summer - mostly just a basic and casual introduction to the various countries, common foods enjoyed there, language spoken there, climate, flora and fauna, as well as traditional clothing.

paper dolls with tabs not stickers

And that's where these Dover Little Activity Books of Sticker Paper Dolls come in handy:

We meet Mei-Mei from China who shows what they usually wear to the Peking Opera, or on New Year's, even a Mongolian dress.
We meet Selena from Mexico who shows us China Poblana (Chinese Pueblan) and Mayan traditional outfits and so on.
We meet Arianna from Greece who shows us beautiful costumes from Crete, Corfu, Epirus and Florina, even Amalia, a traditional costume.

Similarly Sayoko from Japan (not sticker), Maya from Africa (not sticker), Nicole from France, Helen from Scotland, Camina from Brazil, Ping from Vietnam, Anastasia from Russia, Patty from Ireland, Maya from India and many more introduce us to the various traditional and some modern outfits from their country.

Dover Little Activity Books of Sticker Paper Dolls

Some might dismiss it as clichéd and perpetuating stereotypes, but, that is what makes it stand out in the young mind about different customs, clothing, and food that people around the world call their own.

For fanciful little girls who like playing with dolls, these sticker paper dolls not only entertain, but teach at some subliminal level the clothing customs around the world.

It gives me an opportunity to learn new things as I try to introduce them to Ana. For instance, having no idea what Opera is or what Peking is, Ana wondered what that gorgeous Peking Opera Outfit that Mei-Mei gets to wear. Which opened up a door for me to add some information.

Similarly, after we had been reading some children's books with African theme (need to post these books soon), especially The Spider Weaver which talks about the Kente cloth, and Pretty Salma (an African Red Riding Hood Tale), to play with the little African Girl Paper Doll must've sealed the new information at some level.

Over a few thousand years, clothing has evolved with us - climate and local resources might dictate the type of fabric and style widely used, plus, available tools and techniques makes manufacturing some clothing easier than others. In this context, we looked through Clothes in Many Cultures by Heather Adamson which has pictures and simple notes that can supplement the Sticker Paper Doll play.

For now, it is nice that each little paper doll has a name which helps associating them with their country, and as Ana reads the names of the outfit she is currently sticking on the doll in hand, at some level, I think it might leave a lasting impression.

If not, no matter. She enjoys playing with them... for a couple of hours on some afternoons. And if that play time happens to coincide with Oggie's power-nap, I get the much-needed Alone Time.

And, she has expressed interest in making her own paper dolls - simple cut out in card stock paper, with dress she creates and colors in. I might need to help make them one of these days.

And, it lets me dream about sewing some new clothes for Ana based on these paper doll outfits.

p.s: the stickers in these sticker paper dolls don't last forever, but, using a piece of masking tape rolled onto itself to form a double-sided tape works for us after the adhesive power of the original has gone. Scotch tape might be OK instead of masking tape, but, I prefer masking tape - it seems easier to peel off than scotch tape as the sticker paper is quite thin and flimsy.

p.p.s: the tab cut-out paper dolls in Dover Little Activity Paper Dolls are a pain to get ready for playing - Xacto knife and plenty of patience by the adult is required. I prefer the Sticker Paper Dolls.

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At 10:32 AM, Blogger Dee said...

Your blog makes it so easy for me to know what I can do for my girl without having to do much homework ;)

At 11:28 AM, Blogger Sheela said...

Dee, I can't wait for baby D to get bigger so I can hear about all the things she likes to do... maybe she'll like Thomas and Back hoe and such her brother likes... little girls are so much fun!

At this age, Oggie clearly ignores Ana's dollies even though he has access to them... his eyes just glaze over the fairy puzzles and magnets... and, except for the tear-crumple-stick decoupage style projects where he can rip and glue and get messy, he has little interest in art projects, although he loves to draw and color...

I am usually scrambling to be one step ahead to offer activities he enjoys... so far we are doing OK. Just never got around to posting much about them here...


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