26 answers

Are Barbie Dolls Appropriate for 3 Year Olds?

Hi Moms,
My 3 year old daughter received a few Barbie dolls from a relative for Christmas (which she doesn't seem too interested in). I'm pretty careful about buying her age-appropriate toys, and although the manufacturer's recommendation is for ages 3 and above, I'm not so sure I feel it's appropriate for my preschooler to be playing with a doll who has big breasts and a boyfriend! I was thinking about just putting them away for future use. What do you think? Am I making too much of this? My husband says to just let her have the dolls!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks so much to all of you Moms who answered my question! I had to laugh when I read the response which mentioned the preschool teacher Barbie in the minidress, because that was one of the Barbies that my daughter received! I've never seen a preschool teacher dress like that! Anyway, it was my intention to put the dolls away for a few years, but my daughter remembered that she got them for Christmas, kept talking about them, and eventually found them. (I guess my hiding place was not a very good one!) I let her play with them, hoping that she would become bored with them quickly.....and that's exactly what happened. Thankfully, she's back to playing with Thomas and Friends, VReader and her other toys.

Featured Answers

I have a 3 year old daughter as well. She, too, got lots of Barbie goodies for Christmas. She loves them. I don't see anything wrong with her playing with them.

5 moms found this helpful

I agree with the hubby. My daughter is 3 and loves to play with her barbies and barbie house. She has never had issues with the boobies or asking about the privates or anything.

3 moms found this helpful

Well I don't believe Barbie is appropriate for any child so probably not a 3 year old. There are lots of age appropriate dolls (look at the Waldorf dolls) for both boys and girls. There are many with much more realistic body shapes for when she is a little older. And yes, there is plenty of research that shows girls as young as 4-6 have developed clear ideas about the 'ideal' female body. We don't need to help them along with Barbies.

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I have a 3 year old daughter as well. She, too, got lots of Barbie goodies for Christmas. She loves them. I don't see anything wrong with her playing with them.

5 moms found this helpful

I agree with the hubby. My daughter is 3 and loves to play with her barbies and barbie house. She has never had issues with the boobies or asking about the privates or anything.

3 moms found this helpful

I would let her have it.

3 moms found this helpful

My daughters are 5 and 3 and although almost all the Barbie's belong to my 5 year old, my 3 year old plays with them as well. My daughter owns 2 ken dolls but has nothing to do with them. Only likes the girls.
And although, I don't see a 3 year old really playing with Barbie on her own, I don't think there is anything wrong with it. Obviously its your decision so if you don't feel right about it, then put them away. All I can say is it brings me great joy when my girls get the Barbies out and play together. Its also fun overhearing the great stories that come from their imaginations.

For example: My 5 year old is in ballet. It just so happens her uncle got her a ballet barbie with a toddler ballet barbie. (It was the series I can be a ballet teacher barbie) She was playing the other day and the ballet teacher brought the student home. The ballet teacher told the mom (another barbie) that she learned some new steps today and why didn't she show them to her mom. So the little girl did the new steps and mom said how good and proud she was. - Anyway point to this is, every day my daughter comes home from dance I ask her if she learned any new moves and or to show me what she practiced today. Its cute that my daughter 'plays' that scenario out with her dolls.

2 moms found this helpful

I have a 3 year old as well. I have decided to not get them for her or allow her to have them til she's older. One reason is that I don't want to spend the whole day dressing and undressing them. Also, the hair will get all tangled and messy, and she's too young to comb it...these are some of the reasons that I believe they are designed for older girls.

I was looking at Barbies for a girl we sponsored from church, also 3 yrs, who requested one. All of the dolls were dressed in trendy, short skirts, etc. Even "day care worker" Barbie! What day care worker wears a mini skirt?!

I agree that the larger princess dolls are a little better. And, I feel that there are so many other styles of dolls that are geared for younger girls...

Years ago, kids played with Barbie at much older ages...6-10. I think they are made for girls this age...They only say 3 and up because that means that they may have small pieces which means they are recommended for kids who are AT LEAST 3. The toy companies don't care whether the toys are appropriate for your child...they just want to get you to buy them and cover their butts for liability purposes!

2 moms found this helpful

Well I don't believe Barbie is appropriate for any child so probably not a 3 year old. There are lots of age appropriate dolls (look at the Waldorf dolls) for both boys and girls. There are many with much more realistic body shapes for when she is a little older. And yes, there is plenty of research that shows girls as young as 4-6 have developed clear ideas about the 'ideal' female body. We don't need to help them along with Barbies.

2 moms found this helpful

I think your making too much of a big deal I looked past that & see my girls playing with them also looking past the boobies they are a great doll toy not to big or heavy if it gets lost easy to replace however the small shoes I do recommend either super glue them on or take them off & stash away for future use.My hubby made our girls a huge doll house that I stocked up with Barbie furniture it was a highlight of Christmas morning & they still are interested in,now for Ken he can wait to be added.I never was into Barbies as a child but I will buy them for my girls have beed since they were a year old they don't chew on the hair the small pieces are off & there is nothing wrong with them carrying them around playing right along with them in their daily activites.Glad I have a husband who is encouraging :)

2 moms found this helpful

I agree with you!! The Disney Princess Barbie style dolls are a great alternative--they look much less sexy and more sweet. I especially like the new Rapunzel doll--very innocent looking. However, I think that 18" dolls are better suited to five and up. I would return them, either way. Plus, it's post-Christmas and the sales are great!

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