Best Baby Dolls For 1, 2, 3 Year Olds To Pretend Play With

Most of us can remember playing with some of the best baby dolls for toddlers at some point in our childhood, and we have such fond memories of the wonderful fun we had.

Whether we were taking care of them, feeding them, dressing them or simply hugging them, we’d spend hours with these lovable childhood friends.

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Dolls can also help teach your child about important things, such as affection, compassion and how to take care of someone else.

Our Top Picks

A Word from a Psychologist

Written By: Psychologist Natasha Tanic

  • Baby dolls provide comfort, helping babies self-soothe
  • Pretend play with baby dolls fosters imagination and language development

Baby Dolls: a Perfect Pretend Play Tool

Baby dolls for 1, 2, and 3 year olds to pretend play with are an essential part of your child’s early development.

Baby dolls encourage imaginative play, which is essential for healthy social and emotional development, language, and communication. 

Pretend play with a baby doll helps your child self-soothe, teaches them responsibility and empathy, helps develop fine motor skills (as they dress, feed, and change their baby doll), and much more. 

Editor’s Choice – Our Top Pick Of The Best Baby Doll For A Toddler

Our editor's choice of the best toys for toddlers to play with in order to help parents make a more informed choice
Click Teddy to check the price of our Editor’s Choice toy on

Here’s why the Melissa & Doug Mine to Love Jenna 12″ Soft Body Baby Doll is our top baby doll for a toddler:

  • Outstanding doll for young toddlers to play with and engage with
  • Lots of lovely features that your child will really like
  • Encourages your child to nurture, cuddle, hug, hold and carry
  • Wonderful doll for pretend play, role playing and more
  • Helps build your child’s confidence, social and communication skill through play

Check out our detailed review below if you’d like to know more about the Melissa & Doug Mine to Love Jenna 12″ Soft Body Baby Doll.

Melissa & Doug Mine to Love Jenna 12″ Soft Body Baby Doll

Do you want a beautiful baby doll that your little princess will love at first sight? Then this Melissa & Doug Mine to Love Jenna 12″ Soft Body Baby Doll is just the one for your adorable little girl!

With sweet baby cheeks, a soft cuddly body, this adorable doll comes complete with a cute removable smocked romper outfit and matching hat.

The arms and legs are surface washable.

This soft 12″ baby doll features wipe-clean rotatable arms, adorable legs, and an irresistibly cute face.

Not to mention the bright blue eyes that close when the baby doll is rocked to sleep and then open when the baby doll is picked up.

Little mommies can comfort their crying baby dolls by putting the thumb or pacifier in its mouth.

It’s simply the perfect cuddle mate for your 18+ month old toddler!

Some parents who bought this doll said that although they had initially purchased the baby doll for their little girl, boys loved it just as much.

Ignite your child’s imagination and sense of wonder with this lovable must-have baby doll from Melissa & Doug.

Why We Recommend The Melissa & Doug Mine to Love Jenna 12″ Soft Body Baby Doll

  • Helps children learn how to express themselves
  • Great way to encourage imaginative play
  • Doll play which involves children practicing how to remove and put on clothes helps to enhance your child’s cognitive and fine motor skills
  • Moderately priced and very durable
  • Can help improve your child’s language skills as they talk to their
  • The clothes can be removed and the arms and legs are surface washable
  • By caring for this baby doll, your child’s nurturing skills and sense of responsibility will also improve

First Baby Dolls For Your Toddler To Cuddle

Baby Starters Plush Snuggle Buddy Sugar N Spice Baby Doll

When we snuggle, our bodies release happy hormones and what better way to keep your child happy than with this adorable Baby Starters Plush Snuggle Buddy Sugar N Spice Doll!

Perfect for kids 6 months and older, this baby doll is a wonderful snuggle buddy for your little girl or boy and an ideal first baby doll.

The lovable 12″ Baby Starters doll is super soft and durable. So durable, in fact, that it can withstand rough toddler play and will simply revert right back to its original form.

This doll comes dressed in a lovely pink dress with satin lining, a cute pink polka dot shirt, matching polka dot leggings and black shoes.

Her pigtails are adorned with pretty ribbons and is made out of 100% polyester.

Designed to give your child a feel of the nurturing experience, some parents and grandparents who bought this baby doll for their children love that it’s soft, adorable, durable, and machine washable.

Why We Recommend The Baby Starters Plush Snuggle Buddy Sugar N Spice Doll

  • This baby doll will help your little child develop good social and language skills
  • It’s very durable and affordable
  • 12″ is the ideal size for kids 6 months and older
  • It’s squishy and reverts to its original size when pressed down
  • Machine washable
  • It makes a great snuggle buddy for your child

JC Toys Baby Dolls For Your Toddler To Play With

JC Toys La Baby 11″ Hispanic Soft Body Play Doll

JC Toys has been making realistic looking baby dolls for children for over 30 years. This life-like JC Toys La Baby 11 Inch Hispanic Soft Body Play Doll is a smaller version of their La Baby dolls designed for younger children about a year old.

You can purchase this doll in one of 4 nationalities; Hispanic, African American, Asian and Caucasian.

The dolls have a soft-to-touch vinyl head, hands, and feet and a soft stuffed body. It comes dressed in a sleeper and hat.

This La Baby doll has sculptured hair and open eyes and it’s machine washable.

The doll’s features are highly detailed with a sweet innocent face that is sure to appeal to young toddlers and parents alike.

JC Toys make a couple of other sleepers appropriate for this doll, and you may be able to find other clothes for 11-12 inch baby dolls that will fit this La Baby.

The small size of this doll makes it easier for toddlers to cuddle and carry around, and has become so popular with toddlers, that reviews show this is a highly favored doll in several pre-schools.

If you are looking for a small baby doll for your small toddler, then this LaBaby 11 inch doll may be the perfect choice.

Why We Recommend The JC Toys La Baby 11-Inch Hispanic Doll

  • Beautiful, engaging and fun doll which toddlers love
  • Great size for little children as toddler find this doll easy to hold
  • Parents like that this doll can be machine washed to keep it clean and looking good
  • Well made and sure to hold up for years of love and cuddling
  • As your child talks to his or her baby, they will be developing and practicing language skills
  • Helps develop nurturing skills through your child caring for their doll
  • Perfect size for your child to play parent, tea party host, or care giver for wonderful imaginative and pretend play
  • Ideal for your child to take on trips, to the restaurant, on play dates and more
  • Nice doll for independent play and hours of fun!

JC Toys Berenguer Boutique 15″ Soft Body Baby Doll

Whether you’re looking to improve your child’s nurturing skills or you’re an expectant mom looking for the perfect way to ease your child into big sister or big brother responsibilities, this JC Toys Berenguer Boutique 15″ Soft Body Baby Doll fits the bill!

The 15″ realistic looking soft and cuddly baby doll features an amazingly detailed vinyl head, soft arms, and legs.
Another feature that kids love is the eyes that open and close for baby doll nap time.

This Berenguer Boutique doll comes fully dressed in a 2-piece embroidered outfit, matching hat and a pair of adorable shoes for the cutest little feet. Feeding accessories, a pacifier, a rattle, and a baby bottle are also included.

Although the clothes can’t be removed, the face, hands and feet are surface washable.

A grandmother who bought this baby doll for her 23-month-old grandson (who was going to be a big brother) said it was easier for her grandson to transition into the big brother stage after four months of nurturing this soft cuddly doll.

Perfect for toddlers 2 years old and above, this doll makes a wonderful any occasion gift!

Why We Recommend The JC Toys Berenguer Boutique 15″ Soft Body Baby Doll

  • Comes with accessories that promote empathy, nurturing and self-help skills
  • Your child’s fine motor skills will be sharpened as he or she undresses and dresses this baby doll
  • Wonderful doll to help ease your older child into the big brother or big sister role
  • Perfect for cuddling
  • Ideal size for a toddler to carry around
  • Face, hands and feet are surface washable
  • It’s very affordable, durable and the perfect size for children 2 years and above

JC Toys La Baby Hispanic 16″ Soft Body Blue Play Doll

This JC Toys La Baby Hispanic 16″ Soft Body Blue Play Doll is an affordable, realistic looking baby doll that’s great for helping your daughter or son get ready for a new sibling.

Perfect for children aged 2 years old and above, this soft, cuddly baby doll is designed with a life-like vinyl head, adorably plump cheeks, blue eyes, and soft arms and legs.

Plus it has a cheerful smile that will help brighten everyone’s day.

This doll comes in a variety of skin tones for you to choose from, including Hispanic, African-American, Asian, and Caucasian.

The clothing can be removed and the doll’s body can be spot washed.

Baby dolls can help your child develop their fine motor and cognitive skills but they are also known to do more than that.

One woman bought this doll for her mother who had Alzheimer’s said it helped her mother a lot.

Another mother remarked that her picky 2-year old toddler fell in love instantly with this doll and hasn’t wanted another doll since.

Why We Recommend The JC Toys La Baby Hispanic 16″ Soft Body Blue Play Doll

  • Helps your child develop social and nurturing skills
  • Affordable, durable and the ideal size for kids 2 years and up
  • Great doll to help your older child get used to having a younger brother and sister
  • Removable clothing
  • Doll’s body is surface washable
  • This baby doll can help develop empathy and self-help skills in children

JC Toys ‘Lots to Cuddle Babies’ Asian 20″ Soft Body Baby Doll & Accessories

What toddler doesn’t want a life size baby of their own? This JC Toys ‘Lots to Cuddle Babies’ Asian 20 Inch Soft Body Baby Doll & Accessories is not only life size, but comes in a variety of different nationalities including Hispanic, African American, Asian, and Caucasian.

This doll comes with a life like face, hands, and feet and a cloth body that is extremely soft and cuddly.

It also comes with a one piece sleeper, a hat, a cupcake bib, pacifier and bottle. The eyes are fixed and opened.

This doll has amazing realistic looking eyes, although the eyes don’t close.

Newborn clothes fit this doll extremely well, though you do need to choose long gowns, or shirts and pants with long sleeves, since the cloth part of the body comes down to just below the elbows and the knees.

The dolls are not gender specific, so your child can pretend that their new doll is either a girl or a boy.

Since this doll is the length of a real baby, your child can have a great time taking it for walks in a stroller or sitting it in a high chair.

They can even place one of the dolls thumbs in its mouth, so it can suck its thumb just like real babies do!

This ‘Lots to Cuddle Babies’ 20-inch Doll is the perfect doll for parents who are looking for a life size baby doll for their toddler.

Why We Recommend The JC Toys ‘Lots to Cuddle Babies’ Asian 20 Inch Soft Body Baby Doll & Accessories

  • Realistic in size allowing your child to pretend that this doll is a real baby to cuddle and care for
  • Nicely detailed as the face, hands and feet are made of soft vinyl, giving it a real skin look and feel, and the face is loaded with details
  • Helps your child develop nurturing skills which they will need later in life
  • Encourages your child to engage in imaginative play pretending to be a parent, day care provider, or even a babysitter
  • Durable as it’s well made and with proper care, should last for years of imaginative and fun play
  • Doll is easy to cuddle, providing comfort for toddlers
  • Great baby doll for independent play or group play with your child’s toddler friends
  • Nice travel toy to keep your child entertained, comforted and engaged on long journeys

JC Toys ‘Lots to Cuddle Babies’ Baby Doll Twins

Soft, adorable and cuddly, the JC Toys ‘Lots to Cuddle Babies’ Baby Doll Twins are just the perfect cuddle partners for both little girls and boys over two years of age.

Arguably the best baby companion, cuddle baby dolls are perfect for special times of the day such as bedtime, story time or even nap time.

These soft twin baby dolls for toddlers are designed with vinyl hands, head, and feet, and make a great birthday or Christmas gift for that special daughter, son, niece, nephew, cousin, sibling or grandchild.

Lots to Cuddle Babies are 13 inches tall and are designed with adorable outfits and facial expressions.

Fully dressed in cute pink or blue machine-washable owl-themed outfits, complete with matching hats, these beautiful twin dolls have perhaps the most adorable blue and brown eyes you would ever see on a doll.

These cuddle baby dolls not only make playtime realistic for pretend-mothers, they also encourage nurturing, holding, special care and social skill development in children from two years and above.

Why We Recommend The JC Toys ‘Lots to Cuddle Babies’ Baby Doll Twins

  • Your kids are guaranteed to love these adorable twin baby dolls
  • They come fully dressed in machine washable clothes
  • Very easy to clean; simply spot wash the baby doll with a mild soap and warm water
  • A set of these cuddle baby dolls contains the dolls, pacifier, pretend bottle and onesie. All designed to make your little ones mother-child experience even better
  • These realistic baby dolls are the perfect play buddy and gift for toddlers age 2 and older
  • They also help to develop your child’s social skills as your little girl (or boy) is sure to love minding, cuddling, hugging and nurturing her (or his) twin baby dolls
  • Encourage your toddler to engage in pretend play, role playing and imaginative play

JC Toys LA Newborn Baby Doll 10 Piece Deluxe Diaper Bag Gift Set

If you’re looking for the perfect baby doll to make bath time with your adorable little princess a lot more fun, then look no further than the JC Toys LA Newborn 10 Piece Deluxe Diaper Bag Gift Set.

Perfect for toddlers ages 2 years and above, this realistic baby doll is soft, smooth to touch, water friendly and durable.

The 10 piece gift set comes with a diaper changing bag that you can fold into a mat, 2 diapers with a matching cap to help your child play dress up, as well as pretend baby feeding tools like a wipe bottle, sippy cup, a spork (spoon and fork together in one) and a plate.

For an even more realistic feel, this newborn baby doll set also packs a rattle, hospital bracelet and a birth certificate.

Made from non-scented washable vinyl, it is designed with a soft tender face, bright happy eyes, movable arms, and legs with toes so cute even older kids can’t resist them.

All the pieces are designed to give your little one a taste of the nurturing experience and this set offers the absolute fun factor that makes bath time worth looking forward to!

Why We Recommend The JC Toys LA Newborn 10 Piece Deluxe Diaper Bag Gift Set

  • This doll looks and feels very realistic and kids love playing with it!
  • Each La Newborn doll is carefully hand-sculpted to high-quality by doll design specialist, so durability is guaranteed
  • Great way to help develop your child’s social skills as your little girl will certainly love taking care of, cuddling, and hugging this baby doll
  • Helps your little princess develop self-help skills as dressing and undressing the doll is a good way for your child to figure out how her own clothes work
  • This doll has rotatable arms and legs to help your little girl add or remove her baby doll’s clothing
  • Surface washable
  • Helps build your child’s fine motor skills as she uses all the pieces of this gift set

African American Baby Dolls For Toddlers To Hug

Baby Alive Magical Mixer Baby Doll

This beautifully made African American Baby Alive Magical Mixer Baby Doll will make a great gift for any young child on your shopping list!

This gorgeous 12 inch doll has a light chocolate complexion, natural black curly hair, green eyes, and pretty painted on eyelashes.

She comes dressed in an adorable little removable floral blue dress with lavender accents.

She also comes with several accessories including a working blender, 2 berry mix packets of food, feeding spoons, a sippy cup, 2 diapers, and a comb.

This fun baby doll has movable arms and legs, and pees and poops after your child feeds her and gives her a drink of water.

Kids really enjoy being able to change her diaper.

However, since the diapers and food are not reusable, you might want to stock up on some extras for your child to use.

Most parents recommend that you buy preemie diapers rather than the Baby Alive diapers since the preemie diapers are cheaper.

You can also go here to stock up on Baby Alive powdered food mixes. And you can also buy other outfits for this doll (sold separately).

Why We Recommend Baby Alive Magical Mixer Baby Doll

  • Young children love that this baby doll eats, drinks and go to the bathroom
  • Talking and playing with this cute little doll helps your child increase their verbal and social skills
  • Children learn nurturing and responsibility from caring for their baby doll
  • Caring for this doll helps young children improve their fine motor skills, dexterity, and hand-eye coordination
  • Playing with dolls encourages children to use their imagination and creativity
  • Dolls can provide wonderful companionship for young children
  • Dolls help your child better understand their emotions, since your child the child can act out different emotions with their baby doll

Baby Alive Happy Hungry Baby

If you’re looking for an interactive African American doll for your child, this Baby Alive Happy Hungry Baby is worth checking out.

This beautiful baby doll has lovely chocolate brown skin, curly black hair, and golden brown eyes.
She comes dressed in a cute removable pink and purple dress.

Accessories that accompany this doll include a bib, a sippy cup, a dish, 2 packages of food, a comb, and 2 spare diapers.

Kids love that when they go to feed their Happy Hungry Baby using the special food and spoon, this adorable baby doll will open her mouth.

She also drinks water from the sippy cup, and shortly after she eats, she’ll tell your child that she needs to be changed.

This charming baby doll also pees, poops, babbles, giggles, and talks.

Toddlers love caring for their very own “baby.” They enjoy feeding the baby, changing their baby’s diaper, changing their clothes, and rocking them.

However, it should be noted that since this doll needs 4 AA batteries (included), she can’t be put into water or bathed.

Ideal for kids 3 and up, you might want to purchase extra food and diapers for your child’s doll like the set found here.

There are also additional outfits available for Baby Alive dolls.

Why We Recommend Baby Alive Happy Hungry Baby

  • Kids love playing with this interactive baby doll!
  • Feeding and changing this doll will help your child improve their dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills
  • Caring for a doll as though it was a real baby helps children develop their nurturing skills
  • Dolls not only help children engage in imaginative play, they also help kids make sense of the world around them
  • Interacting with the doll and talking to it will help your child improve their verbal skills and communication
  • Caring for their doll’s needs helps teach children responsibility
  • Dolls are a wonderful way to help your child’s social development
  • Dolls can provide kids with a way to self-comfort when they are feeling sad or anxious

Baby Alive Step ‘N Giggle

This beautiful Baby Alive Step ‘N Giggle doll is about 14 inches tall.

She has lovely coffee colored skin, black curly hair done in two pigtails, large beautiful brown eyes, and cool pink glasses.

She comes in a cute little floral and stripped removable onesie and kids love that her shoes light up when baby’s feet are tapped on a hard surface.

Her accessories include a diaper, a bottle, and a comb.

The Baby Alive Step ‘N Giggle doll can be set English or Spanish mode and you can change the language by pressing on her tummy for 5 seconds.

She can say over 25 fun phrases and sounds, as well as giggle and yawn. And there’s a switch on her back that allows you to put her into ‘mommy’ or ‘daddy’ mode.

This baby doll drinks water from the included bottle and after drinking the baby pees and tells your child when she needs her diaper changed.

Since the diapers aren’t reusable, you might want to purchase additional Baby Alive diapers so that your child has extra ones on hand.

Having said that, a lot of parents recommend that you buy regular preemie diapers because they are less expensive.

Why We Recommend Baby Alive Step ‘N Giggle

  • Kids love that this cute little doll has so many words, phrases, and sounds!
  • Kids really enjoy that her shoes light up when she walks
  • This doll can help your child develop their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and dexterity
  • By caring for their own “baby,” children learn nurturing skills
  • Caring for a doll help teach your little one about responsibility
  • Dolls encourage children to engage in imaginative play
  • Children learn verbal and social skills through talking to and caring for their baby doll
  • Playing with this doll allows your child to act out various scenarios, which can help them sense of their world


Interactive Baby Doll for Your Toddler

Baby Alive Real As Can Be Baby

If you’re looking for one of the best baby dolls that cries, then you just have to take a peek at this gorgeous Baby Alive Real As Can Be Baby who’s cute as a button!

This baby alive doll will make your child feel like they are tending a real infant.

The baby is beautiful with light brown skin, dark hair and big golden brown eyes.

She has a soft body and relatively soft plastic head, arms, and legs making her fun to cuddle and easier to dress.

She comes with a removable outfit, hat, bib, blanket, pacifier, and bottle with disappearing milk.

This Baby Alive has more than 80 expressions and sounds.

She will turn her head when your child calls her, and cry when she is unhappy.

She also giggles, babbles and makes sucking and feeding sounds when your toddler gives her the pacifier or bottle.

She does need 4 AA batteries in order to perform all of her movements, and the batteries come with the doll.

When your child rocks the baby, she will close her eyes and drift off to sleep.

If your child wants extra accessories for this Baby Alive doll, there is clothing made specifically for her.

Alternatively, you can purchase outfits for most 14 to 16 inch dolls.

Most children at least want diapers to change when they get this doll and there are diapers available for this doll.

However, many parents recommend you purchase preemie diapers since they are cheaper.

This baby does not pee or poop, but she does cry, and she’s perfect for kids 2 and up.

Why We Recommend The Baby Alive Real As Can Be Doll

  • This doll offers your child plenty of fun as they engage in imaginative play
  • She has over 80 expressions and sounds, including crying, giggling, and babbling
  • She will also make sucking and feeding sounds when your child feeds her
  • The expressions this baby makes are very life like
  • Children learn nurturing skills through feeding, dressing, rocking, and comforting their baby doll
  • Helps children develop language and social skills
  • Grows with your child, giving them the pleasure of having a “best friend” for 2 or 3 years
  • Encourages your child to role play, pretend play and create their own stories and adventures
  • Helps improve your child’s fine motor skills
  • Great doll for helping your child express her emotions and feelings

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