My children started playing with dolls when they were toddlers. I have priceless videos of them singing their “babies” to sleep, spoon-feeding them pretend food, and racing them in strollers around the playroom. As they grew up, they continued this nurture-based play, holding parties and classes for their dolls and stuffed animals.
My daughter is now eight and she still spends part of each day playing with her dolls. She loves re-styling her dolls based on movies she’s watched and stories she’s read - from Lucy in Narnia to Anne of Green Gables, she gives her dolls a new identity based on what her current interests are.
There is something beautiful in the simplicity of a child playing with dolls. I want my kids to enjoy each stage of their childhood, there is plenty of time to be a teenager and an adult, there’s no rush to grow up. Additionally, I think that playing with dolls is healthy. It helps children process emotions, use their imagination, and learn to see things from different perspectives.
That's why there was SO MUCH excitement in my household recently when we received a package in the mail containing Charlsea, the latest member of the Maplelea Girls:
With the motto “Canadian Dolls for Canadian Girls,” Maplelea Girls are premium quality 18-inch dolls from different regions of Canada. Each Maplelea Girl comes in a keepsake box, wearing a beautifully crafted outfit and carrying a journal sharing details about her life. There are currently 7 Maplelea Girls from 7 regions in Canada as well as 27 Maplelea Friends dolls to choose from, accessories, furniture, and matching clothing for girls and dolls! Charlsea is an 11-year old from Salt Spring Island, BC.
Maplelea Girls was created because Kathryn Morton, the president of Maplelea, was frustrated with the increasing number of diva-style dolls on the market that emphasized body image, dating and glamour. “Childhood is short enough; the last thing I wanted for my daughter was for her to wish it away.” So they created these age-appropriate dolls that encourage creative and outdoor play while promoting knowledge of Canadian heritage and geography.
Charlsea is not just for sitting on a shelf and looking pretty. She is a great doll for energetic play! Maplelea sells outfits and play kits to use with the dolls and Charlsea arrived with a “Ride the Tide” outfit and kayak set.
My daughter took Charlsea “kayaking” on a nearby hill. Well, maybe it was a bit more like sled-riding than kayaking, but it was definitely a lot of fun. And although Charlsea toppled over a couple of times, she held up perfectly throughout her adventure.
The quality of the Maplelea range is amazing. Every little detail is so well thought out – from the easy-to-style hair to the teeny-tiny rainboots. (Which look identical to a pair my daughter owned!) I love the interactive journal that encourages my daughter to read and write for fun. After reading Charlsea’s descriptions, my daughter now wants to visit BC.
My daughter is so happy with Charlsea. Like most best friends, they’ve already discovered some similarities: their birthdays are days apart, they enjoy knitting, and they both have grandparents who live in England.
I wonder what adventures they will have next?
Until recently, Maplelea Girls have only been available online – but if you want to check them out in person, you’re in luck!
They’re opening a seasonal store from August 30th until January 2016 at the Promenade Mall in Vaughan, ON. It will be the largest doll store in Canada, offering a full range of Maplelea products, fun activities, and events.