Friday, April 25, 2014

Pinch Me! These Princesses are Perfect!

One of the benefits of having my own child is discovering all the new toys out there and getting to use them first hand.  I happen to have a kid who is obsessed with princesses.  I have learned from personal experience that even if you don't push the princess thing on your little girl, it still happens somehow.  Not that I am complaining.  I love playing with Quinn and all her princesses and watching her girly girl personality grow bigger with each passing day.

A few months ago, Quinn and I were hanging out with good friends and she discovered Caraline's princess dolls.  Princess dolls that we somehow didn't have or know anything about.  Somehow we have gone through her short life without having knowing anything about the MagiClip dolls by Mattel.  They are indeed magical.  Especially if you are a 4 year old girl (or the mother of a 4 year old girl and an occupational therapist).  Fast forward a couple of weeks and Quinn gets these magical dolls for her birthday and they may or may not have been her favorite toy.  And she may or may not have played with them for hours.  The truth is is that the more I played with them with her, the more I realized just how awesome these simple toys are.  The best part is that there are so many occupational therapy goals that can be worked on when playing with the MagiClip Dolls.  I am now using them during my sessions with many of my kids as are the physical therapists I work with!  I like to place the kids on a large therapy ball and work on core strengthening by having them lie back and reach for one doll and a dress.  It's a great way to get some of the kids who avoid the more physical work to be motivated to participate in the task.

The MagiClip Dolls are so simple yet so much fun.  They are a huge hit with any princess lover of any age.  My older nieces love these dolls as much as Quinn does!  Each doll has a dress (or two depending on which set you get) that is removed and put back on by pinching the bottom of the dress.  It is kind of like a clothes pin in the way it opens/closes.  The doll slips out and can easily be switched into one of the other princesses dresses.  Take a look at the pictures to the sides to see how they work.

There are several occupational therapy goals that can be worked on when playing with the MagiClip Dolls.  Here are just a few:
Improve Bilateral Coordination Skills-these highly motivating toys are great for working on improving bilateral coordination skills.  In order for these to work, a child is required to use two hands.  They must hold the doll with one hand and pinch the bottom of the dresses with their other in order to remove the dresses and then to put them on again.
Improve Hand Strength/Grasping Skills-these dolls are great for working on improving both hand strength and grasping skills.  I make sure that my kids use their "pinchers" when opening the dresses to pull the dolls out.  Many of my kids try and use their whole hold to open them, but if necessary, I will do hand over hand modeling to get them to use three fingers only. For the typically developing child, the opening/pinching of the dresses isn't too difficult but for those children who low muscle tone or decreased strength in their hands, it can be a challenge and can really work on improving their grasp strength.  
Improve Organizational/Attentional/Problem Solving Skills-I love that a child really has to focus and maintain their attention on the dolls when they are putting the dresses on the doll.  There is a definite front and back and the doll won't slip into the dress if it is on backwards.  For some of the dolls like Rapunzel or Aurora, a child has to have patience and pay attention that the dress goes under their long hair.  Some of the kids I work with get very frustrated with this and need encouragement to focus and keep at it until it is on all the way.  Once I get them to slow down and focus, they are able to problem solve to figure out the best way to get the dress on the doll.
Improve Visual Perceptual/Matching Skills-at home, my daughter can play with these dolls and dresses for hours and hours.  She loves putting different dresses on the dolls and then setting them for a ball or a party.  For my kids at work, I like to let them play around but also try and make these as therapeutic as possible.  For the starter set (7 princesses each with their own dress), each princess has shoes/undergarments (I call it a bathing suit) that matches the color of the dress that they are supposed to wear.  I work on improving matching skills and color recognition by encouraging the children to find the right doll to go with the right dress.  This sounds easy but can be complicated for some children.

I don't have many complaints about the MagiClip Dolls.  My only major complaint is that there just isn't enough of a variety of them and that they are getting harder and harder to find these days!  I love me some princesses but would love to see some of the other characters be represented with this toy.  How about some characters for my "I am a boy and don't play with princesses" kids on my caseload????  I would love to see some of the other Disney characters represented as well.  One of the other things I really like about these dolls, especially compared to other princess doll sets, is that the sets just come with a doll and dress.  There aren't a million little accessories to go along with them and potentially lose.

Every once in a while, I have been able to find these magical dolls at some of my local toy stores but they are hard to find. I have been able to buy big sets here on and seen some of the individual sets during my Target runs.  Keep your eyes open at your local toy stores to see if you can find them there.  It's no secret that whenever I can, I like to support my local small businesses.  Recently, I have been able to buy some of the dolls at Little Things Toy Store in Park Slope and at Toy and Stationary World on 72nd (between Broadway and Columbus) on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Are there any toys like this that any of you have used with your kids at home or at work that you can share with me and my readers?  I would love to hear from you and am just a click away!

Have a Happy Friday you princess loving people!

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