I never thought I’d write any toy reviews, nevermind on something that’s held so much controversy in the parenting world. In fact I’m still a little shameful that I actually let my 6-year-old play with these extortionate bits of plastic, with its miniscule accessories that vanish as soon as they’re bust out their individual environmentally VERY unfriendly excessive plastic wraps.
What is an LOL Doll?
Despite popular belief, LOL doesn’t stand for “laugh out loud,” but “Little Outrageous Littles,” yup I would have never guessed that either. These are miniscule baby dolls that dress like Bratz dolls in many a sense. Each doll comes in a ball known as a “surprise ball” to fit in with the ever popular trend at the minute of opening surprises (you only need to go on YouTube to see how popular surprise toys have become!) There’s usually 5-7 layers of plastic wrap the child has to unravel, each layer much like in the game ‘Pass the Parcel’, has a clue that keeps the child’s interest and excitement to continue unravelling until the doll is ultimately revealed. There are several “series” of LOL dolls, each having something unique such as glittery hair or closing eyes when plunged into water. Each doll, no matter which series also does one of 3 things – cries, wee’s or spits. Those are the standard “tricks” if you will, in some series you’ll also come across the rarer colour changing LOL dolls which need to be placed from warm to ice-cold water to see its outfit and / or hair colour change before your childs eyes.
Why are they controversial?
There’s a few things that put parents off buying these for their young, impressionable girls. Keep in mind these dolls are targeted from I’d say 3-7 year olds. Though I’ve seen teenagers play make-believe with these on YouTube, so I guess it all depends on your child’s personality. It’s not just aimed at little girls either now, LOL have brought out Boy versions after popular demand!
Here are the things that come to mind;
- Their clothing makes these baby dolls look like little strippers
- One of their functions is to “spit” which is an unacceptable behaviour one wouldn’t like to encourage in a young child
- The accessories (clothing, shoes, handbags, sunglasses etc) are VERY tiny and easily lost or worse – easy to choke on if in the hands of a younger child
- They are extortionately priced at £12 PER ball that contains just ONE doll plus some clothing, sometimes 1 handbag/pair of sunnies. LOL Underwraps and other versions of the brand are even more extortionate. Leaving Mummy and Daddy breaking the bank as they’re definitely out of the pocket-money realm!
- With a growing consciousness of plastic waste and the harm it does to the environment, surprise toys are highlighted as one of the biggest contributors to unrecyclable plastic waste amongst packaging at the moment, what with its unnecassary, just for fun layers upon layers of plastic wrap. It is shocking how big the pile of unrecyclable waste you’re left with per surprise ball once you finally get to the doll inside.
Do the dolls have any good points?
I had to dig deep to realise the developmental benefits of these toys to even attempt to even out the scales on the negatives, but here is what I’ve come up with;
- They encourage developement in fine motor skills by using the pretend “zips” and tabs on each layer to reveal the next.
- Are an early introduction to problem solving skills using the clues provided to guess which doll maybe inside.
- They promote freedom of expression through dress sense, make-up and hair styling, instead of conforming to a more neutral/most popular “look.”
- The YouTube videos of others playing with these dolls helps the modern-day child of this age group to grasp the fun of playing make-believe again, rather than being stuck in front of a screen.
What made me buy them for Abbie?
This is a difficult one. I first encountered LOL with a former PA and her little girl. Her 6-year-old daughter wasn’t allowed LOL dolls initially because they “spit,” but just as I eventually did – she caved and let her daughter have 1, which then overtime led to a whole collection. It’s a catch 22 really with toy trends. If you do not let your child be part of the latest toy craze in their age group, you risk them missing out or even being bullied for not having/being allowed them. If you DO go ahead and let them have some, you run the risk of encouraging bad behaviour through what they’re learning through the functions of the toys.
I’ve been lucky so far with Abbie who’s now 6, in that we made a deal when I purchased her first LOL doll. The deal being she was only allowed them if she promised not to copy the dolls functions like spitting, I sat down and explained in an age appropriate way the difference between a toy and people and etiquette around such behaviour. IF she broke this deal, then the dolls would be confiscated and she would not be allowed them anymore. I also explained to her that I couldn’t afford to buy her a surprise ball at £12 per ball every week, if she wanted to collect them all – she too would have to allocate her pocket-money earnings towards a surprise ball, if she wanted more. Of course I’d buy them for her for special occasions however.
which brings me to…
LOL Surprise Dolls being the TOP TOY for 6-year-old girls this Christmas 2018!
You may have seen them already, the GIANT LOL surprise balls in centre light in toy shop windows up and down the country. Ranging from £60-80 per GIANT ball, depending again on what series version as just like the regular sized balls they range by series type. They have become the apple of every 6-year-old girls eye and like many a little girl, this has made the TOP of Abbie’s christmas list to Santa this year. Yet Santa’s helper (Mummy) is VERY reluctant to forfill her wish….heres why;
- They’ve gathered some pretty damning reviews of being a total waste of money.
- You get maybe 3-4 dolls inside and because they’re a “surprise” toy, you cannot check whether the dolls inside might be some your little girl already has!
- The accessories are also very samey, samey with the same problem as above
I just cannot get my head around paying up to £80 for the novelty of a GIANT ball when I could get more of the individual standard series balls for less money and fill her whole stocking up with them if I wanted. It just seems to me like a big fat rip off and I hate to say that and I will feel immensely guilty come Christmas morning and Abbie is disappointed but at the end of the day she could be equally disappointed to go through all the effort of opening a Giant ball to find dolls she already owns inside. There’s no win-win situation here unless you can literally financially afford this thing under your Christmas tree to put an instant smile on your childs face, that could easily deflate once they realise how little is actually inside them.
To conclude I think Santa’s helper definitely has her work cut out for her this year with LOL paving the way to little girls hearts up and down the country.
Is your little girl into LOL? What do YOU think of them and their GIANT counterparts? I’d love to know, comment below …
LOL Surprise BIG Surprise a “waste of money” – one Mum’s rant about the £60 MUST-HAVE toy this Christmas – Manchester Evening News