Here at Giddy Goat Toys, we’re always on the look out for fantastic new toys for our Manchester shop. Toys that we think our customers will like and which might not be readily available in other toy shops. We particularly like toys that encourage imaginative and educational play and offer value for money, so we were very excited when we came across the Lottie Doll at the Toy Fair this February.
Lottie Doll – Muddy Puddles
Launched in August 2012, Lottie™ is a new, innovative doll for children aged 3- 9. Since her debut, Lottie has won 19 awards in the USA, Canada and UK, including 5 Oppenheim Portfolio Platinum Awards, generated international press coverage and been the beneficiary of positive parent and blogger reviews.
So, what’s the fuss about? Why has Lottie won so many awards? Well put simply, Lottie has been designed with the proportions of a child and not a glamour model and we think this makes her a great role-model for girls as well as a fun toy to encourage imaginative play.
Lottie’s key features are -
- Lottie is a wholesome doll alternative for children aged 3-9; she is 7.5 inches (18cm) tall, so is very portable and easy for little hands to carry around.
- The key point of difference is that Lottie has a ‘childlike’ body – she doesn’t wear makeup, jewellery or high heels and she can stand on her own two feet (always a useful life skill for all girls, big and small).
- She’s all about letting girls be girls, doing all the activities a child would do, not growing up too quickly, and presenting a healthy view on body image.
- Lottie’s clothing is composed of tactile fabric with lots of attention to detail, easy to dress and undress, with velcro fastenings.
- Her hair is lovely and soft; it doesn’t tangle and knot like other doll hair.
- Lottie has bendable knees with ball socket hips and arms; her head can move side to side and she can do the splits front to back and side to side.
- Lottie is presented in a giftable, illustrated and collectible ‘doll box bag’, with minimal plastic packaging.
School Days Lottie Doll in gift box
Lottie is available in a variety of styles and there are a number of additional outfits and accessories that are available, including Pandora the Persian Cat and Biscuit the Beagle. Her clothes are vibrant in colour and have significant attention to detail. Lottie’s clothes are very much activity based, in line with those of a 9 year old instead of an adult. She wears pretty dresses, as well as hard-wearing clothes for muddy, outdoors play. In this, Lottie’s designers hope that Lottie encourages girls to be girls and enjoy their childhood, in all its facets. She even has her own motto, which is ‘Be bold, be brave, be you’.
Lottie has been produced by leading toy manufacturer Arklu, who carried out 18 months of research working with girls, parents, retailers, industry experts, child psychologists and child nutrition experts, leading to the generation of over 100 action points which have been incorporated into Lottie’s development.
The three points that resonated the most strongly were:
- Girls being concerned by body image from a young age
- Girls being prematurely sexualised
- Girls missing out on their childhood
It was in order to address these issues that Lottie was designed with the proportions of a 9 year old child – with the exception of her head (which has been increased to accommodate hair play).
The accompanying accessories were also designed with the above research findings in mind and reflect the kind of clothes girls would have in their wardrobes for playing in as well as dressing up in.
Lottie is designed for imaginative play and to be the character your child wants them to be, but in creating Lottie and her accessories, her designers created a back story and a character for her. They felt that she would be a feisty character who could stand on her own two feet and whilst she occasionally makes mistakes, she learns from them. She is not perfect. Lottie loves adventure and the outdoors and uses her imagination.
In many ways, she is inspired by the spirited female characters such as Anne of Green Gables, Pippi Longstocking, Jo in ‘Little Women’, Nancy Drew and George in the ‘Famous Five’.
2015 saw the addition of Stargazer Lottie, who became the first doll to go to space, accompanying British Astronaut Tim Peake and, we hope, helping to inspire the next generation of astronauts
Lottie’s Adventures on Branksea Island
Lottie’s adventures take place on an imaginary island called Branksea, which is loosely based on a real-life island called Brownsea Island in Dorset. Many of the items in the Lottie range allude to Lottie’s adventures on Branksea.
As the real Brownsea Island has a rich and varied history including Romans, pirates, Elizabethans and Victorians, as well as woodlands and wildlife, it really is ideal as the background to the sort of adventures that Lottie’s creators feel she would have.
Now owned by the National Trust, Brownsea Island is also notable for being the birthplace of the Scouts and Girl Guides movements and it was the location for the first Scout camp in 1907, plus was the setting for an Enid Blyton ‘Famous Five’ adventure too. Again, the ethos of these organisations and characters, encapsulates the independent, adventurous spirit of Lottie.
The bright and colourful Lottie doll packaging has been specifically designed with the aim of lessening the use of excessive plastic blister packaging and tricky wire ties that are frustratingly annoying and time-consuming to open. Each doll box is themed and designed with a cute handle to encourage reuse and doll portability. Lottie’s manufacturers embrace the colour pink…..but use it alongside other bold, bright colours too.
Endorsements for Lottie
Below are some of the endorsements about Lottie from child development specialists, authors, academics and celebrity fans.
“I welcome this venture which will enable parents to provide their kids with dolls created with positive body image in mind, and the message that it’s not all about looks.”
Jo Swinson MP. Co-founder of the Campaign for Body Confidence
“The causes of eating disorders are complex and not yet fully determined but include genetic, psychological, environmental, social and biological influences. Poor body image and low self esteem are key factors in the development of eating disorders and social and cultural pressures are strong in this area. Body image is a key part of our sense of identity and not a trivial matter or one of personal vanity.”
Beat - Beat is the leading UK charity helping people affected by eating disorders and campaigning on their behalf.
“It’s great to see a doll for this age range who is appropriate in terms of body shape and clothing, and who looks active and fun!”
Nicky Hutchinson and Chris Calland - Education and body image consultants www.notjustbehaviour.co.uk. Authors of “Body Image in the Primary School”
“I applaud the celebration of ‘childhood’ and the associated activity and creativity which ‘Lottie’ dolls provide; so often this stage is seen as an uninteresting and there is too much pressure to hurry into glamour and sexualisation. It is time we valued girls and their true interests again and ‘Lottie’ dolls and their accessories allow an attractive focus for this satisfying type of play.”
Dr Brenda Todd. Senior Lecturer – Developmental Psychology. City University London
“We like Lottie a lot. In the words of my 6 year old daughter (completely unprompted) “Mummy…she’s nice…she looks like a real person”
Kirsty Young. BBC R4 and television presenter
“At a time when even young children are worrying about weight, shape and diet, and girls are getting the message its all about looks, we need to rethink dolls. Dolls that are shaped like real girls, of the same age as the child and doing active, varied and non stereotyped activities, will create a very different kind of play, and free up the options girls and boys unconsciously adopt as their own. Yay for Lottie !”
Prof. Steve Biddulph. Author of Raising Girls, and Raising Boys.
Lottie has certainly had a positive reception in our Didsbury shop and we look forward to following her adventures and hope that she can provide a fun alternative to other brands of dolls available and be a positive toy for today’s children to enjoy.
To view our full range of Lottie dolls and accessories click here.