Quite a few of my friends with children have liked a social media post that introduces the beautiful Tree Change Dolls.

Hobart’s Sonia Singh recycles, repairs and then upcycles dolls that are no longer played with.

Tree Change Dolls after their makeunder. PIC: treechangedolls.com.au

But instead of brushing their hair and fixing the doll’s existing wardrobe, Sonia removes the glittery make-up and spindly heels and dresses them in miniature handmade clothing and sandals or gumboots for a more natural style.

The results are amazing.

I would buy one of these for Millie in a heartbeat.

After a makeunder they transform into what I’d consider to be the perfect doll. Sonia sells some of her Tree Change Dolls on Etsy.

Before and after. PIC: treechangedolls.com.au

Millie is right into the imaginative play phase and while I’m not anti the Bratz-style dolls completely, I’d much prefer her to play with a doll that’s more realistic – just like her pretend wooden fruit or animal figurines, these recycled toys are recreations of what she sees every day.

Happy feet. PIC: treechangedolls.com.au

Growing up I had Barbie dolls. Lots of Barbie dolls. They lived with the one Ken (lucky guy!) in a double storey house with a fancy kitchen, fluffy dog called Prince and drove around our living room in a pink Corvette.

Each doll wore high heels, had impeccable hair and make-up and a mostly pink wardrobe of dresses and blouses and skirts. I won’t mention Barbie’s perky boobies, tiny waist or thigh gap but her body shape and size went unnoticed by me.

Barbie’s clothing, figure and ‘lifestyle’ makes some women cringe and some refuse to let their daughters play with them for fear of creating unrealistic pressure on their girls to grow up to be just like her.

But I don’t look like Barbie and yet I’m perfectly content with the way I look and can honestly say I didn’t grow up wishing to be just like my tippy-toed plastic friend. Playing with Barbie was pretend.

My Barbies ‘drove to work’, could wear a shiny ballgown for a special occasion and change into a respectable skirt suit with a hat and some gloves. Barbie was not the horrid role model she is sometimes made out to be.

I rarely wear heels, live in jeans, have never starved myself for the perfect figure and my daily make-up routine consists of a swipe of tinted moisturiser and some mascara. I have a career and studied hard to get there.

What I’m trying to say is Barbie didn’t negatively influence my childhood or give me expectation about how a woman should look, dress, live or behave.

But the more realistic the better.

The Bratz dolls are another degree of fake. Their skanky outfits, pumped-up lips and tawdry make-up quite possibly lead young and influential girls down a path their parents would be horrified to see them go down.

I can’t be sure, but I don’t think I would have chosen a Bratz doll over a Tree Change Doll if they were side-by-side on a shelf in a toy shop.

I hope Millie would make the same selection. I’d prefer if she played with dolls that looked and dressed not unlike her and her friends, dolls that gave the impression that their day would be similar to Millie’s. Normal and happy.

On the farm. PIC: treechangedolls.com.au

Sonia – who has a young daughter – said if Tree Change Dolls influences the big toy companies to rethink some of the dolls they are putting on the market it wouldn’t “be a bad thing at all”.

Makeunders in progress. PIC: treechangedolls.com.au

But I’m also loving the idea of giving old dolls a new lease on life. We flippantly buy our children toys for five minutes of entertainment which is little more than a waste of money and the earth’s resources. Why buy new when you could purchase one of these recycled beauties or try to create your own?

The benefits of Tree Change Dolls is twofold.

Tree Change Dolls is also on Facebook and Instagram

I’d love to know your thoughts. Leave me a comment below

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