Christmas 1990, I was six years old and I remember asking for a Tiny Tears doll. It was top of my Christmas list and I was so excited to unwrap it on the morning of December 25th, along with some outfits, a carry cot and a doll’s bath. I loved dolls and I remember spending a lot of time playing house, pretending to be Mummy and cooking for my little ‘children’ on my A La Carte Kitchen.
Now, twenty five years later and in the living room another little girl is pretending to be Mummy, cradling her own Tiny Tears doll and feeding her water from a bottle.
Despite the influence of technology and access to increasingly elaborate toys, when it comes down to it, little girls haven’t really changed much through the generations. Dolls are one type of toy that never goes out of fashion, which is evident as Tiny Tears celebrates her 50th birthday this year. Since the 1960s, thousands of little faces have lit up every year as they have unwrapped a much-loved Tiny Tears doll on Christmas morning.
In our family alone, Tiny Tears has been present throughout the decades. My sister received one for Christmas around 1970, only a few years after they were first launched. However, she pulled her head off, wrapped her in a towel and hid her in a drawer, which hopefully Izzy will not do to her new doll (I’ve checked, the head is fixed on pretty securely!). My own doll, although 25 years old, has fared much better, and 1 year old Clara has now claimed it as her own.
My 4 year old daughter, Izzy, was very lucky to be sent a 50th Anniversary Limited Edition of Tiny Tears by John Adams Toys. When she opened the box she looked so excited. The first thing she said was that it was just like one she had seen on the television, and “Wow, does it really wee wee?” She has a couple of other dolls, but none that drink water, wet on the potty or cry, so she was quite intrigued by this.
She named the doll ‘Ella’, gave her some water from the bottle and sat her on the potty (both of which come with the doll). It was funny listening to her encourage her doll to use the potty, just like she encourages her younger cousin. She was amazed when she then found water in the potty and full of praise for baby ‘Ella’. She loves the sparkly pink party dress and that she has blonde hair and blue eyes like her. It’s nice to see that the hair style has improved somewhat from the poker straight bob worn by the old Tiny Tears!
She did make a bit of a mess trying to feed her, as the bottle needs to be quite firmly pushed into the doll’s mouth, but its only water and now she seems to have got the hang of it. To make the doll cry we needed to tip her forward quite a bit to start the tears, but again now Izzy has got the hang of making the doll cry without my help.
Of course ‘Ella’ had to sleep in Izzy’s room, in a sturdy plastic cot which is yet another toy passed down from my own childhood. The next day she even got taken out on a bike ride, zipping around the park on the back of Izzy’s bicycle.
Playing with dolls is a big part of childhood for many children, as they use their imaginations to act out different roles. Often Izzy likes to pretend that she is the Mummy – and it’s quite amusing to hear my expressions come from a four year old’s mouth, as she talks to her dolls in her ‘Mummy Voice’! Other times she is the big sister, a school teacher reading to her students, a doctor or nurse taking care of her patients or a rock star performing to her audience. She uses her bright pink, plastic kitchen (a slight upgrade from my A La Carte!) and she is a chef, cooking for her customers, or she arranges chairs in a row and is a bus/train driver taking her passengers on a trip. I’ve even watched her pretend to be a swimming teacher showing her dolls how to swim. Dolls are not just limited to parent/child roles, and can encourage a whole range of scenarios for pretend play.
The love for dolls hasn’t changed over the decades, and its no great surprise. Today’s parents (and grandparents) have grown up with Tiny Tears, and today’s children will go on to become a new generation of parents. One day watching their own children’s faces light up as they unwrap a much-loved doll on Christmas morning.
Happy Birthday Tiny Tears!
We were kindly gifted a 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Tiny Tears doll in return for an honest review. All words and opinions are those of myself and my daughter Izzy.
For more information about Tiny Tears and John Adams toys, visit www.johnadams.co.uk.