20 Alternatives to Barbie Dolls for Girls and Boys - Unique Gifter

20 Alternatives to Barbie Dolls for Girls and Boys

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Barbie is iconic, but not everyone loves her. Whether your child is obsessed with dolls and needs some more variety or you just aren’t a fan of Barbie herself, these alternatives to Barbie are definitely going to please kids of all ages.

As a parent myself, I know how much kids love to play with dolls. But it’s nice to have some different ones, especially if you need space-saving options (no room for a Dream House?) or want to go plastic free.

Alternatives to Barbie Dolls for Girls and Boys | Dolls for Boys | Dolls For Girls | Feminist Toys | Best Dolls for Imaginative Play | Kids Birthday and Christmas Gifts #barbie #dolls #toys #feministtoys

The Best Barbie Alternatives for Girls and Boys

Before we get into it I want to say… Barbie isn’t just for girls! These Barbie alternatives for all children, including the boys in your life. I also tried to pick a few for different ages, since we know Barbie’s tiny accessories aren’t safe for little ones or even practical for every child.

Melissa & Doug Best Friends Magnetic Dress-Up Wooden Dolls 

These dolls are super cute if you prefer space-saving options and wooden toys. Kids can dress them up with any combination of magnetic outfits, then put them on wooden stands to “play”. These dolls are part of a bigger set and you can get all kinds of different options in this line.

monster high doll

Monster High Dolls

Monster High is basically like an edgy, darker alternative to Barbie for those kids who aren’t really into bright pink and glitter. You can get all different types of monsters including vampires, werewolves, etc.

calico critters country home playset

Calico Critters

If you haven’t seen these before, Calico Critters are definitely up there for adorable doll sets. They’re super high quality, durable, and perfect for all kinds of detailed imaginative play.

fossil hunter stem doll for kids

Lottie Fossil Hunter STEM Doll

Barbie can be anything but there traditionally isn’t a strong focus in niche STEM when it comes to her career accessories. Yes, there actually is a paleontologist Barbie, but she doesn’t come with nearly as many STEM accessories as this Lottie Fossil Hunter doll does.

gabby's dollhouse playset

Gabby’s Dollhouse

Perfect for preschoolers, Gabby’s Dollhouse playsets are based off the popular tv show of the same name. This is a great option for kids who are too young for Barbie and really want to play with the fun sets she comes with – this lets them in an age-appropriate way.

Wooden Peg Dolls

A staple of Montessori and Waldorf education, wooden peg dolls are a great alternative to plastic dolls for imaginative play. You can get all kinds of different versions online including custom painted sets, but I like this one because it’s a great mix of family dolls and fun accessories.

Rag Doll Set

If dressing up Barbie is what appeals to your child these handmade toys are a great alternative. It comes with plenty of cute outfits, plus adorable accessories and sleeping bags for imaginative play. Great for little ones!

lego friends playset

Lego Friends

Lego Friends sets hit a lot of the same beats as Barbie: cute options, lots of fun accessories, different playset options, and customizable. Where they really shine, though, is that it’s still Lego – meaning these can work with any of your existing bricks and other sets. There’s almost limitless creativity to explore building and rebuilding!

american girl truly me doll

American Girl Dolls

Do you want to introduce your child to a Barbie alternative that’s somehow more expensive? Just kidding – kind of. American Girl dolls are pricey, but they’re well worth the money. At 18″, they’re also way bigger than Barbie dolls. What I really love is that there are so many options for kinds of all skin tones, abilities, and genders.

ken doll camping set

Ken Doll

I know this might not technically be much of an alternative to Barbie, really, but Ken dolls are great gifts for kids to round out their doll collection. They’re also nice for boys to have on hand so they can better identify with their toys.

lol surprise doll set

LOL Surprise Dolls

Whether you like them or not LOL Surprise Dolls have managed to take over as a solid competitor to Barbie. They stand out with bold colors (often color changing) and unique accessories. There’s also a few different sizes of dolls to choose from.

disney frozen playet

Disney Frozen Playset

Somehow Frozen remains one of the most popular Disney IPs and kids still love playing with Frozen themed toys. If your kid is a fan, this set comes with everything they need for a magical adventure with Elsa, Anna, Olaf, and Kristoff.

kidkraft dolls family set

KidKraft Wooden Doll Set

Have you ever seen those big wooden KidKraft dollhouses? These are the dolls that fit in them perfectly! Whether you get them on their own or with a playhouse, they’re a great family oriented alternative to Barbie dolls.

toy story dolls

Toy Story Dolls

Just like Andy in the movies, kids will have fun taking their own Woody or Buzz toys on adventures around the house… And beyond! There’s different sizes and characters for your child’s preferred play style.

squishmallows squishville house


There’s hardly a parent out there who isn’t tired of Squishmallows by now – but kids definitely seem to love them. Cute, simple, and free of too many small accessories to lose, these sets are a fun way to play “house” with tiny versions of their favorite stuffed toys.

click and play military action figure set

Military Action Figures

I know that military toys aren’t for everyone, but if you don’t mind war and guns these toys are wonderful dolls for kids who aren’t into playing house. Just like Barbie, this soldier has a variety of wearable accessories and can change his clothes.

thomas scooter lori dolls playset

Lori Dolls

Although they look a bit like the American Girl dolls, Lori dolls are only 6″ tall making them a great small doll option. There are also cute playsets like a coffee shop!

Retro Paper Dolls

This is a quick and easy idea for someone who’s feeling nostalgic. Print at home (so you can print again and again as they wear out) and let your kids have fun with these vintage style paper dolls. This was Barbie before Barbie!

tenderleaf wooden family set

Tenderleaf Wooden Family Set

These are one of the best options if you need something safe for younger kids. They have cute, colorful clothes (like dolls made for older kids) but are made out of solid wood for safe play. Lots of options including a really nice doll house from this brand!

barbie extra doll

Barbie Extra Doll

Yes it’s Barbie – but she’s had a big upgrade from what you’d expect when you think of a Barbie doll. Made with more realistic portions and a bold look, it’s a great option for kids who want Barbie dolls but don’t feel the standard doll reflects their unique self.

Hopefully you enjoyed these alternatives to Barbie for boys and girls of all ages! Whether you’re shopping for your kids, grandkids, or wanting to stock a childcare center or school, these are all great options for fun, imaginative play.

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