The larger, softer doll was designed with smaller hands in mind — and parents who were tired of the doll’s clothes catching between the doll’s thumb and fingers.
Barbie has had her fair share of makeovers since her debut in 1959, and the latest one aims to allow preschoolers to get in on the fun. Meet My First Barbie, a taller, softer, and easier to dress model of the famous doll aimed at preschoolers.
My First Barbie stands 13.5 inches — two inches taller than the doll’s plastic predecessor — and features a softer body. The new Barbie’s clothes are fashioned with velcro, making it easier for smaller hands to change their doll’s outfit without as much assistance from parents.
“Parents had a desire to introduce their preschool aged children to Barbie but were planning to wait until they were older with more developed dexterity. This insight led to the exploration of the first Barbie doll designed specifically for preschool aged children… our research and feedback from parents was essential to creating a Barbie line that could not be better suited for little hands and preschool fans,” Tasja Kirkwood, Vice President of Global Consumer Insights at Mattel, explained in a press statement.
The doll, available in four skin tones, also has more articulated limbs, closed hands less prone to catching while changing the doll’s outfit, and long rooted hair.
“My First Barbie doll’s larger and softer sculpt, easy-to-dress fashions and accessories and younger features will welcome even more children to play out any story they can dream of,” said Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie and Dolls at Mattel.
While My First Barbie is already available at major retailers like Amazon and Walmart, the new line of Barbies is officially launching on Jan. 31 with “My First Barbie: Happy DreamDay,” the “first-ever Barbie content dedicated to preschool-aged children” on Youtube. The animated special’s storyline will “highlight preschool themes of friendship and family, with simplified plots, original music and relevant life lessons,” per Mattel.
The move is the latest in Mattel’s mission to make Barbie more inclusive. The doll has previously received criticism for its unrealistic body proportions and lack of diversity. The brand has previously introduced more inclusive Barbie dolls, including a doll with prosthetic leg, a Ken doll with vitiligo, and a range of dolls with a variety of body types and skin tones.