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Rubens Baby – An Educational Doll for Play-based Learning

Jenny Hillier is a Speech and Language Therapist and is the Clinical Director of Jenny Hillier Speech Therapy Services, in Co. Kildare, Ireland. Jenny, with the support of a team of professionals working with children, has developed Rubens Baby, an educational doll with a wide selection of accessories. The team consists of a number of professionals from Speech and Language Therapists, Teachers, Occupational Therapists, and Psychologists. The Rubens Baby concept was developed together with Jenny to equip children with the foundational skills needed to communicate and connect with others on a social and emotional level. In this blog post, Jenny introduces the concept of Rubens Baby and how it can help children in their development.

When it comes to play, connection between adult and child always come first. Children learn about their bodies, emotions and the world around them through play. As children grow, their play changes as they move through developmental stages. There is often a huge focus on the rote memorisation of letters, numbers, colours and shapes for Pre-school children. Fundamental building blocks in a child’s development such as emotional intelligence, body awareness, pretend play and oral language skills are often overlooked but are so crucial in preparing children for school. Rubens Baby and accessories have been researched and thoughtfully considered to help develop these important skills!

So how exactly can Rubens Baby help? We aim to facilitate play-based learning not only for children but the adults they engage with every day. Play-based learning provides children with opportunities to learn new skills by actively interacting with people, objects and the environment around them. We know that children learn most effectively through hands on experiences, exploration and discovery. Rubens Baby, accessories and educational material have been designed to ensure learning is fun and engaging for children, all while providing evidence-based support for the adults who play a pivotal role in the learning and development of their children or the children they work with.

You will find introduction videos available on each core area with general advice for parents, educators and professionals alike for developing these important skills as part of daily routines. Step-by-step videos, created specifically for each set of accessories, guide you through using Baby’s universe to best support children’s development. You can read a little more about each of our three core areas here:


Emotional Intelligence

Little people often experience big feelings, and it can be difficult to know what to do or how to respond in these moments. It’s often tempting as an adult to say something like “it’s ok, it’s not that scary” or “don’t be silly, it’s not that hard!” but what children really need in these moments is to feel seen, heard and understood. The ability to regulate emotions is a skill that begins to develop in young children but is not fully developed until early adulthood! It is important that children can identify and understand how emotions feel in their own bodies so they can begin to work towards regulating them. The Emotional Intelligence kit has been designed with this framework in mind.


Body Awareness

Learning the names of body parts is another important developmental milestone for young children and helps build body awareness. The ability to name body parts is particularly important for communicating sensations in the body, for example, “my back in itchy” and to communicate pain, e.g. “my neck is sore”. Rubens Baby dolls and accessories have been designed to help children learn the names of body parts, identify sensations in the body and explore the concept of pain, as part of daily routines and of course, through play!



Play Sequences

Pretend play allows children to explore the roles of others, developing not only a sense of self but also empathy towards others which is so important which it comes to building and maintaining friendships. It also helps develop creative thinking, problem solving, language skills and social communication. By encouraging sequences of play, we are helping children to organise their thoughts and better understand the world around them. Rubens Baby dolls and accessories have been designed to help develop these skills while caring for Baby step-by-step at mealtimes, during nappy changes and as part of a calm bedtime routine!

Learn & play with Rubens Baby!