For many people around the world, orders have come down to shelter in place. The language sounds very ominous, and the meaning behind the phrase is no walk in the park, either. While remaining homebound for an indefinite period, if you and your children both love dolls, now is the ideal opportunity for intentional play. What that means is dolls can be used to act out heroic, calming scenarios. And by heroic, I don’t mean Wonder Woman or Supergirl. I’m talking about our medical first responders.

Children are well aware that something is not right. Parents who usually spend hours at the office are at home working on laptops or on their phones. In some households, parents are more in demand outside the home than ever before. These are moms and dads who are doctors, nurses, and emergency medical professionals. These are everyday people who are doing extraordinary work and sacrificing their family time, as well as risking their own health, to fight the virus.

Over the past decade, dolls have evolved to be more than just passive playmates. Many dolls have backstories or sophisticated biographies. Dollmakers’ designs include almost every career imaginable, including many dolls garbed as medical professionals and scientists. In addition to dolls that start out as physicians and researchers, companies sell costumes so that all dolls have an equal chance to make a difference in the health-care world. There are surgical scrubs, nursing smocks, headgear and masks, lab coats, and stethoscopes — everything that a real-life practitioner would use.

Just as baby dolls help acclimate girls to futures as mothers and wives, and play kitchens help children playact the day-to-day chores of preparing meals, career-oriented dolls encourage kids to explore the myriad roles available in the workplace. Dolls have long mirrored the desires of children, but they can also inspire the minds of little kids. Maybe over the course of this period of self-isolation, playing with these dolls will help kids understand the essential roles of health professionals and scientific innovators.

Most of these dolls can be ordered from online retailer websites and eBay. In this scary time, every make-believe medical session can end in success and a clean bill of health. These medical dolls — your child’s very own MDs — are here to the rescue. Isn’t that just what the doctor has ordered!

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