10 Must-have Toys for 2012

Doc McStuffins 'Time for Your Checkup' Doll
The commercial for Doc McStuffins features the young caregiver treating her friend Lambie with the perfect amount of stuffing. Screencapture by HowStuffWorks staff

Role-playing helps us figure out who and what we want to be -- today, tomorrow, when we're big kids and when we're adults. Dottie "Doc" McStuffins is a Disney cartoon character, a 6-year-old girl who wants to be a physician when she grows up, just like her mom. She's an interactive doll who can sing (her theme song is called "Time for Your Checkup") and talk. And just like a real doctor, Doc McStuffins wears a white coat and a stethoscope (which happens to be pink), and she's packaged with a stuffed lamb who needs care.

Imaginative doll play also helps kids deal with emotions in a positive way -- for example, if your preschooler is scared or anxious about doctors and doctor visits, the Doc McStuffins "Time for Your Checkup" doll can help work some of that out by providing a level of comfort and familiarity with the medical world.