American Girl and Journey Girl Dolls


This week we are going to review “Big Girl” dolls for the little girls in your life.

One of my girls’ favorite activities is to play pretend that they are living in the olden times. They call their game “Back Then.” They pretend to gather their food and cook it on the fire. They role-play different situations that have read about in the Little House on the Prairie books and learned by visiting historical sites here in Kansas City. They love to learn about what life was like back in the days before electricity and technology.

The girls have also read the American Girl historical books and really got into them. This of course led to them wanting the dolls. At the time they were four and six and I didn’t know if they were quite ready for that responsibility. Then I found a wonderful alternative. Toys-r-us has their own version of the American Girl Dolls. This collection of dolls are called “Journey Girls.” They looked just like American Girl Dolls and were good quality but a fraction of the price. I felt like Hannah was old enough to get a big girl doll so her Grandparents got her Elayna for her Christmas. She loved her, played with her and took good care of her. By the next time that Rebekah’s birthday came around I felt like she was ready to take care of her own doll. She received Kyla. She thought Daddy should buy me the Dana doll since she had blue eyes and glasses just like me. It was a sweet thought but I told her I was content with my own two daughters and didn’t need another one to care for.

Then the following Christmas the girls received their first American Girl from their other grandparents. Hannah got Molly and Rebekah received Rebecca. The girls felt blessed to now have two dolls to take care of and play “Back Then” with. They continue to play with the dolls for hours. Their Grandma is able to make them clothes for their dolls to help aid them in role-playing lots of different activities.  Nate and I are happy that instead of other things dictating their imagination they are letting their own creative juices come out in a wonderful way. Since getting the dolls they have been able to purchase accessories themselves from the money they have saved (more on this in another blog post) and have been given items from family members too. Thankfully many stores like Walmart, Target and Toys-R-Us all have accessories for 18-inch dolls so there are a lot of things to choose from to help with their play.

Summary of 18-inch dolls:

  • Target Ages: 5-10

Journey Girls:

  • Strengths: Affordable with similar accessories as the American Girl Dolls
  • Weaknesses: No books to go along with this collection of dolls. Not based on history, focused more on today’s fashion
Rebekah with Kyla

Rebekah with Kyla


American Girls: (Historical Characters)

  • Strengths: Books series goes along with each doll. Accessories are very good quality. Can be used as a teaching tool to learn about different time periods. You can also get a girl that looks exactly like you.
  • Weaknesses: Pricey
Rebekah with Rebecca

Rebekah with Rebecca


  • Caveats: We feel both doll collections are a great options to teach your girls about responsibility. Price may be the determining factor to which doll is best for your family. We believe that each is a good option and can be used as a teaching tool. You can supplement the Journey Girls with books like the ones written by Laura Ingalls Wilder to learn about “back then.”


2 thoughts on “American Girl and Journey Girl Dolls

  1. Ruth says:

    Thanks for all the great info! It will be fun for Hailey to get to experience her first “special doll” like this. I know she is going to love it!!! I love that they play “Back Then” — so cute!

    1. Dana says:

      She will have a lot of fun with it when she is ready!!

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