The dollhouse above, aka Mrs. Goodbee, was pretty great. (It’s no longer available.) It has two sides so more kids can play at once; it features audio effects (my daughter loves the toilet flushing sound); and, it was designed to teach manners. After the toilet flushes, a voice calls out, “Wash your hands!” But my kids stopped playing with it, because it reads GIRL and neither Julian or Scarlett are super girly.
When I was recently asked about dollhouse recommendations, I quickly thought of a bunch of ways we could get more play value out of a dollhouse-like product, that’s not your standard pink mansion. Here are my picks for imaginative environments that provide the fun of miniature accessories and the benefit of acting out family dynamics through play.
Melissa and Doug sell a wooden hi-rise dollhouse with open walls on the sides for easy access. Not pink, not plastic.
This multi-level rocket ship has all the amenities of a dollhouse without being a boring old house.
Or, StoryWalls, by award-winning start-up Build & Imagine, which enables children to construct a play environment with themed magnetic panels.
Children who love animals may get into the Calico Critters franchise. These little forest animals have houses, and you can buy more components to expand the collection over time. Get a tree house or a regular house. Or a tent. More little animals could be stuffed in stockings. This is the “Luxury Town Home”. Warning: All creatures sold separately and a pack of four small animals appears to be about $23. Yikes!
Another direction is to skip the doll house and just buy furniture and a family. Children can play with them in cardboard boxes, on blankets, or on a small table you assign for this activity. I’ve even cleared out a bookshelf and laid scrapbook paper down to evoke a living space.
Magic Cabin is the seller of non-electronic, non-plastic, Waldorf- approved toys – for people who are into faeries and woodland creatures. This Tree Fort Kit is so cool, and so are many of their other dollhouse alternatives.
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