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. See, all my kids, boys, and girls loved playing pretend with the dollhouses in our home. Often times, it seemed like a boysÂ dollhouse rather than a girls as the boys would create their own play areas in the dollhouse. 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.
I like the accessories from Plan Toys (bunk beds!), but also think their modern, wood, eco-friendly dollhouse looks pretty great (and expect to pay a bunch for it!):
Playmobil is another strategy. Instead of a house, think castle or farm. (Or get a house.) This is their “Farm House Construction Set with Market”
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.
Do you have a dollhouse? Does it get a lot of use?
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Keyword: Gender-neutral alternatives dollhouses – Girls or Boys dollhouse!