Doll houses are excellent toys to help little girls develop their cognitive and motor skills, their communication and language skills, and their nurturing and caring skills. Consequently, this helps them better manage their perspective of the world around them and make them more socially and emotionally balanced.
Our Top 3 Picks
Criteria Used in Evaluation of The Best Doll Houses
When selecting dollhouses for this list, we have three key factors in mind during evaluation. With any and every toy we review, safety is paramount in our decision-making process. Judging a toy for safety means paying special attention to the materials and purposes that toy. Another factor of evaluation is the dollhouses potential for creative development. Dollhouses are an extensive of creative playtime, so we carefully inspect the dollhouse’s narrative for values we find suitable for child development. Finally, our last criteria for evaluation is a dollhouses propensity for cooperative playtime. We feel that great dollhouses should not only promote children to play with one another, but promote them to create stories and grow together. The sections below go into greater detail about our three points of evaluation, mentioning examples and what to look out for when purchasing dollhouses on your own. Though every single dollhouse on this list was checked against this list, not all the dollhouses will share the same safety features or cooperative play aspects. There are many ways in which a dollhouse can fit the criteria, and the sections below will delineate a few of those ways.
So, what safety features do we look for in a dollhouse? Well, the biggest thing we look for is non-toxic paints and finishes on the dollhouse itself and its furniture. Most companies make their dollhouses without lead based paints nowadays, but we also look for BPA free paints and plastics in dollhouses. BPA is an additive found in a number of plastics that has been linked certain cancers and respiratory issues, so limiting your child’s exposure to such a harsh chemical is great concern for us. We also look into the construction of the dollhouse for any potential health hazards such as: loose screws, weak frames, pinching hazards, or splinter risks. With these hazards in mind, we take customer reviews and concerns very seriously. All the toys on this list minimize potential health risks and hazards with not only a strongly constructed product, but with safe, non-toxic materials.
Dollhouses are an excellent way to increase your child’s creativity in a fun and engaging fashion. What we look for in terms of creative development is if the dollhouse is diverse enough to provided hours of entertainment, but simple enough for easy playtime. The idea is to give the child a nice base to build form and fill with their own ideas, creations, and scenarios. Go too simple and your child won’t know what to do. Conversely, if the dollhouse is too complicated or over-stimulating, your child will be overwhelmed and feel cornered into a single mode of pretend play. We judge dollhouses based on their potential, and decided whether or not a toy is too simple or too complicated. We included both simple and complicated dollhouses, but these make up the minority of our list. Most of the dollhouses featured are a variation on the classic model because we feel it gives enough creative direction for the child to flourish.
When judging a dollhouse for cooperative playtime, we ask ourselves a few questions. Is this dollhouse big enough for multiple children to play with? Does this dollhouse promote sharing and creative collaboration? How would two children successfully play with this dollhouse? To answer these questions, we first look at the size of the dollhouse. Larger dollhouses are more conducive for cooperative play, but that doesn’t exclude smaller dollhouses from the equation. If dollhouses are designed with cooperative play and many children in mind, then even small dollhouses can be perfect. After judging the size, we look at the rooms and number of rooms offered in the toy. Usually, spacious rooms promote sharing and give the children ample space to both create by themselves and together. If a dollhouse has many rooms, but there on the smaller side, children tend to feel overcrowded and will end up on completely opposite sides of the dollhouse. And, finally, when asking how a child will play with these houses, we like to go into a creative mind space. We view the house with our inner child, and if they love it, then who are we to deny that?
How We Chose Our List
We have listed here the 16 best doll houses for girls this 2016. The list is a product of an extensive research that had to factor in the playset’s educational usefulness, developmental appropriateness, safety, and the overall quality of the product. We also had to consider what other parents are saying about these doll houses and whether they would recommend it to their relatives and friends. Lastly, we also have to look at the overall trustworthiness of the doll house manufacturer and look for signs that it is really striving to achieve excellence in all of their products.
Hopefully, you will find our list useful in your search of the best and most suitable doll house for your own young girl. Be sure to check out our best baby doll strollers too.
Choosing doll houses for your little girl may be quite intimidating. Confidently, our list of the best 16 can help you narrow your choices to one or two.
For other great products like this, be sure to check out our girls gift idea category.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: My daughter is 13 and she still likes playing with her dolls and dollhouse. At what age does playing with dollhouses become inappropriate?
A: Frankly, as long as the playtime isn’t impending in her life in a serious way, she can play with dolls for as long as she likes. Typically, companies put a cap on the age range (like 3-7) because it’s at the latter age that children tend to lose interest in the toy. But if your daughter is in her teens and still finds dolls and dollhouses enjoyable, then that’s completely fine.
However, if the dolls are affecting her life in a negative way, like she won’t socialize with other teens because of it, then you might have to intervene. This might just be typical teenage rebellion and anti-socializing tendencies, but it might also be a sign of depression or trauma. Just keep an eye on her, and if everything is going smoothly, then it’s perfectly fine that she plays with dollhouses and dolls.
Q: My son wants to play with dolls and dollhouses. Should I stop him, or try to steer him towards more masculine toys?
A: If your son wants to play will dolls, dollhouses, and more feminine toys, let him. There is no evidence or proof that boys playing with girl toys negatively affects their development or growth. In fact, when you let children play with the toys they want, they become more independent and have improved social skills because they feel more comfortable in expressing themselves to others.
So, no, you should not be concerned with your son wanting to play with girl toys. If you’re uncomfortable, that’s completely okay. But as long as you put aside those negative feelings and understand that this will not hurt but benefit your child, you’re good to go. And to help with your discomfort, you could play with your son and see that this is just playtime; it’s all fun and games!
Q: Can playing with dollhouses improve my child’s social skills?
A: Yes! In fact, playing with dolls and dollhouses is one of the best ways to improve your child’s social skills. For example, if you plan a playdate for your child and another child, incorporating the dollhouse gives the both a chance to exercise their creativity together. They can either independently create something, like a storyline or a fantasy world with their dolls, or they can create something together.
This not only helps their creativity, but also their teamwork and cooperation skills. And by having the children collaborate together, they begin to form a close bond and create a friendship through this act. And that’s ultimately what we want to accomplish in cooperative playtime, lifelong BFFs!
Q: Will playing with dollhouses improve my child’s cognitive skills?
A: Playing with dollhouses and dolls can defiantly improve your child’s cognitive abilities. Cognitive abilities can refer to memory, judgment, reasoning, and perception. Because of the way most dollhouses are sectioned, the child has to judge distance and depth. The dolls themselves help your child’s memory because, usually, children create characters out of their dolls and little stories to go along with them.
Reasoning is typically for older children, but playing with dolls and dollhouses places your child in the mind space of the scenario they’ve created. This makes them look critically at situations they’ve imagined and make decisions based on the rules of their created world. But it’s not just dolls and dollhouses that help improve your child’s cognitive ability.
Most acts of pretend play assist some aspect of cognitive development. So, if you’re ever concerned with your child’s cognitive progression, then incorporating pretend based playtime, like dollhouses, can greatly improve that portion of their skillset.
Q: What age is too young for playing with dollhouses?
A: Under the age of 3 is typically too young for dollhouses. This is because the dollhouses usually come with smaller pieces that young children can choke on if they’re not careful. But, if a dollhouse has rather large pieces, ones that are child proof, than they could play with the dollhouse in theory. Before purchasing anything for your child, look at the recommended age range and follow that guideline strictly.
Now, you know your child very well, better than anyone else most likely. But the recommended age range is just for general safety measures and should be abided by to keep all parties safe. If there is no recommended age on the product, the manufacturer’s website will typically have that information. If you still can’t find the recommended age range, then you should not buy the product. A company that doesn’t put forth those safety measures should be avoided.
Q: Can dollhouses help build my child’s creativity?
A: Yes! Dollhouses are great for building your child’s creativity and imagination. I would go as far to say that dollhouses are one of the best ways to instill creative and imaginative skills within your child in an engaging way. This is because dollhouses are so fun. All kids love to play dolls and action figures in some capacity, and dollhouses facilitate the fun and wonder of a child’s imagination.
Dollhouses allow not only for the child’s imagination to flourish, but also to envision themselves in the situations they create. Practices like this are great for future communication and socializing with other children. It also gives them the opportunity to escape the world for a minute and gather themselves in their own little world.
So, while dollhouses and playing with dolls give children a lot of creativity, it also allows the child to be creative in their own. And that’s the most important part of these kinds of toys. They actively build your child’s imagination while also giving them the ability to be themselves.
Q: My young daughter, age 3, likes to play with her big sister all the time. My oldest daughter wants a dollhouse for her birthday, but I’m very concerned with purchasing it because of all the little pieces. How can I keep my children safe and happy?
A: Oh, this is a tricky one! Lots of parents face this issue, and I can see the dilemma. While you want both of your children to play together and grow closer, you also want to keep them both safe. The best advice I can give is just to be there while your children play.
Keep a watchful eye on both of them, and if you’re older daughter is old enough, have her also look out for her younger sister. Don’t put all the responsibility on her, but try to instill a sense of duty and protectiveness towards her little sister. And if the little sister is old enough, teach her how to properly play with small toys. Also, teach both your daughters how to deal with broken or damaged toys. If a toy breaks into many pieces, they should immediately tell an adult and be careful of the area as to not injure themselves.
Q: What materials are dollhouses and doll furniture usually made of?
A: Usually, doll houses and doll furniture are made of a treated wood or of a plastic compound. Both materials are great options, and choosing between either comes down to ascetics and pricing. A hand carved doll house made of sturdy oak or birch will cost way more than a large, plastic dollhouse. The plastic dollhouses are just as durable as the wooden dollhouses, usually, and they are often safer.
This is because the plastic dollhouses aren’t as likely to break or splinter. But plastic dollhouses do, at times, like the charm and character of a wooden dollhouse. So, if you’re trying to decide between materials, shop around and pay special attention to price and atmosphere. And, the most important factor, see which one your child gravitates towards.
Children, even at the age of four, are already forming their own style and know very well what they like. So, whether you choose a plastic dollhouse or a wooden one, know both materials have their ups and downs. It all depends on the individual, and of course, what the little ones’ love!
Q: How can I keep my child’s dollhouse clean and orderly?
A: If you’re referring towards to outside appearance, like scuff marks or dirt, then you first need to identify what the dollhouse is made of. Usually, the manufacturer’s website has not only the materials, but also tips and tricks on how to best clean the doll house. If you can’t find that information, a good rule of thumb is to clean the house with warm water and a gentle cleaning solution.
But, if you’re referring to the pieces in the dollhouse and how to teach your child to properly pick up after themselves, that’s a whole other beast. The best option is this situation is to make a game out of it. Act as if the dolls want to have their house clean and spiffy. This incentivizes the child to clean up themselves to keep their dolls happy. If your child is a bit too old for that technique, then they’re usually old enough to listen to reason. Simply talk with your child, and maybe set up rules and consequences for playtime etiquette.
Q: What fun, educational games or activities can I incorporate with my child’s dollhouse during playtime?
A: Playing with a dollhouse and dolls can already be a very fun and educational experience. If your child is nine or younger, than playing with a dollhouse contributes to both their imagination and their communication skills. This is because the act of playing with dolls in an environment that your child controls gives them practice in social situations. For example, your child probably makes their friends or family members.
They then re-enact certain social situations such as playing games or having conversations. This re-enactment gives them not only practice for these situations in real life, but also the opportunity to craft an appropriate response. One thing you can is use doll time as a way to teach your child about stranger danger. Set up the situation and then show your child the correct response towards strangers. This is both fun and educational, and it also gives you the opportunity to play with your child in their own environment.
Q: My child doesn’t show interest in dollhouses or pretend playtime. Should I be concerned by this?
A: Well, it’s important to take into account your child’s age. If there over the age of 12, then dollhouses might just be too young for them now. There’s nothing wrong with a child’s interests changing as they get older. In fact, the changes are often a sign of maturity and growth that should be rewarded. If your child is younger and doesn’t play with dollhouses, but still performs some type of imaginative play, then that’s also fine.
The time to be concerned occurs when your child seems to never engage in pretend time or imaginative playtime. This could point to deeper issues such as autism or Asperger’s. Because children with these developmental conditions have a hard time defining things in non-literal terms, they social skills and educational can be adversely affected. If you’re noticing a lack of creativity in your child along with other issues with socializing or communication, speak with your pediatrician on possible diagnosis.