The stereotypical dollhouse may induce visions of a pink and white house with frilly curtains and little beds. While this can sometimes still be the case, today’s dollhouses offer far more and are most certainly not just a female domain.
Design is the key
Designs of dollhouses have come a long way just as designs of our own homes have. No longer are we happy to have a stock standard display home but we consider options such as extensions and outdoor living areas. We think about how to use the space. These same concepts used in dollhouses can make a child’s imagine soar. Talk to your child about what they would like to include in their house and how you might be able to achieve it. Personalising the finished product will give a sense of pride.
Include Ken as well as Barbie
Remember playing house is not just a great pastime for little girls. Boys too learn a lot from role play. As an observer you can also learn a lot about your child’s feelings and emotions from how they interact and play in a miniature home environment. Encourage children of both sexes to enjoy dollhouse play. Create visual interest to appeal to boys. Maybe include a fireman type pole to slide from one level to another or a garage where cars can be manoeuvred. The addition of “outdoor” areas around the dollhouse can enhance the experience. Add some rope swings or monkey bars for action play. You can include more male inhabitants of the home too if it creates interest for boys. You may include Barbie dolls or perhaps include more typical male figurines like Spiderman or cowboys.
It is important as parents not to remove a child from participating in a certain activity because “it’s a girl’s thing” or a “boy’s game”. Development Psychologist Roni Cohen Leiderman suggests being alert about gender stereotyping. Encourage both boys and girls to experiment and discover play with different characters. Children develop a liking for activities naturally; some will love it, and some will be bored quickly and gravitate to other things. For those children that are outdoor rough and tumble types, it can be very calming to have them play house. The inclusion of a dolls housein your home can be of benefit to boys as well as girls
For centuries, wooden doll houses have delighted children of all ages through imaginary play. Much to their parents’ delight, boys and girls have found themselves lost for hours on end creating characters, setting up homes, and developing storylines.