Getting your first dollhouse is sort of like a rite of passage. C’mon, tell us you didn’t beg for Barbie’s Malibu Dreamhouse (pretty please with sprinkles on top) at some point during your childhood. Beyond the materialistic nature of such extravagances (really Barbie, you need a garage and jacuzzi?!), dollhouses help develop fine motor skills and encourage role play. By playing house, children are able to use their imagination to brainstorm creative scenarios with their dolls that can be applied to real life. (And it beats the kids staring at an iPad screen all day!)
With that being said, they sure as hell don’t make dollhouses like they used to. And by that, we mean that they’re bigger, better, and more “extra” than ever. If your child isn’t into overly pink and girly things, then fear not. You’ll find everything from a contemporary chalet to Hape’s All Seasons Kids Wooden Dollhouse (it’s an award-winning dollhouse for a reason, people!) to pique their interest. And don’t for a second think that you have to spend a fortune to snag prime real estate for your kiddo’s bedroom. Ultimately, it comes down to their wants and needs. If they’re a toddler, an interactive playset will do. Vice versa, wooden dollhouses—although a bit of a splurge—are a great investment for kids who love their dolls.
Keep scrolling for a list of the best wooden and plastic dollhouses for kids that will inspire hours of play. Sure, the assembly aspect can be a b*tch, but that’s where the vino (or hubby) comes in for moral support.
Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised that Barbie’s vacay home is this fab. The Barbie Malibu House Playset is modest in size (in comparison to the dreamhouse, anyway), but it’s not too shabby. We say that with a hint of sarcasm if you can’t tell. Complete with a cozy kitchen/dining area, living room, bathroom, and a Cali-inspired bedroom nook, Barbie’s home away from home is made for a weekend staycation. Perhaps, Ken will join in on the party, too?! Fun little add-ons (25+ accessories) include a pink sofa, a cookie sheet (‘cuz Barbie likes baking), and bathroom accessories (namely, a hairdryer and hairbrush so that B can tame her hair 24/7). This two-story abode is extremely spacious with six rooms… and wait for it, a freaking juice bar! After a day spent playing with Barbie and the gang, this foldable playhouse can easily be stored in the corner of your little girl’s bedroom. Just imagine all the storytelling possibilities and hours of entertainment.
We’re geeking out over this Green Dollhouse (fully furnished) from PlanToys that’s a far cry from Barbie’s mansion. Teach your girl(s) to go green and embrace sustainability at an early age with this ergonomically designed home. A truth to materials (a tenet of modern architecture) and “less is more” aesthetic will allow your BB to have an appreciation for finding the good. The energy-efficient dollhouse constructed from Rubberwood includes a wind turbine, a solar cell panel, an electric inverter, a rain barrel, and even recycling bins (they really thought of everything here!). Oh, and let’s not forget the adjustable blinds that can be changed according to the amount of sunlight and air circulation. Prior to moving in, the first thing we would do is add some greenery—perhaps, a friendly succulent or even a bouquet of fresh blooms for the dining room table?
What little girl doesn’t dream of having her own pink scallop-roofed cottage for her dolls? This charming three-story abode from KidKraft has five rooms and a discrete balcony for sunbathing and people-watching. Nobody likes to move into an empty house—inside, you’ll find 17 pieces of furniture, including a dining room table, a bunk bed, and a refrigerator. Molded plastic staircases and windows that open up (we love the cute red shutters!) make it a fully functioning home. Says this mama, “This dollhouse was a gift to my daughter for her 4th birthday yesterday and she has played with it all day today, she loves it! I debated getting this or a dollhouse fit for Barbies, but I didn’t like the cheap-looking Barbie houses I saw, nor did I want a 4+ ft tall monstrosity taking up way too much space. This dollhouse is less than 3 ft and the perfect size for my 4-year-old to sit and play with it.”
Anyone else getting major Brady Bunch vibes from Hape’s All Seasons Wooden Dollhouse? Between the retro aesthetic and vibrant color palette, this house is equipped with it all—including a reversible solar-paneled roof that switches between summer and winter. This Amazon customer could not be more pleased: “Another great product by Hape. I assembled this very easily in an hour or so. It is beautifully painted in lovely fresh colours and has a reversible roof with snow on one side and summer greenery on the other. You can move the stairs and reach in from all angles. The attention to detail in the house and the furniture that comes with it is brilliant. For example there are wardrobes with doors that open, to reveal shelves, bright rugs for the rooms, towels. I wanted a house for my daughter but none of the ones in high street shops appeal as they are always pink and very girly. This was absolutely perfect, original, and competitively priced.”
Is bribing your children cruel?! See exhibit A: If mommy buys you the Barbie Dreamhouse then you must do XYZ chores for a lifetime. C’mon, there’s even an effing garage (cute roadster sold separately). Additional perks include a ~working~ elevator, smart accessories like an aquarium with swimming fish, and even a toilet that makes flushing sounds. One Amazon customer raves, “it’s a must-have for Barbie fans!” What is there to not like?! This house was a gift for my 6-year-old who loves Barbies and enjoyed playing with the 2013 (?) dreamhouse but she quickly abandoned it when she saw this one. It has a mid-century modern design. Everything is not overly pink like previous versions. It’s very sturdy and easy to assemble compared to previous houses.”
Sometimes less is truly more. Dial it down with Calico Critters’ quaint and cozy red-tiled country home. We particularly like the layout which leaves room for expansion (it opens up at 90-degrees and 180-degrees). Last but not least, we’re geeking out over the real working lights that can be toggled on and off. Parents love Calico Critters (and the kiddos do, too). Says this customer, “There are a lot of other things to like about the Calico Critters dollhouse and accessories, including the modular expansion options, the range of little details and the dolls themselves, as well as comparative affordability, good design, and small size (if that’s what you want or need, which I did). But I think the top of my list is that it isn’t purple or pink, and has no hearts or sparkles.”
We know what you’re thinking: WTF is a winter disco chalet? And why on earth does my child need one? Our generation had Polly Pocket—today’s kiddos have L.O.L. Surprise!, the latest phenomenon to hit the toy market. This winter wonderland, complete with a working ski lift, a light-up ice rink, a snowing chimney, and apparently 95 bajillion other surprises is where the B.B.s reside. This mom approves, “My daughter was beyond happy when she saw the L.O.L. dollhouse. The quality of the product is excellent. Very sturdy pieces and lots of accessories to go into the dollhouse. It took about 2 hours to build. The directions were very easy to follow. I love that it’s got a chalet and some light-up features. My daughter loves that the toilet makes flushing sounds. Comes with L.O.L. figures too.”
BRB, checking into Foxtail Villas. Consider us charmed: From the super cute pink door to the charming bay window and fresh flowers, this quaint li’l wood dollhouse even has us drooling. Assembly required (sorry, moms), but you’ll be happy to learn that it comes fully furnished with a design-savvy interior. Take a peek inside and you’ll find a retro-cool couch and ultra-modern lamp in the living area, while the tiled kitchen includes a yellow polka dot table and color-blocked chair. If we could pack our things and move in next month, we would do so in a heartbeat.
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