Did you have a doll’s house?
Do you remember what the rooms and the furniture?
But I bet you remember the games you played and the stories you told.
A doll's house holds a unique position in the playroom. It offers as many developmental benefits as wooden blocks or train sets but it surpasses both in its longevity. How many children are still playing with their railway at ten?
A doll's house is a canvas for children to sketch their aspirations, a realm where they can design their ideal world.
This is my new bedroom. It has a window and a bunk bed!
Equally, it serves as a tool to process and navigate the day’s events. The play is not entirely make-believe; the narratives often reflect what’s happening in the real world.
The first doll’s houses
The origins of small world play are hidden by the mists of time. Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of children’s play figures dating back millennia.
But the history of doll’s houses is much more recent. The earliest examples come from the 16th century, and they were made for the enjoyment of adults, not children.
Fast forward to the present day and it seems almost unimaginable to consider a playroom without a doll’s house. But what exactly makes doll's houses so captivating?
The role of doll's houses in language development
Pick up a doll. I’ll get one too.
Let’s put them together, face to face.
They want to talk, don’t they?
Who is your doll? What is her name? What is she like? And who is this friend of hers?
Dialogue comes easily when you play with a doll’s house. And dialogue is how language improves, leading to better reading and writing once school starts.
When should children start playing with doll's houses?
There's no hard and fast rule about when children should start playing with doll's houses.
Before the age of two, play is sensorimotor, meaning it is focused movements and sensory exploration. Dolls are more likely to be posted through windows than engaged in conversation.
But, over time, dialogue takes centre stage and we enter the golden age of the doll’s house.
What’s the right doll's house for my child?
Choosing a doll's house can seem like a daunting task given the plethora of options available. The key is to select a doll's house that is appropriate for your child's age and developmental stage.
Younger children might prefer a simple, sturdy doll's house with large furniture and characters, while older children might enjoy a more detailed doll's house with intricate features.
See Dovetail House
Doll's house furniture and characters
The furniture and characters in a doll's house play a significant role in enhancing the play experience. They should be durable, easy to handle, and reflect diversity in terms of age, race, and occupation. This can help children understand the diverse world they live in and promote inclusivity.
Picking the perfect dolls for your house
When selecting dolls for your doll's house, ensure they are proportionate to the house. It's also beneficial to have a variety of dolls representing different family roles and relationships. This allows children to explore various family dynamics and understand different roles within a family.
Sprucing Up Your doll's house
Adding personal touches to your doll's house can make it more appealing and relatable to your child. This could include decorating it with miniature artwork, adding tiny photo frames, or even making your own miniature furniture.
A window into your child’s world
The narratives that children create while playing with doll's houses can provide valuable insights into their understanding of the world. They can reveal children's perceptions of family roles, relationships, and social norms. Encourage your child to share these narratives with you, and take the opportunity to guide them towards more positive and inclusive attitudes.
In conclusion, doll's houses are more than just toys; they are tools for learning and development. They offer an array of benefits, from enhancing motor skills to boosting creativity, fostering empathy, and understanding complex social dynamics. No matter the age, gender, or developmental stage of your child, doll's houses can provide a rich, engaging, and educative play experience.