Dollhouses & Furniture
Berkeley Parents Network >
Advice about Playing >
Dollhouses & Furniture
my son loves playing with dolls/houses & i want to finally get
him his own for his birthday next month, however i need some
help to figure out the best set to match our needs
1) not a lot of space (we share a bedroom & also have
2) not a lot of money (need a basic set that's very affordable,
though it'd be nice if it can be added to as well)
3) accepting that i'm gonna probably have to get plastic toys,
but don't like the amount of emphasis on make-up & fashion i've
seen in many of them (even in the preschool section!)
4) as gender nuetral as possible. he loves extremely 'feminine'
& 'masculine' things (from frilly dresses & makeup to crashing
trucks and so on) & i love that he embraces it all (though i
tend to prefer to keep things more balanced) & want to
encourage that especially as he gets older & gets more messages
of what he 'should' like. he's in a public preschool with other
children who are being raised with much more 'traditional'
sense of things & i don't want to set him up to be harassed by
any & all suggestions on brands, stores, etc. are welcomed ~ if
you could please email me offline, that'd be incredibly
helpful! thanks & take care
I've seen wooden, gender-neutral dollhouses at IKEA.
Five Little Monkeys (on Solano, near Cornell) has a folding
dollhouse that I've been coveting for a while. It's also wooden,
gender-neutral, and looked like it would fit in a small space. I
don't know if it's still there, but they have stocked it in the
past, and might be able to help you find it, if they don't have
Ikea has some cute and reasonably-priced ($15/set of either
kitchen+living room, or bathroom+bedrooms) dollhouse furniture,
although I don't think they have the houses themselves right
A 2-shelf bookshelf makes a pretty decent dollhouse. Or,
as a kid I had a great time furnishing shoeboxes and other
containers as rooms that I arranged in different configurations -
even more creative than just playing with a premade dollhouse,
and very easy to store under the bed when you're done playing.
If you enjoy that sort of thing, it can be really fun to
decorate with wrapping paper, fabric scraps, spools, etc.
I love the Ryan's Room dollhouse stuff now, but it's expensive,
though perfect in every other way (wooden, sturdy, modular and
not too girly). They also have a fire station which comes with
beds and things that I'm thinking of getting for my son as a
manly version of a dollhouse (not that there's anything wrong
with dollhouses for boys!). Good luck and have fun!
Another mom of a boy who likes to play house
We'd like to get a dollhouse for our daughter who turns 2 this
month. What kind is the best -- wood or plastic? What brands are
good? I notice that for some of the wooden dollhouses, all of
the furniture and dolls are sold separately. I don't want to
spend more than $100 on something I'm not sure she'll like. Any
I really like the ''Furnished Dollhouse'' by Melissa and Doug, who make beautiful
wooden toys. My husband put it together and said it was really well designed and
went together well and easily. Lovely quality. It does say ages 3 and up, but we
decided that nothing was dangerous for our 20-month-old. We actually got ours
through Lillian Vernon (Lillianvernon.com), listed under be.
we have had plastic as well as a beautiful wood one, well the
plastic was more appealing in the moment- looks colorful,etc.
and got use out of it though only on occasion. The wood was
unappealing at age 2 to my daughter but has gotten a lot more
use in the long term (6.5 now)- however you might not see your
money's worth at this point. The wood seems to capture open-
ended imaginative play in a different way than plastic, but the
plastic serves something too. Check out toy-go-round on Solano
ave. or somewhere where they have a few set up and see if she
gravitates to any. I'd try to go for used, or there are packaged
wood ones that come with furniture and people- and sometimes at
places like Marshall's/ Ross. The little ones might be good for
a 2 year old there is a cute Calico Critters mini house pretty
expensive for what it is though. Also think of where it will go,
because they can take up a lot of space and get lots of use for
a while, then none for a long time and you wonder if you still
need it there, but then they'll probably go back to it....
thought a lot about dollhouses
I found an excellent dollhouse that is wooden and comes with
everything. My two year old loves it, but I know she will get
even more out of it when she's older. It also comes on a
turntable so she can play with it from all angles.
It's made by Kidcraft, this store has it on sale for $79.99
free shipping (and it was easy to assemble)
Hi. My son is 21/2 and, like many boys his age, obsessed with
firetrucks, garbage trucks, construction trucks, and the manly
men that tend to drive such vehicles. I am concerned that we
are getting too truck focused around here- he does have many
other interest and I know he would enjoy playing with a cool
dollhouse. I don't want anything overly pink or Barbie-ish. I
was considering the Fisher Price Little People's house, but a
friend thought he would grow out of it too soon. Does anyone
have any suggestions?
The Playmobile preschool dollhouse (NOT the elaborate ones for
older kids)could work for you. It is quite simple, and can house
vehicles as well as people. I believe it comes with furniture.
It is definitely toddler/preschool style, so won't last him for
years in terms of his interest, but it is very durable, so you
could easily pass it on. Playmobile makes a line of toddler
toys, including people, animals (pet and farm) and vehicles
(cars, tractors, etc.) that fit in it. It's called Playmobile 1-2-3.
My son is the same way about trucks, etc. I think you need to
realize that this is just part of his nature and a long future
of them having interests that might differ from what we would
like for them to do. And if you look closely at his play with
trucks for example, there is imaginative play in that, just like
they would get from a doll house. You could get him toys that
are similar in the developmental concept of a doll house, like
the Fisher Price farm where instead of dolls they pretend play
with animals and tractors. We got our son a old fashioned
looking gas station w/ car wash on sale at Pottery Barn Kids.
Again, the same sort of pretend play as a doll house, but
following his interests.
Other ideas that might appeal to him are those play vacuum
cleaners (my son loves to help me vacum and sweep with his toy
broom). Or those little strollers for dolls (I got one for my
son; at first he refused to have anything in it, especially a
doll, but enjoys pushing it around and now occassionaly will
give a stuffed toy a ride.) Those are physical activities that
appeal to boys but break out of the stereotypes.
I know the nature versus nurture is a hot topic, but coming from
an extended family of lots of kids and having done a lot of
babysitting, you really see these sort of boy versus girl
behaviours, no matter how they've been brought up. My older son
and some of his friends were brought up in strict no toy gun
households and no violent cartoons/movies. But they were forever
making weapons out of carrots, sticks, shoes, you name it. Legos
were used to make fighting space craft. It's hard to accept
sometimes, but yet I appreciated their creativity. I've also
found reading books like ''What's Going On In There?'' really
helpful. That book is about brain development from conception to
age 5, and reading about how boys and girls brains are wired
differently has helped me come to grips with my 2 year old son
already showing some of those typically male traits that my 11
year old and husband show!
My son is also train-and-truck obsessed. He has Little People
vehicles, with people, but he tends to ignore the people and
just play with the trucks! However, he's recently -- at 3 1/2 --
begun to enjoy messing about with the wooden and Calico
Critters dollhouses set up in Five Little Monkeys. (He seems
mostly interested in the furnishings and the teeny weeny dishes
and things.) So he's getting a wooden dollhouse this
Christmas. The Plan Toys/Ryan's Room type wooden ones are not
girly at all. They are, of course, much more expensive than
something like the Little People variety, but I figure the stuff
will hold his interest a lot longer. (And if it doesn't, well,
he has a baby sister!) Most of the wooden ones are unpainted,
so no worries about pink. We found a cute house with the
interior walls painted blue and green at IKEA, and the price was
really reasonable too.
Another alternative to the Little People is Fisher
Price's ''Loving Family'' line. It's similar to Little People --
plastic, colorful, houses and vehicles have electronic sounds --
but aimed at slightly older kids. Somewhat less pink than
Barbie. Not appreciably cheaper than Plan Toys/Ryan's Room.
All of these things are labeled age 3+ and it may be another
year or so before your son is really interested, but I agree
that a Little People house might be outgrown before it really
catches his interest.
Need a Truck Garage in the Dining Room
Hi, I would check out the dollhouses at Ikea. You can find
them in the Children's section. They are made of wood and are
very contemporary in style. It looks like they are very sturdy
and would last a long time. They are not pink or plastic. They
have great furniture and dolls to go with it. Also the price
is very reasonable.
I would recommend purchasing one of the wooden dollhouses for
your son. They are less detailed and provide for more
imaginative play. The playhouse can easily be transformed from
house to fire station to school, etc. Lakeshore Learning Center
and, I believe, Rockridge Kids carries them. Furniture sets can
be purchased separately. ToysRUs carries wonderful sets made by
Mellissa and Doug. Have fun!
My advice is to avoid buying a toy that takes up a lot of space
unless you are sure your child will play with it, especially if
it's durable, long-lasting, or costly. I broke the bank to buy my
boys the Playmobile castle which, it turned out, I liked a lot
better than they did. How many times did I spread all the pieces
on the floor, spend an hour putting it all together, and wait in
vain for them to leave the Matchbox cars just for a minute, which
they never did? A lot of times. All of the time. And it got
passed on to their cousin in mint un-played-with condition, who
also didn't play with it. So, if you do get a dollhouse, I
recommend getting a small, cheap one.
Mom of boys
My son is the same age into trucks etc. He had a great time
recently playing with the Playmobil dollhouse. It was a great
one. I have also seen very cool wooden ones by Ryan's House
(at least i think that's the brand.) The toystore on 4th
street in Berkeley has them.
we found a firehouse-dollhouse for our then 2 y.o. boy. it took for him the
interest in fire trucks, etc. and added to that play that includes sleeping,
preparing meals, and such. we've also added a baby, with all their crib,
highchair, and changing table to the firehouse, so the firefighters can also take
care of their baby. (the firefighters and their house is the same size as all the
''ryan's room'' style furniture and dolls.) it's been a popular play house for over
we got the firehouse from ''constructive playthings'' (http://www.constplay.com)
and the baby accessories from rockridge kids.
There are a couple of great dollhouses that are more ''classic'' and not the
overly pink Barbie types.
The SFMOMA store has a really cool one called the Contemporary Doll House.
It's pricey ($110) but pretty hip and is really neat:
Also, check out the BRIO Plan City classic dollhouse. It's about $60 and is
wooden, with little people and furniture.
Another idea if you're feeling ambitious:
When I was younger, I had a dollhouse that was built for me by my
godmother....my little brother was always getting into it, which drove me crazy!
My parents wanted to give him something of his own, but didn't want anything
too girlie pink Barbie-ish. My dad built him a very simple ''horse farmhouse''
which was totally cool. One side was the living quarters with a kitchen down
stairs and a bedroom upstairs. The other side of the house had four stables (on
the bottom floor) and the upstairs had a ladder and was the ''loft'' (they put hay
in it). It was very simple, but he loved the horses and dogs.....it was a fun mix
of a classic doll house but with a twist! Good luck....
IKEA has a fabulous gender-neutral dollhouse. I'll be getting one for my son
-I played with hot wheels instead of Barbies!
How about a treehouse? I haven't purchased this yet, but want
to for my little girl because i don't want a regular dollhouse
for her either...
this is the basic set, there is a bigger one too - they are
quite tall around 3 feet!
wish i had one when i was young!
Ikea has a great dollhouse --a very simple, modular (of course, it's Ikea!) dollhouse
painted white, black, and funky blues and greens. You can buy furniture sets and
dollhouse people from Ikea, too, though other sets (Ryan's Room) fit, too. My
toddler son loves it.
My two-year old really enjoys her ''Little Tree'' dollhouse from
Target.It comes with some furniture and a little family of small
dolls. Everything is made of wood. Not particularly girlish and I
don't think she will outgrow it anytime soon.
Can anyone recommend a place to buy a nice wooden doll bed or
cradle? The ones I saw shopping this weekend were all around
$70 (gasp!). Thanks.
I bought a doll cradle for my daughter from Magic Cabin Dolls
last year. It was about $20-30, I think. When I checked the
website (www.magiccabindolls.com) they didn't have it, but they
have an alternative you may like.
IKEA carries an inexpensive basic wood doll bed for less than
$20. They even sell separately a pillow and bedspread set for
the bed. I bought one for my daughter a couple of years ago,
and when I was there about 6 months ago, I noticed that they
still carried it.
IKEA in Emeryville sells wood-framed doll beds with a white
laminate mattress support at a very reasonable price. I'm sorry
I can't remember the exact figure, but it's in the $15-25 range,
not near $70. Assembly required. If you don't like the spare,
IKEA look, call the used toy stores. I've often seen cradles
for less than $70.
New IKEA fan
Ikea carries nice wooden doll beds(not cradels) for about $20.
Try checking IKEA. I purchased an inexpensive wooden bed for my
daughter there almost 2 years ago -- but I believe they still
make them. They also sell a bedding set.
We recieved a cute doll bed as a gift from IKEA. It is a simple
wooden frame ( unfinished) and has a pillow, mat and blanket
that come with it.
IKEA! IKEA! I recently purchased a doll bed and bedding as a gift
for about $25 (?). Can't remember the exact price but it was
around there. I never opened the box since it was a gift so can't
speak to the quality but I believe it's plain wood. Bedding is
pink (sold separately).
Target has a line of American Girl knock-offs which has a doll
bed in the collection. It's not wood, but it's a reasonably
attractive one (around $15) and the Groovy Girl lines (available
at smaller toy shops like Sweet Dreams and McCaulous) has a cute
bed with has attached covers. This is surprisingly handy.
Other than that, Ikea is your best bet for a wooden one.
mom 2 2 girls
this page was last updated: Apr 8, 2012
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network