We have 4 dolls' houses at our house. One holds all our board books, the kid's have one in each of their rooms and the other is a lovely small wooden one that is in the playroom for everyone to use.
A dolls' house is great for development. It provides a lovely back drop for imaginative play games that work on fine motor and language development, cognitive skills and of course those very important social and emotional skills. It's such a lovely place for children to play out the social rules and norms they see going on in their everyday lives.
I found during my teaching years and with my own two kids, that not all children enjoy playing with dolls. But that doesn't mean they have to miss out on the great developmental opportunities the dolls' house provides.
Take my boy for example. The other day I went into Ed's room to find him playing with the dolls' house he had pulled out from under his bed. There was not a doll in sight mind you, his cars had taken over! I quickly gathered up some furniture for him to keep his game going, but snuck back in to take these pictures when he was having a toilet break. He played at this game for a really long time and the cars took on the roles that the dolls usually take.
I've substituted dolls many times for my daughter too, and added props to extend her play. Here are some great things to add to the dolls' house:
- an animal family - cats, dogs, elephants, lions etc
- glass stones
- small squares of felt and/or material
- small grocery boxes with one side cut out of them to act as extra furniture
- paddle pop sticks
- bottle tops
- small patty pans