My Cousin Edna Surprised Me With a Dollhouse for Christmas
|My Family and My Dollhouse|
Photo Is from Family Collection
Both my grandmothers died when I was a child. One I'd never known except for a total of about ten days. She lived in Oklahoma, and my parents had only taken me to visit my father's parents once. My mother's mother was closer and I have some early memories of doing things at her house, but she died when I was seven. It was Cousin Edna, my father's mother's first cousin, who filled in for my grandparents. The magic she worked in my life made her seem more like my fairy godmother.
Like Any Other House, a Dollhouse Needs Furniture
|Interior of My Dollhouse, from Family Photo Collection|
Today one can buy even prettier dollhouses. You can buy almost any style at Amazon. After reading through endless reviews, I have recommend the dollhouses below for young children. The Fisher-Price Loving Family Dreamhouse comes with its own family -- male, female, school-age girl, and baby. It seems to be the easiest dollhouse to assemble and requires a Philips screwdriver and three AA batteries. Reviews by users state it took them ten - fifteen minutes to get the job done.
This dollhouse has a flushing toilet, doorbell, and other sound effects, and has lights that light. Very little furniture comes with the house, just enough to start playing. You may want to purchase more. There is no kitchen, but there is a room for which you can purchase kitchen appliances. Although this model has a Caucasian family, you can also get it with an African-American family. Read the complete reviews on Amazon and watch the videos, including that by a purchaser, for a wealth of information and answers to commonly asked questions.
The KidKraft dollhouses accommodate dolls up to the size of Barbies, but do not come with their own dolls. They do, however, come with more furniture than the Fisher-Price Loving Family Dreamhouse. It is a large dollhouse and some models have rooms completely open to the outside to make the pieces easier to play with from outside. The larger size makes this ideal for more than one child to play with at a time. Read the complete descriptions and watch the video and other reviews when you click through to discover the unique features of each dollhouse. The Kidcraft dollhouses do take more assembly time -- hours, not minutes, and some suggest a helper would be useful. If I were assembling this, I would not wait until Christmas Eve or whatever day you want to give this to a child before beginning to assemble. I always expect things to take longer than stated. Murphy's Law always seems to apply when I do something with my hands. According to the reviews, the work is worth it because the children love these dollhouses.
I have included some fold and go wooden dollhouses below. These are more portable when entertainment is needed away from home, or even in a different room. These dollhouses also may be more appealing to boys, especially the castle with its medieval figures and horses. Children can be kings, queens, knights, squires, etc. The regular Melissa and Doug Fold and Go Wooden Castle comes with six play figures. The Medieval Castle doesn't have dolls included. Reviewers were very happy with the Schleich Knights, Dragons and other action figures they purchased separately. Other reviewers thought the cheaper set of ten Safari Ltd knights and dragons that have a carrying tube were just right. I have also suggested the Melissa and Doug Princess Castle Accessory Set for the castles.
When you click through to a product page, you will see several suggested accessories such as additional furniture, dolls, cars, pets with their own housing, etc. Use your own creativity to put just the right package together to give your child years of imaginative play. The possibilities are endless. Be sure to check age recommendations if you are buying for a young child. Some items in the suggested related products may be for older hobbyists.
I was still an only child back in the 1940's, and I depended upon my imagination and books for amusement. I could play out endless scenarios with my new doll in its dollhouse. Television was not even being talked about yet, and it would be years before the first one appeared in our neighborhood. Children read or played with toys. My favorite toys were dolls, and that included the one that came with my dollhouse. It was many years before I stopped playing with dolls and my dollhouse, but I kept it to pass to my own daughter when she came along.
Today, with all the available electronics, many children haven't experienced enough of the imaginative play they need. Most children will be able to enact many scenarios from their life experience in a regular dollhouse. This kind of play helps them try on different roles and outcomes. If you get your child a castle, it's a great way to familiarize him with a different period of history. Maybe you could stick a book like The Knight at Dawn (Magic Treehouse #2) or one of your favorite age-appropriate medieval stories, inside the castle, to get his imagination going. Read it aloud to young children. Those ages 6-9 may be able to read it themselves.
If your child is very visual, try A Year in a Castle from The Time Goes By series. It's appropriate for any child of kindergarten age and up. Even older children will get lost in the intricate illustrations of castle life, and all readers will learn what activities were a normal part of castle life and the names of what you might find as part of or inside a castle. Either of these books will provide enough for a child's imagination to make good use of the new castle dollhouse in his play.
Whether your child wants to be a princess, a parent, a knight, a king or queen, or even a dragon, playing with a dollhouse will provide hours of happy and imaginative play. Why not put one under the Christmas tree for a child you love?
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