Buying a dolls' house for a child

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Christiane Berridge offers advice on buying a dolls' house for a child

The beautiful dolls' houses featured in The Dolls' House magazine, are aimed at adult collectors. The dolls' houses are often tiny replicas of period properties, full of architectural details and fine furniture. Alas, these pieces would not stand the rough and tumble of child's play, and pieces would soon become lost or broken. But that doesn't mean that your child can't have a dolls' house - it just means that it has to be one designed for a child. Luckily there are lots of options available.

Pre-school

Pre-school children (3 - 5 years) old enjoy imaginative play. There are dolls' houses aimed at the 3+ age group that can be incorporated into play. Dolls' houses with open sides enable easy access by small hands. The décor and style of the building may be oblivious to the child - all it needs are floors, and doors to be a house. A dolls' house may also represent a school, hospital, shop or castle in your child's imagination. Children have developed good dexterity to manipulate items - chunky wooden pieces aimed at children is durable and strong, and should be used. Look for items marked with safety marks.

Ages 6 - 9

Between these ages dolls' houses can be more refined in appearance. A dolls' house is ideal as the focus of both solitary and social play. Children are still experimenting with the world of the grown-up and home is their closest association with that.

There are more dolls' houses aimed at this age group. Those from Playmobil and Sylvanian Familes also have a wide range of miniature accessories. These little pieces are more likely to be looked after than with pre-schoolers (as well as making pocket-money presents).

Ages 9 - 13

The 'tweenage' years are when children begin to develop life-long skills and interests before the distractions of adolescence kick in. Hobbies and crafts should be encouraged and may well find expression in miniature. Children in this age group should be able to use PVA glue, scissors, sewing equipment, Fimo and model balsa wood with minimal adult supervision. There are many 'art kits' and special storage boxes to tempt the creative spirit.

14+

Many items made for adult collectors are labelled 'not for those under the age of 14', so now at last your child can embrace the world of miniatures as covered by The Dolls' House magazine. By this age childrens' interests are merging with those of adults and this hobby can really be shared across the generations. Assuming that peer pressure isn't an issue, the dolls' house can be enjoyed and become the start of a major collection. It is also a hobby that can be left to bide its time while exams, sports, music and other pursuits hold their attention.

If you child has developed a keen interest take them to dolls' house fairs, or encourage them to save pocket money for more exclusive items, or use their dolls' house / miniatures as part of a design & technology or art assignment.

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