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A Doll's House

Many parents might not realize just how important doll houses are for children.  Girls and boys alike who play with pretend houses are likely to integrate the skills from pretend play into their everyday lives.  That means that doll houses are just as necessary a component of learning as they are fun.  Because doll houses come in a range of materials, accessories and prices, finding the  best one for your family can seem surprisingly overwhelming!  Do not be dismayed: this article will help you find the perfect addition to your son's or daughter's room.
 
Positively Reinforcing

Sending a child to sit on the time out step because she punched her brother is negative reinforcement.  While many would agree that time outs are good for both children and adults, parents who try to use positive reinforcement in addition to correction find that they are twice as effective.  And doesn't it make sense that you would be at least twice as successful at breaking poor habits of behavior when you approach them from different avenues?  When children have the opportunity for pretend play and role playing, the morals that you are trying to help them learn every day are bolstered through positive reinforcement. 

But don't just send your children off to play alone, sit down to play with the dolls too.  When you approach dolls who have poor behavior (wink, wink) you can help your child see how to apologize and play nicely.  The next time your own children fuss and fight, remind them of the better way to resolve conflict.  "Remember yesterday when we were playing with the doll house?  How did Janey feel when Jake hit her?  That is how your brother feels when you hit him.  Let's be like Jonny and apologize."


View From the Top

Get a load of the Swivel Dollhouse from Back to Basics!  ($130)  backtobasics.com  This house is so gorgeous that we wouldn't mind if we lived there too!  With contemporary architecture, your kids will love playing with dolls in the open floor plans of these houses.  Because this doll house swivels it is less likely to scratch your floors or furniture in your child's room.  This Back to Basics doll house comes with 19 pieces of furniture, but they also offer an array of houses and accessories from plain to penthouse!

Be sure that you also check out Plan Toys doll houses.  plantoys.com  Plan Toys have a number of differently styled doll houses to choose from as well as accessories such as furniture and families.  We love stylish toys that are easy on the ear drums, easy on the furniture and easy on the budget!


Animal Kingdom

We have yet to meet a child who does not love animals.  For all of your aspiring veterinarians, Calico Critters are fuzzy animals who wear sweet clothes and live in their own homes.  calicocritters.com  More modest homes start at around $50 and go up from there.  Filling these cottages with furniture and helping these animals do their chores is fun for the entire family.

Dual Purpose Dollhouses

Dollhouse bookcases are both practical and fun.  Pottery Barn Kids has really set the standard for fusing form and function.  ($400)  potterybarnkids.com  A dollhouse bookcase is one less thing to take up space in a room, and it gives her not only a fun doll house but also a bookshelf suitable for baskets of goods and books.  Other companies make similar looking models, but if it is manufactured by Pottery Barn you know it will last for generations.

Home Away From Home

Kids are comforted by taking their most precious possessions along with them on a trip.  If their favorite thing to play with is a doll house that can be quite a challenge!  Thank goodness for folding dollhouses.  Perfect for trips to see the grandparents or vacations, these are an answer to your prayers.  One of the best folding doll houses is Melissa and Doug's Fold and Go Dollhouse.  ($40)  melissaanddoug.com   Fully equipped with minimal furniture and 2 dolls (and weighing just 2 pounds) we think it might just be the perfect little doll house on the go!

Pottery Barn Kids Puffy Dollhouse is a steal at $50.  potterybarnkids.com  Because this plush doll house has no wooden or plastic parts, it is ideal for tiny fingers.  Casually outfitted with a man and woman and a few accessories, even your youngest child will love sitting with her doll house for hours.


Regardless of the doll house you choose, the most important element of pretend play is the opportunity to sit down to play together.  So carve out some time and make some teachable moments and great memories with the timeless gift of a dollhouse.