Dollhouses are more than just cute (though they are that) – they’re a wealth of developmental play opportunities. Most importantly, dollhouses facilitate imaginative play that helps kids grow their social skills and make sense of the world. Kids act out social situations, imagine multiple perspectives and personalities, and perform practice runs of social conflicts.
But at what ages are they engaging in all this brain-building play? Each child is different, of course, but in general, here’s how you can expect kids of different ages to play and learn with their dollhouse.
Those chubby-cheeked toddlers are just starting to engage in pretend play. They may hug and brush the hair of a baby doll, but most kids under two won’t really understand the concept of pretending their dolls live in a dollhouse. But that doesn’t mean they won’t still have fun with them! Toddlers love exploring features on a dollhouse like sound effects and doors that open and close. They’ll also enjoy rearranging furniture and finding all the different ways they can fit dolls and accessories into the rooms of the dollhouse.
At this age, dollhouses are often more about spatial exploration, fine motor skills, and cause and effect than they are about pretend play. As they inch closer to 3 years old though, you’ll start to see them engage in simple pretend play like putting dolls to bed or making them sit at the kitchen table.
You’ll really see the fun begin here. Around these ages, kids will begin to create storylines with their dolls and act them out in the dollhouse. And no, those stories don’t always make sense, but that’s okay! Just by imagining conflicts and scenarios – no matter how silly they are – your child is still gaining so much understanding of the world and other people.
We love these years for dollhouse play. The creativity you saw earlier only begins to grow, and you may be surprised at just how developed their pretend worlds are.
You may also notice that your kiddos’ interests shift to different types of dolls in these years. They may become less interested in a family set of dolls and more interested in Barbies or dolls that look like teenagers.
Unfortunately, at this age many boys experience social pressure that prevents them from playing with dolls and dollhouses, or they simply gravitate more towards other kinds of toys. Because dollhouse play can be so beneficial for developing empathy and social skills, consider providing similar toys that match your little boy’s interests like the Hometown Heroes Play Set.
Big enough to play with friends
A dollhouse that fits the type and size of doll they enjoy
More detailed accessories and furniture
The golden days of the dollhouse may be winding down at this point, but even those precocious preteens still have fun with dolls and dollhouses. Though at this age, you can expect that play to look different than it used to.
For some kids, playing with their dollhouse becomes a top secret activity. If friends and classmates have stopped playing with dollhouses, your child may start to be self-conscious about still enjoying dollhouses. Though there’s a decent chance their friends are doing the same thing.
For others, dollhouses begin to become more of a tool for social play and less an activity they do by themselves. In other words, when your child has a friend over, they may love world-building and playing out complex social situations with dolls and dollhouses, but you may notice that they enjoy dollhouses less when playing alone.
So what age is good for a dollhouse? Almost any child pre-teen or younger can benefit from dollhouse play, but the sweetest spot is often between four and nine years old. Their imaginations are going full steam, and they’re always looking for new ways to pretend.
Trying to find the perfect dollhouse? Check out our collection of dollhouses, dollhouse accessories, and dolls!