Tiny people. Delicate furniture. A whole world right at your child’s fingertips. There’s nothing quite like a dollhouse.
Choosing the right dollhouse is straightforward. Before you buy, however, make sure you’ve kept a few things in mind. We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 best wooden dollhouses and a few accessories that your child will love. Plus, we’ve answered a few of your questions in a handy buyer’s guide. Let’s take a look.
Top-Rated Wooden Dollhouses List of 2018
1. Melissa & Doug Fold and Go Mini Dollhouse
The Fold and Go is a traditional dollhouse that opens to reveal the inner rooms. It’s intended for younger hands that need thicker pieces to manipulate. It offers soothing pink colors that will appeal to a young girl who likes to play family and “help” take care of young siblings (or the dog.)
It’s a two-story dollhouse with two posable figures. It comes with basic furniture for each room. It includes two chairs and a table for the kitchen, an armchair and tv stand with a television for the living room, a bed for the bedroom, plus two kitchen appliances and two pieces of bathroom furniture.
There are chunky handles so your child can carry the dollhouse when it’s folded and all the accessories fit inside. It has a real working door for extra drama.
One downside to this playhouse is that it’s meant for small children. It will be hard to upgrade the furniture in the future to accommodate an older player. However, it’s a good entry into the world of dollhouses.
2. Melissa & Doug Multi-Level Solid Wood Dollhouse
Need a larger dollhouse for your younger children? This Melissa and Doug dollhouse is two feet tall by two feet wide and features an open face design that makes it easier for more children to play.
It’s three stories and has two staircases. It’s a soft pink and purple color, which is pleasing to the eye for young children and won’t clash with the decor. When children are done, it turns around to reveal the exterior of the house and hides the clutter of moving pieces.
It comes with 19 pieces of durable, wooden furniture substantial enough for little fingers to manipulate. There are no dolls included, but four-inch doll sets would fit well.
Accessories we love:
3. Melissa & Doug Victorian Dollhouse
This dollhouse is the classic style you remember at your grandmother’s house. It’s a Victorian dollhouse with intricate designs such as a hand-painted shingled roof, intricate window frames, and a delicate staircase with a banister.
It has three floors and is an open-faced design. The outside resembles the simple Victorian houses of the past. There are pictures unique to every room for visual interest and depth.
It requires assembly, but all pieces fit together using a single type of screw, so you don’t have to sort or worry about getting the wrong one. It doesn’t come with any furniture or dolls. You can purchase furniture separately, and the 1:12 scale fits many four-inch doll sets.
Accessories we love:
4. Melissa & Doug Folding Princess Castle
The first themed dollhouse on the list: the princess castle. Melissa and Doug’s castle folds out to access inner rooms and includes two removable turrets, arched walkways, balconies, and a working drawbridge.
It’s a plain, unfinished wooden style with pink roof accents and vines drawn on the sides. It fits neatly together into a square for storage. Unfolded, it creates a longer piece of the castle for two children to play with from above.
As far as durability, younger kids might be hard on the unfinished wood, but the beauty of the wood’s natural shades are suitable for elementary kids who are less likely to spill.
It doesn’t come with any furniture or figures. You can customize what accessories your child uses with the dollhouse. For example, any four-inch figure will fit nicely. However, if you’re looking for an all-in-one gift, this isn’t going to be your best option.
Accessories we love:
5. KidKraft Disney Frozen Ice Castle Dollhouse
Another theme dollhouse. This time it’s your favorite Disney movie, Frozen. Your child can play in Elsa’s icy castle with this open-faced three-floor dollhouse.It has taller rooms that accommodate larger dolls such as Barbie or other 11 to 12-inch fashion dolls. The dolls aren’t included, but 11 pieces of furniture follow the Frozen theme for each room. There is Frozen artwork even on the plexiglass windows and an ice chandelier from the movie.
It’s a combination of composite wood and plastic. These materials are durable and easy to clean, but they aren’t organic or sustainably sourced. It will last for years of play.
Accessories we love:
6. Hape All Seasons House
Hape’s modern dollhouse is arranged based on the four seasons. It has four unique, brightly colored rooms with an open design that allows children to play from three sides. There are six “floors” with three staircases zigzagging between them.
You can choose to purchase this house furnished or unfurnished. This gives you more customization for furniture and doll sets. Hape’s doll sets are a variety of family types and skin colors so your child can have a family that looks like his or her own.
The wood is harvested from sustainable forests, and the details are painted using non-toxic paints. It’s a solid wood construction that will last a long time. The floors are a little bit thin, however, and might not hold up to a particularly boisterous child.
Accessories we love:
7. KidKraft Chelsea Doll Cottage
KidKraft’s cottage style dollhouse is open faced to give your child easy access to all the rooms. It’s on the taller side with three floors and two staircases. It also has a small outdoor terrace on the top floor. The windows even open and close
Open-faced dollhouses are better for two children playing at once. There are 17 pieces of furniture, each with details and strong wooden parts. They are big enough for small hands to grip but offer enough detail to allow the play to continue for many years.
It doesn’t come with figures, but any four-inch doll set will be the right size. This might be useful news if you are particular about the types of dolls you want to give your child, but bad news if you’re expecting an all in one set.
8. KidKraft Annabelle Dollhouse
The Annabelle dollhouse is a full-scale, open-faced dollhouse with three floors, a staircase, and a gliding elevator . It has heart-shaped latticework, pictures of furniture in each room to add depth, and a chandelier on the top floor.
It’s nearly four feet tall and comes completely unassembled. If you don’t like having to build something from scratch, this might not be the right dollhouse for you. That said, it’s large-scale and suitable for elementary children ready to move into a real dollhouse.It comes with 16 pieces of furniture but no doll figures. Four to five-inch dolls would be perfect. Kidkraft does have a variety of doll sets sold separately.
9. KidKraft Beachfront Mansion Dollhouse with Furniture
KidKraft’s beachfront mansion is a themed dollhouse with storage built right into it. The design is a modern beach house with modern furniture . The pictures in every room add depth and visual interest. It has three floors with terrace, a staircase, and a working elevator.
It includes 14 pieces of furniture but no dolls. The scale is suitable for 12-inch fashion dolls. There are real working lights and toilet flushing sounds. It doesn’t come assembled and might take some time to do so if you’re constructing it alone.
A functional piece of design is the storage. The entire house rests on a storage compartment base, making it easy to stow away unused portions or to clear the house entirely to prevent clutter and lost items.
10. KidKraft Majestic Mansion Dollhouse
KidKraft’s Mansion is the biggest dollhouse on the list. It’s built for larger dolls such as Barbie and comes with 34 pieces of wooden furniture. There are unique designs in each room to add visual interest, plus a working elevator and garage doors.
It’s an open-faced design with wide angles. It stands over four feet tall and four feet wide. It’s a substantial space investment, but if you have the room, it does allow many children to play at the same time.
How to Choice the Perfect Dollhouse
Don’t choose the wrong dollhouse. Consider a few things before you bring that dollhouse home as a surprise or wrap it up for a birthday.
Have you ever bought a TV after looking at it on the wall of a store with 40-foot walls? You got it home, and it was overwhelming, right?
Dollhouses all look appropriate on the store display but consider the space you have to store the dollhouse. If it’s always in the way, it’s less magic and more headache.
Dollhouses don’t have to be huge to be magic. Small dollhouses offer your child open-ended play without taking up all the space in the room.
Go for the giant dollhouse if you have space, but don’t feel guilty that your child doesn’t have a three-panel five-foot tall house with 100 pieces of furniture. Sometimes simple is enough.
One way to consider the right size of the dollhouse is by considering scale. One dollhouse inch equals a certain number of inches in the real world.
This scale is called a fashion doll scale. The most famous example is Barbie, but other types of dolls fit. Kidkraft dollhouses are on this scale. It’s the largest available and will need the most space.
This one is known as a one-inch scale because one inch equals a foot in the real world. It’s one of the most common types of dollhouses, and the most famous example is Hape.
Otherwise known as 3/4 scale, this is an even smaller type of house that fits older children well. One inch is equal to 16 inches in real life. Sylvanian families are an excellent example of this.
The 1:18 scale is also known as a 2/3 scale. The same measurement scale applies. One inch is equal to 18 inches in real life.
It’s best to match furniture scale to the dollhouse. Otherwise, the furniture looks hopelessly crowded or weirdly spacious. The largest scale houses are only compatible with the largest scale furniture. The others look ok with one scale up or down in either direction generally.
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Which is best for my child?
The younger your child, the larger the dollhouse and furniture need to be generally. Their motor skills haven’t developed yet, so a tiny dollhouse might be a frustrating experience for them if the furniture is too small for little fingers to grip.
If your child is older, the smaller scale might be very rewarding for them to arrange. It will take a lot of concentration to keep things organized, and that can be a rewarding experience.
Toddlers are typically a bit too young for traditional dollhouses although there are some basic doll setups. Make sure that all the dolls, furniture, and accessories are too large for a toddler to put in his or her mouth. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations as well.
3 to 6-year-olds
At this age, kids have developed some of their fine motor skills, but it’s still best for the dollhouse and its accessories to have big, colorful shapes. If there are other things to do such as shape matching or color matching, that’s even better.
Open-ended dollhouses that can be changed around, plus colorful pieces. Everything should be one large piece for safety. It’s even better if everything is wooden because it provides good tactile feedback.
7 to 11-year-olds
Kids at this age are aware of what other kids want and might begin asking for things their friends already have. They’ll likely want larger dollhouses or even themed ones such as castles and movie merchandise.
It’s best to listen to what your child wants at this age. They’ve formed opinions and are searching for their identities, so it’s important to listen.
12 years and older
It’s likely that your child might start to outgrow dollhouses at this age. If she’s still interested, she’s probably most interested in the realism of the dollhouse. She’ll like decorating and arranging furniture or creating outfits for the dolls themselves.
Look for something that’s less a toy and more a collector’s piece. Even when she outgrows playing with it, it will be a beautiful conversation piece in her room.
Plastic toys are lightweight and don’t require much investment. The first time your child throws a wooden block at you, you might be tempted to throw out wooden toys for good.
Don’t give up so quickly. As your child matures, the temptation to act out gets more frequent, and wooden toys prove to be more durable. Dollhouses frequently make their way through the hands of successive generations. Plastic isn’t going to hold up.
Wooden dollhouses are durable materials, and many offer responsibly harvested, non-toxic woods with safe paints. You won’t worry about your child playing with the set, or if younger children taste some of the pieces.
Consider your child’s interests, and there’s probably a dollhouse that matches. If your daughter wants to be queen, don’t leave her in the 50’s suburbs. Give her a throne and maybe a drawbridge.
Themes direct your child’s play. A dollhouse can still be open-ended and belong to a theme. However, traditional dollhouses are beautiful tools for pretend and play as well. Each type of dollhouse allows your child to play out scenarios that reflect real-life problems. That is the real value.
The dollhouse is only one part of the equation. Accessories make or break it.
Dollhouses should have options for furniture and ideally different types of people and families. If there’s only one family available or only one basic set of furniture, it might not hold your child’s interest for long.
As your child grows up, other sets of furniture and people keep the dollhouse fresh. Dollhouses explicitly made for small children might seem like a good idea, but they’ll end up in the giveaway pile sooner than you realize.
A dollhouse gives your child a chance to participate in imaginative, open-ended play. As children learn about the world, they play out scenarios that help them learn and discover their personalities.
A dollhouse is an investment that reflects a child’s values and curiosities back to them in a way that is fun and allows them to learn. Don’t be taken in by cheap plastic dollhouses. Wooden play sets give children tactile stimulation and last through the years.
Did you have a playhouse as a kid? What was your favorite part of the house? Let us know in the comments below and if you’ll be getting your child the same or a different style of playhouse.