We watch our children play and try to encourage their natural interests. So although we are opposed to typical gender stereotyping, we don’t discourage them when things play out in that direction. My son loves reading time. My daughter prefers to be active with pretend play. She collects animals or toy people and plays family, complete with the ‘mother’ voice (is that what I sound like?).
So, I decided she might like a doll or play house for her third birthday. Something both our son and daughter will enjoy. Our children usually receive small and inexpensive gifts from us, so I wanted to research this.
I did not have any supplies on hand to make one, I’d used all our pallet wood and odds and ends in building the piggy house, nor did the local charity shop have something I might repurpose (and old bookcase could easily be converted to a play house). Local online buy and sell sites did not yield anything suitable for us either.
This is what we ended up with and here is why I picked it.
Local. I met the man who made it. His name is Chris. He seems to have a genuine love of wood working and encouraged the kids to play with his range of toys when we visited his market stall. He was friendly and approachable.
Plain and simple. Kids are creative when they are allowed space to be creative. I see this as an opportunity to create furniture and things like solar panels and grey water systems with the kids. Not only will it provide them with some creative license and control (and get my creative juices flowing) it will encourage us to make do with items from what we have on hand and talk about the things we make. It will be our unique play house.
It’s not pink. It’s gender neutral. As a parent of a son and daughter very close in age I endeavour to buy gender neutral products. Not only is there environmental reasons why I do this, my husband and I are opposed to gender stereotyping our children. I don’t hate pink, just what it can represent when it comes to kids, toys and marketing. If my son or daughter chooses to play with their pink unicorns in the play house, I’m totally okay with that.
It’s not plastic. Some plastic items seem to last a million years while others plastic items become brittle and break at the drop of a hat. Wooden toys are a renewable resource, they provide enjoyment to the wood crafter, smell better and are often sturdy. An important feature for play things. We could also paint this in future if we wanted to.
It’s not teeny. In the process of researching doll houses I saw dozens which were miniature in design. Given my children are young I was looking for something that was not too delicate and large enough to really draw them in.
The price was right. I’m not saying it was cheap. Nor do I think it was expensive. It was a fair and appropriate price for the work involved in creating it. It was suitable for an item my kids will enjoy for many years, and hopefully many children after them will value it too.
The people and some of the furniture you see pictured were given to my daughter from her grandparents once they had heard we had the doll house. They found wooden pieces that were created sustainably. Top effort Nanny and Poppy. Some other pieces were items we had on hand and the kids have enjoyed for a few years. I love the ironing board, vacuum cleaner and washing machine. I find all sorts of things crammed into that washing machine. You’d be surprised how many pebbles fit in there. Besides, housework is all part and parcel of having a house.