Knock, knock. Who's there?
When it comes to dollhouse figures, this is a big one. After all, a dollhouse is only as fun as the people living there.
While some dollhouses come with dolls, most are a bit less well-populated. We spoke with Dr. Susan Scheftel, an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medical Psychology at Columbia University and practicing child psychologist, to put together some guidelines on what makes for great dollhouse people, should you find yourself building a doll community from scratch (or adding a little company for the dolls you have).
Not-so-expert tip #1: Pay attention to size.
How big is the dollhouse or play space you’re buying for?
If you want to avoid a Gulliver’s Travels-style situation, you’re going to want to make sure the dolls are proportional to the dollhouse so they can live and play comfortably in their new digs.
Not-so-expert tip # 2: Go for movable, posable bodies.
“I can’t get the doll to sit in the chair.”
To avoid this and other body-posing catastrophes, opt for a doll with movable limbs. We’re not saying all the dolls need to be yoga ready, but the ability to sit, stand, and hold doll-sized props is a plus.
Not-so-expert tip #3: Avoid the “creepy” factor.
Let’s face it. Some dolls are downright strange looking. Now if that appeals, go for it. But if your kid’s tastes run more friend-next-door Chelsea than horror doll Chucky, steer away from dolls that seem more frightening than fun.
Not-so-expert tip #4: Consider diversifying your (doll) portfolio.
Even if your kiddo's dollhouse comes with dolls, you may want to consider diversifying the offerings.
Doll gender diversity is relatively easy to achieve. Most sets come with boy and girl figures.
But the dollhouse doll world could definitely benefit from increased racial diversity. There is some racial diversity amongst doll families, and we would love to see more.
Think age ain’t nothing but a number? Your little one might not agree, at least not when it comes to dolls. To maximize your kiddo’s play, consider tracking down a doll set with figures from different generations. It’s a lot easier to act out that sleepover at the grandparents’ house if you’ve got a doll or two that actually looks like it might be a grandparent.
Not-so-expert tip #5: Keep it real.
For our recs, we stuck with non-themed dolls.
Dr. Scheftel has a selection of fairy tale-themed dolls in her office, but none of the children play with them in the dollhouse. “No one will touch those,” she said. Turns out those figures are just “too far removed” from the goings on of typical life.
At the end of the day, any doll that engages your child is a great pick. But we’d recommend starting with at least a couple people figures. We love how much freedom a family-next-door set of dolls gives kids to create their own stories.
Here’s some of our favorite doll sets: