The chores are done, the work is put away for the day, and you finally have some time to spend with your kids. But how do you compete with all of the ‘cool’ things they could be doing? There are so many activities and sources of entertainment jockeying for our attention that getting the kids to simply sit down with you for something fun that isn’t a video game or the latest internet sensation can actually feel quaint. But whether your kids understand it or not, sometimes the simple things are the most lasting. If you have any cherished memories of building and designing dollhouses as a child, you know how special that experience can be. It’s a fantastic mother/daughter activity, and if your kids love their dolls there’s no reason you two can’t turn off the technology and use your creativity to build something beautiful. Sure, you could buy a pre-made dollhouse and simply piece it together, but for some special fun that your kids will remember forever, consider designing a dollhouse from scratch together.
First off, make a list of what you and your daughter want to include in a dollhouse. You may want room for a four-poster bed and vanity, while your child may want a pool and garden area. It’s all possible, so make a master wish list which will then inform the rest of your choices. Based on that list come up with the overall size of the structure. Decide how big you want it to be in each dimension, and that will obviously tell you how many rooms it can include. If your daughter already has dolls that will ‘live’ in this house, take their size into consideration, so that each room is scaled correctly for them. The dolls should be able to stand up in a room with a couple inches of head space before the ceiling or next floor begins. But don’t get overwhelmed. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.
The next big decision is how the dollhouse will be accessed. Some open up through the roof, so you just peer through the windows and doors, while others are closed in the front and open in the back, as if one wall is sliced away. More complicated dollhouses slide open in wings, so it can fold out when in use and fold closed again when put away for the night.
Now it’s time to come up with the floor plan. The easiest way to do this is to sketch it out in scale, based on the size of the house. Remember to include all the rooms a standard house would have, but leave spots for the special additions from your ‘wish list’ that make it your own. Multi-level dollhouses will need stairs, and try to make the proportions of the rooms make sense based on what each room is used for. This will be great fun for you and your daughter, especially as you debate what should be included and teach her how to draw things to scale.
Once you have the dimensions in place, it’s time to go back to your wish list again and decide on any special features. What makes this fun, as opposed to buying a pre-made dollhouse, are the unique details that you can include. This may end up a family keepsake, so include things that are important to you. If you have a lot of kids, maybe the kids’ rooms would have bunkbeds. If your family regularly things about environmental sustainability, maybe you want a greenhouse or some indoor waterfalls. Just remember that the best part is all the miniature details that can be explored once the dollhouse is finally constructed.