At Spotty Giraffe we value toys that let a child explore their imagination, helping them to learn and we value toys that a child will go back to again and again.
A dolls house can inspire role play and more importantly children can act out the events that they have encountered meaning they are learning through play.
We have found that both girls and (!) boys enjoy playing with dolls houses and the appeal is long lasting with the dolls house being played with for years. What changes as they grow older is what they act out with the dolls.
The role play can revolve around any of the rooms in the house with dinner and bed times being particular favourites. Or they can get even more adventurous and move house!
History of dolls houses - originally known as baby houses
Dolls houses have been around since the 16th century with the early ones being replicas of large houses built by the wealthy house owner.
At the same time in Germany and Holland wealthy women used the baby house as tool for teaching household management and reinforce the upstairs-downstairs divisions present at the time.
By the mid 1700’s cabinet houses were appearing, these were a cabinet with a house in it. Also doll’s houses as we think of them today were appearing and in 1760 the Tate Baby house was built. This was a grand house where the front opened up and revealed the luxurious interior.
Popularity grew of the dolls house grew in the victorian era but it was not until the first half of the 20th century that they became really popular. The growth began in Germany with a large global collectors market for their houses and miniatures but after the first world war mass production and the fact that they were marketed directly for the use by children lead to an explosion in their popularity.
Over the 20th century this grew to be the dolls houses we now know.
Some dolls houses to visitRecently the V&A Museum of Childhood held an exhibition of the history of the dolls house.
They have a large permanent collection including the Tate baby house.
Probably the most famous dolls house in the country is the Queen Mary’s Dolls house at Windsor castle. This was designed by the famous architect Lutyens. It took 4 years to build is over 1.50m tall and has 16 rooms. It has running water, lighting and books written by Kipling and Conan Doyle on the shelves of the library!
The national trust also have a number of houses to visit.
In the south at Uppark, West Sussex they have the famous Uppark Baby-house (circa 1730) on display.
In Yorkshire at the Nostell Priory they have on display The Nostell Priory Baby-House another Dolls house from he 18th Century.
Our dolls houses
At Spotty Giraffe we have wide range of great wooden dolls houses, dolls and dolls house furniture from Le Toy Van. The range includes:Le Toy Van Mayberry Manor:
[caption id="attachment_2140" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Le Toy Van Sweetheart Cottage[/caption]