Not all dollhouses are created equal, and their looks are not deceiving. A dollhouse’s color and construction convey its intended audience, which is why little boys tend to stay away from those that are pink and pretty.
But, should they steer clear of dollhouses altogether? Not necessarily.
Dollhouses make for great storage spaces. Toys kept in their proper places are seldom lost or damaged; for children, this means more playtime and less clean-up.
Dollhouses — aside from their size — are surprisingly lifelike. And, with so many stay-at-home dads in this day and age, boys can get all the practice they need by playing with these miniature dwellings.
Whether putting a baby doll down for his afternoon nap or tending to an imaginary garden, surely, they can learn something about raising a family or maintaining a home.
What about the boy who likes dolls? What about him? He ought to be free to play with whatever and whomever he chooses.
But, the moment he begins to wonder if — or even assume that — he will grow to look like Barbie’s longtime on-again, off-again boyfriend, Ken, it becomes time for dad to get involved.
Open, two-way communication is crucial. After all, girls and women are not the only ones who struggle with body image. Sooner or later, boys need to know that no amount of steroids or surgery will guarantee Ken-like results. And, who better to hear this from than their fathers?
Fortunately for boys, not all dollhouses were specially made for Barbie and her female friends. PlanToys, Inc. manufactures a wide variety of gender-neutral dollhouses, as well as plenty of dolls, furniture, and accessories.
So, what about the boy who wants a dollhouse, but is unhappy with those sold in stores? With a little help from dad, he can assemble a dollhouse of his very own, thereby reinforcing his hand-eye coordination and woodworking skills.
Depending on his age and environment, he may prefer to completely disregard the toy-specific name of his creation and call it a house instead. Either way, a dollhouse designed with a little boy in mind — particularly, one who plays an active role in putting it together — will prove to be inherently masculine, both inside and out.
And, the quality time spent with his son will make dad happy, too.
Image credit: Melodi T
Jared Scott Tesler is a Rochester-area freelance writer.