Saturday, June 2, 2012

Small World Play: Doll's House

My eldest darling daughter has been a tad on the sick side this week and although she's borne up like a trooper, I wanted to do something a bit special for her. This little project only took an hour total (with plenty of interruptions in there, too) and was made from bits and pieces I had on hand.
Eden loves dolls, doll houses, doll accessories... anything that could be considered 'small world play' and she's all over it! I knew she would appreciate it if I made a house for some of her little dolls (I purchased a pack while ago for $1).

My supplies
I began by turning the shoebox on it's side, with the attached lid lying open and towards me. I stuck some patterned scrapbook paper on three of the inside sides of the box bit to look like wallpaper and added some pictures cut from a home living magazine to be background furniture. To the fourth interior side I glued some felt, for the carpet.

The 'curtains' are just cut from spare tulle
 The 'front garden' is just some green crepe paper glued down to the interior of the lid, decorated with paper flowers, a plastic tree and a masking tape path.

Now for the furniture! Three matchboxes taped partially open make for cosy little beds, and I added some tissue paper blankets on top to pretty it up. Then I just used craft glue to stick the beds onto icy-pole sticks to form triple bunk beds.

The table was made by sticking a rectangle of cardboard covered in foil on top of a building block. The chairs were tricky to make: I actually did a few versions before these. These ones use the bases from tealight candles and  a bit of a paper plate taped to the side to form the back of the chair.

I might attach a velcro tab to open and close the box, and add a handle so that we can take it with us when we go out and about. In the end, the whole thing looked like this:

The best part of all was leaving it open on the kitchen bench and seeing my Eden's face when she saw it!

I guess I would categorise this type of play as small world play. It is a miniature, contained world, focusing on one type of area. For example, you could create a beach scene, or an underwater scene, or a forest scene. It helps kids to fine tune their fine motor skills, as well as providing a starting point for their imaginations!
The only caution I would give is this: please try not to go overboard. Cardboard, paper and matchsticks do not make for enduring playthings. I made this with the expectation that sooner or later the things would break - and that's ok! Naturally, I encourage her to take care of her things, but even so, it will not last forever. To save on stress, don't be precious about your creation, or spend hours on the details. I can tell you firsthand that putting extensive effort and detailing will only make you proud - your child will enjoy it even if the detail is minimal. 
Other ideas for this type of box-small-world-play could be to make a car garage, a fairy castle, a post office, a hospital, a vet surgery.... the opportunities are endless! Use your child's interests and existing little toys as a starting point and see what you can create!
Thanks for reading, and enjoy your weekend! ~ L.


  1. This looks like so much fun! I love the "small world play" idea. Thanks for linking up to Thinky Linky Thursday!
    Lori @ Cachey Mama’s Classroom

    1. Thanks Lori, small world play is always a big hit in our home. :D

  2. This is so cute! What a great idea!

  3. What a great idea!! I love dollhouses and have built several from kits. My daughter has one that I never quite finished that I found in an old pattern from ebay out of cardboard and fabric. They are so much fun. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

    1. Wow Carrie, that sounds amazing! Mine was the result of a good idea (dollhouse) combined with no resources (hello recyclables!). Lol. Thanks for commenting! Hope you have a wonderful weekend! :D


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