20. Doll's House
Playing with a doll's house isn’t something only girls can benefit from and enjoy. Boys miss out on many hours of essential social development and emotional learning when they’re excluded from doll's house play.
If you've got a doll's house, you'll know that boys love to play with them as much as girls.
Children recreate scenes from everyday life and try to understand their position in the family and the world. This is a lifetime's work, of course. The subtleties of human interaction are enormously complicated. But as parents we don't have to wait that long to catch a glimpse of our children's thinking.
Even when the play is about fictional characters, it's almost always - on a subconscious level, at least - about the child's own experiences. Observing doll's house play allows you to see what your child understands of power dynamics and gender. Who takes out the bins? Who does the cooking? Whose house is it? It's also a chance for children to enjoy role-playing situations not normally open to them: answering the door to the postman (or a tiger!); going to work; cooking dinner; or, even, putting siblings on time out...
Consider offering a gender-neutral doll’s house, especially one that is pared back and without elaborate features, and you will encourage a greater range of play. It could be a wizard’s lair one day and a treehouse the next.
But whatever kind you go for, you can be sure that your child will love it. And, as an added bonus, it's a great place to store all those dolls.