Green Dollhouses: Separate, But Equal

First came the Eco House by Wonderland Toys. Next up is the Green Dollhouse by Plan Toys. In the company’s own words:

The solar passive designed dollhouse features a wind turbine and a solar cell panel with electrical inverter for generating electricity, a rain barrel for collecting rain, a green facade which helps control the appropriate temperature of the house, and a shade canopy that can be pulled down preventing or allowing the wind and sunlight coming through. Also, recycle bins are included in the set.

Photo of the Plan Toys Green Dollhouse.

You get a master bedroom, children’s bedroom, living room, kitchen, and bathroom. All this for a suggested retail price of $190. Move in furnished for just $240. I chuckle as I write that.

There are just a couple other problems. First, according to the Plan Toys website, the dollhouse is rated for ages 18-months-and-up. But if you want to populate it with the Plan Toys’ Modern Doll Family, well, that family is rated for ages 3-and-up. I hope one is a typo.

Photo of a Plan Toys dollhouse family. The mother and father have orange hair. The daughter is light blond and the son has dark brown hair.

No offense to redheads, but that’s one freaky family.

The second problem is philosophical. Suppose we’re talking about a toy school bus. Do you want a bus designed to carry only children who are wheelchair users? (They do exist.)  Or do you want a bus designed to carry average kids, but also has access for a wheelchair rider? I’d choose the integrated approach, not the separate-but-equal ideology. In fact, the Fisher-Price Little People bus has exactly that, so integrated that Fisher-Price doesn’t even mention on its own website that it comes with a wheelchair. It’s a normal thing. Why mention it? And the chair fits any of the toy characters in the play set.

So, back to dollhouses… why do we need an eco-green dollhouse? Let’s see toy makers give us a regular dollhouse that includes a few new features… solar panels and recycling bins for starters. Add other common ecologically-friendly features as they permeate our culture. Treat this stuff as normal, not an exception to the rule.

And most of all, give up these innovative house designs that don’t resemble anyone’s notion of a traditional house. I’m saying make the damn thing rectangular and boxy, not some hipster chalet.

Disclaimer: My family owns a hipster chalet. I haven’t reviewed it because I prefer to only review products I recommend. There were quality control in the house we bought and it took my daughter a long time to warm up to a two-piece orange-roofed dwelling that doesn’t look like any house she’s ever seen.

We do have a Chalet House of Omelettes near us, but it’s blue and I don’t think that’s the same thing.


5 Responses to “Green Dollhouses: Separate, But Equal”

  1. Stephanie says:

    As a redhead, I’m used to be picked on. I’m more concerned that the Dad has his pants up to his armpits.

    March 11th, 2009 at 5:28 am

  2. KGS says:

    Ah, one more example of the trend of many higher-end toys being designed primarily to appeal to parents, and secondarily to kids. I think most of us fall for it occasionally. I can’t really see that family appealing to anyone, though!

    I agree that more normal-looking houses would appeal more to most kids. But, I also really like the treehouse-style dollhouses, especially for boys, who have a higher probability of rejecting a traditional dollhouse once the bizarre peer pressures of elementary school begin. I expect they’ll continue to enjoy playing with a thinly disguised dollhouse for many years when it’s called a “playset” with “action figures;” my little brother was easy enough to fool with our Star Wars toys. I can’t imagine many school-age boys playing with hipster chalets though, at least not before they become suave, turtleneck-wearing architects in their late 20s.

    March 11th, 2009 at 10:38 am

  3. Dene says:

    I think red hair is beautiful. Who wears it–that’s another topic for discussion.

    March 12th, 2009 at 10:53 pm

  4. seth says:

    The features and style of the Green Dollhouse doesn’t bother me that much. A “regular” dollhouse with some green features may not be quite as exciting. It’s more fun and distinctive to have solar panels and a windmill than to have low flush toilets and a heat pump.

    What bothers me more is the proliferation of “green” products for us to buy and consume. I generally like Plan Toys and some of their products are favorites in our household. But if we’re going to make progress saving our planet, we need to realize that this will not come about as a result of our buying and consuming “green” inspired products. It will only come about once we start buying and consuming less. Do we really want to teach our kids “green” lesson? Then we should not buy them any dollhouse at all or look for a used or hand-me-down dollhouse. A real “green” dollhouse is the one you inherit from a friend, neighbor or relative. There is nothing green about buying a brand new dollhouse (no matter how much bamboo and non-toxic paint it includes) and shipping it across the world.

    March 13th, 2009 at 6:16 am

  5. Candace says:

    We have the Green Dollhouse and I am publishing a review next week (and giving one away). While Seth has a real point about shipping, manufacturing new products, etc., I still think there is a place for eco-themed, eco-friendly children’s toys. And the dollhouse is a big hit with my 2.5 year old.

    April 10th, 2009 at 1:34 pm