Non-toxic Dolls & Dollhouses – Tot Guide
As parents of kids who have ‘DOLLHOUSE’ underlined twice on their wish lists this year, we dove deep into the world of dolls and dollhouses to find options that are non-toxic, engaging, sustainable and most importantly – fun! In this guide, we share our favorite product picks, the benefits of imaginative doll play as well as questions to ask your self when considering a dollhouse.
When it comes to play-based learning, products like dolls, toy high chairs, toy bottles, toy cribs and dollhouses are a fantastic way to encourage children to role-play, which is important for both cognitive and physical development.
With that being said, there are quite a few things to consider when choosing the right dolls, accessories and dollhouses for your child.
In this gift guide we will cover:
- Developmental benefits of doll play
- Questions to ask yourself when choosing a dollhouse
- Materials & chemicals to avoid in kids toys
- Tips for choosing non-toxic & eco-friendly toys
- Our favorite non-toxic doll & dollhouse picks for kids
Scroll down to learn more!
Developmental Benefits of Doll Play
When children play with dolls and dollhouses, they are able to use their imaginations to create scenes and situations that help them understand social norms, process emotions, develop social skills and enable them to discover their sense of self.
The act of caring for a doll or creating a home for a doll family can also help children develop empathy and gain an understanding of their own needs, which will arm them with important life skills.
While there are numerous cognitive benefits from doll play, it’s also great for honing hand-eye coordination, strengthening fine motor skills, encouraging problem-solving and expanding one’s vocabulary.
Fun to do both solo or with friends, doll play can be an activity that helps children practice conflict resolution, master story-telling and sequence events.
Questions to ask yourself when choosing a dollhouse
When it comes to dollhouses, one size does not fit all! Be sure to ask yourself the following questions when choosing a dollhouse.
- What’s it made of?
- Does it contain any toxic materials or chemicals? (More on this very soon!)
- Will it stand the test of time in terms of durability?
- While some parents like building their own dollhouses, we personally don’t want to buy a fixer-upper!
- We also don’t want to add to any landfills.
- How old is the child using it?
- If the child is under the age of three, are there any safety concerns?
- If you’re shopping for an older child, will the accessories and details offer enough of a challenge to hold their engagement?
- Does it include a family of dolls, furniture or any other accessories?
- It’s okay if it doesn’t have everything. This gives children the opportunity to make their own people, furniture and decor!
- How big is it?
- Realistically, is it going to fit in your child’s room or play area?
Materials & chemicals to avoid in toys
At The Tot, we never use or recommend anything that hasn’t passed The Tot Test. This means we’ve looked deep into third-party testing, examined ingredients lists and asked in depth questions about a product’s composition to ensure it’s free of the chemicals we avoid.
When it comes to kids toys, we like to steer clear of the below chemicals because they are all known to cause both short and longterm health problems:
- Bisphenols BPA + BPS
- Lead & other heavy metals
Tips for choosing non-toxic & eco-friendly toys
The great thing about choosing toys that are kinder to our health is that they’re also kinder to the environment.
Below is a list of our tips for what to look for when choosing a non-toxic and eco-friendly toy.
- Avoid plastic toys, especially single-use cheap plastic. An exception here would be toys made from recycled milk jugs or bioplastic.
- Be wary of products that are made of polyurethane foam. These almost always contain flame retardant chemicals.
- Avoid toys that smell. If it smells like plastic it probably is made of PVC/vinyl – a known human carcinogen. If it smells ‘fruity’ the toy probably contains phthalates – known endocrine disruptors.
- Remember, a ‘BPA free’ label can still contain chemicals very similar to BPA and be just as bad since they too mimic your hormones.
- Opt for natural wooden toys that have been sustainably sourced.
- Opt for soft cloth and plush toys that are made without pesticides (ideally organic) and colored with non-toxic dyes.
- Always choose items that have been finished with either water-based, non-toxic paints or non-toxic vegetable dyes.
- If something has a paint or finish, ensure it is Low or No VOC.
- If you’re unable to choose wood or a natural fiber, natural rubber or latex from Hevea trees are a safe alternative.
Our favorite non-toxic doll & dollhouse picks for kids
All Tot Tested and approved, here are our favorite enon-toxic doll and dollhouse picks.
Dolls & Accessories
Handmade using sustainable and renewable rattan, Ellie & Becks doll accessories offer a touch of whimsy to your tot’s doll play as well as a whole lot of style to their room.
Made of 100% cotton, Olli Ella’s Dream Dinkum Dolls will be your little besties’s bestie in no time! Featuring hair that can be styled and a no-fuss laid back attitude, they’ll love riding around in the brand’s rattan Strolley! (Which – fun fact – can transition into a wagon!)
Available in more colors
Made from 100% sustainable and biodegradable natural rubber, EcoBaby Dolls are the truly eco-friendly option you’ve been searching for!
Made of soft cotton, Alimrose’s sweet dolls and accessories are simple, sweet and wonderful for encouraging meaningful role play.
Poppie Toys is one of the OGs of rattan doll accessories and we are here for it! Their cribs, beds and chairs for dolls are seriously so cute, you’ll want your child to play in your living room!
Available in more colors
Available in more colors
This gorgeous wooden doll accessories set from Make Me Iconic includes everything your tot needs to help feed, groom, soothe and play with their very own baby!
If you’re shopping for a lover of simple, sweet and PINK, the Janod Toys Candy Chic range is for you!
All made with FSC certified wood and water-based non-toxic paints, Hape’s doll accessories are a must-have for make-believe. From strolling their tot through the living room to rocking them to bed at night, kids will love getting to
Made in the USA of sustainable Baltic birch and solid North American maple, the Milton & Goose Hudson Dollhouse opens up to reveal the perfect blank canvas for tots to engage in imaginative play!
Inspired by the townhouses the line the streets of Brooklyn, NY, Maquette Kids Dollhouses are made in the USA and offer just the thing kids need for modern and minimalist play time!
Available in different colors and sizes, Babai Dollhouses have magnetic sides that allow kids to be part of the building process!
$41.99 – $44.99
Available in more colors
Guaranteed to earn you the title of BEST GIFT GIVER EVER, Tender Leaf Toys’ range of renewable rubber wood dollhouses offer beautifully detailed interiors that will inspire hours of imaginative play!
The PlanToys Green Dollhouse set is the perfect home for teaching kids about sustainability. From solar panels to windmills, it has everything an off-grid homemaker is looking for.