Thursday, October 14, 2010

More Christmas shopping (or how to buy wooden dollhouse furniture)

I spent my evening online searching for items to add to Zadie's Christmas wishlist. If I weren't so OCD, this would be an easy task: just add several of the Ryan's Room furniture sets to a list and be done with it. Alas.

We are definitely going with this dollhouse but there are so many cool furniture options and I had to do so much research (because I'm crazy) to make sure everything was a similar enough in scale as to not be ridiculous. The mushroom bathroom is from Enchantmints and the best prices seem to be on Amazon but I bet some of these online retailers will have some wicked cyber Monday sales.

We'll buy the dollhouse locally and also some of the furniture but just in case you're wondering, Plan Toys, Educo, Ryan's Room and the Calico Critters all have a similar enough scale. The verdict is still out on the mushroom stuff but I am going to make it work (I hope Tim Gunn hasn't copywrited that yet). Mama Panda will have a soak in that spa-like tub if it's the last thing I do (we already own the panda family and I have seen the set in person).

Edit: I thought I would add some more info since I have been researching this. While I haven't been able to compare all of the furniture in person, I have called several companies who carry more than one line and have asked them questions. Here is what I know about what else you might find in your searching:

Melissa and Doug - this has a scale of 1:12 or 1/12. So these pieces will fit in any 1:12 scale dollhouse (very common) but the people and the furniture will look a little weird in the houses mentioned above.

The Educo (Hape), Calico Critters, Ryan's Room, Plan Toys and Enchantmints do not technically have a scale and some of the items even within a set may not be true-to-scale. That is not an issue for me but it may be for the realists. (Since pandas don't generally wear clothing, we suspend our disbelief for better play).

Educo (Hape), Ryan's Room, Plan Toys and Enchantmints are made of wood with varying levels of craftsmanship. Educo (Hape) is very green and socially responsible and has the most trendy designs (very Asian styled). Plan Toys is another green company. The furniture is more modern with an additional contemporary collection. Ryan's Room focuses more on the educational aspect of their toys. Most of the furniture is very basic without a lot of paint. Enchantmints is top of the line in craftsmanship and really focuses on the gnome. They are very concerned with the safety of their products.

Calico Critters has sets that are made of HIPS, ABS, and non-phthalate PVC. Some of the stuff is made of wood. Because of that, there is a lot more detail but they are also more period-specific than other brands.

There are certainly other brands out there. I'm not interested in the lines that you can get at the big box stores because we have enough plastic in our house and more importantly, I want to mix and match and play with pandas.

Also, Target carries a line of wooden dollhouse furniture called Play Wonder. It's huge. Don't be fooled by the photos online.

Finally (for now), there are a few brands I know nothing about but have seen them on Amazon including, Le Toy Van (too expensive for my budget but cute, detailed, and well-reviewed - not sure of size), KidKraft (seems like the dollhouses come furnished - also unsure of size), and Pintoys (eco-friendly and adorable - should work with Plan Toys and Ryan's Room).

I will keep adding to this post as I find out more information. Feel free to leave non-judgemental comments.