Dollhouse Shopping Guide [Top Picks and Buy-it-Now Prices]

Because dollhouses are so good at fostering the open-ended play that keeps kids interested, they always make BC’s Toys that Get Played With lists. They’re fabulous toys, but choosing a dollhouse for your child can be overwhelming. There are over 400 dollhouses and accessories on Amazon alone! How can you choose the one that’s best for your child?

This guide will help. It will also clue you in on what price you should pay for the one you choose. Read on!Dollhouse Shopping Guide [Top Picks and Buy-it-Now Prices]

Choosing the Best Dollhouse for your Child, Home and Lifestyle

When choosing a dollhouse, think about the following:

  • Consider your space. Where will you keep it? Where will your child play with it? How much room do you have in your chosen location? Big dollhouses can span four feet wide or more, whereas the smallest can easily fit on a tabletop. If you’re short on space, consider a folding dollhouse or a corner dollhouse.
  • Consider your budget. The prime ages for playing with dolhouses are from about three to age six. That’s a pretty long span for a toy. How much do you want to spend? If the house you want costs more than you want to spend, check consignment sales, consignment stores, Craigslist. etc. for a gently used model.
  • Does the house come with furniture and/or dolls? If the house you choose isn’t furnished, you’ll end up spending more on those little tiny sofas and chairs. Be sure to take the extra cost into consideration.
  • Will it fit dolls your child already has? Little People? Barbie? American Girl? There are dollhouses to fit all sizes. You may want choose a dollhouse that will work with your child’s cherished pals.
  • Do you want plastic or wood? Plastic can be wiped down, but may parents prefer the aesthetics of wood. You may also be able to repair wooden items if they break.

Top Dollhouses

Here are my top dollhouse picks, taking into consideration a variety of needs and wants. I’ve also listed the Buy-it-Now price for each house, and I’ve linked to the item at Amazon so that you can learn more.

If you’re new to my Buy-It-Now price lists, here’s what you need to know: “Buy It Now” (BIN) prices are what I consider “very good” prices on the item. They’re the best sale prices you can expect to find fairly regularly, based on records of previous sales. Don’t confuse these with the current price (although they may be the same) or the “lowest price ever” price. You may be able to beat this price if you happen onto a unusually great sale.

The picks:

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 2.54.33 PMBest deluxe wooden dollhouseKidKraft Majestic Mansion: Top selling dollhouse at both Amazon and Walmart. Assembly required.

  • Dimensions: 51.0 x 14.0 x 52.75
  • Rooms, etc: 4 stories with 8 rooms
  • Furniture and dolls included: 33 pieces of furniture. Dolls sold separately.
  • Additional accessories available? Yes
  • Fits Barbies

List price: $246.99. Buy-it-Now price: $145

Note: You really can’t go wrong with a KidKraft dollhouse. If buying for the holidays, be sure not to wait until the last minute to assemble the house. Some of them can take a while. For extra savings, check out the very similar Imaginarium dollhouses.

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 2.55.41 PMBest if you’re short on space: Melissa and Doug Folding Princess Castle

  • Dimensions: 27″ x 15.25″ x 17.5″
  • Rooms, etc: 2 stories, 5 rooms
  • Furniture & dolls included: 6 pieces of furniture, princess, prince, 2 horses
  • Additional accessories available? Yes

List price: $49.99. Buy-it-Now price: $35 (Currently at BIN price at Amazon)

Note: Also comes in gender-neutral gray.

See also: Fisher-Price Loving Family Dollhouse. It also folds.

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 2.56.34 PMBest for toddlers: Fisher-Price My First Dollhouse. Ages 2 and up

  • Dimensions: 22.25″ x 9.125″ x 16.0″
  • Rooms, etc: 3 stories, 5 rooms
  • Furniture & dolls included: mom, dad and baby figures and a few interior items–kitchen, table, chairs, etc.
  • Additional accessories available? Yes

List price: $40. Buy-it-Now price: $35

See also: Fisher-Price Little People Happy Sounds Home

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 2.57.03 PMBest eco-friendly: Hape All Season Dollhouse. Solid wood construction with child-safe paint finish. Gender neutral.

  • Dimensions: 23.6″ x 11.8″ x 28.9″
  • Rooms, etc: 3 stories, 6 rooms
  • Furniture & dolls included: four room sets: Master Bedroom, Family Bathroom, Media Room and Kitchen. Dolls sold separately
  • Additional accessories available? Yes

List price: $199.99. Buy-it-Now price: $125 (Currently at BIN price at Amazon)

See alsoPlan Toys The Green Dollhouse with Furniture

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 2.57.56 PMBest Plastic: Fisher-Price Loving Family Dollhouse

  • Dimensions:  25.6″ x 9″ x 16″
  • Rooms, etc: 4 stories, 6 rooms
  • Furniture & dolls included: Mom, Dad, Baby, sofa and baby seat
  • Additional accessories available? Yes
  • Requires 2 AA batteries
  • Folds for storage

List price: $69.90. Buy-it-Now price: $49

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 2.58.47 PMBest for 18″ Dolls (American Girl, etc.): KidKraft Elegant Doll Manor with Furniture for 18″ Dolls

  • Dimensions:  47.7″ x 19.5″ x 65.5″
  • Rooms, etc: 4 stories, 4 rooms
  • Furniture & dolls included: 12 pieces of furniture
  • Additional accessories available? Yes

List price: $338.99. Buy-it-Now price: $210

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 2.59.56 PMBest Gender-Neutral: Kidkraft Deluxe Fire Rescue Set

  • Dimensions:  30″ x 17.5″ x 25″
  • Rooms, etc: 4 stories, 4 rooms
  • Furniture & dolls included: 22 pieces of furniture, 3 firefighters, helipad and helicopter, Garage with ambulance and fire truck
  • Additional accessories available? No

List price: $150.99. Buy-it-Now price: $100

See also: Hape All Season Dollhouse

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 3.03.12 PMBest Dollhouses with a twist:

Like to DIY? You can also make your own dollhouse from boxes, bookcases and more. See my DIY Dollhouses Pinterest board for inspiration?

Finding Scary-Good Deals on Second-Hand Halloween Costumes

Halloween costumes don’t get a lot of wear, so it’s pretty easy to find great deals on gently used costumes on the second-hand market, especially if you start looking NOW. In fact, you may be able to get your child’s costume for free!

Here are my best tips for saving 50% or more on Halloween costumes for babies, kids and toddlers:

  • Costumes often don’t change much from year to year. Start your search by browsing new costumes online and choosing a few favorites to hunt for on the second hand market.
  • The Baby Cheapskate Baby Gear, Toy and Coupon Exchange (nearly 5,000 members strong!) is a great place to hunt for gently used costumes and unload outgrown ones. Type “Halloween” and/or “costume” into the search function to bring up all costume-related posts.
  • Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 9.44.04 AMCheck your local Freecycle board for freebies. Mine had a few when I looked this morning. If you don’t see anything, post a “wanted” message and see if anyone responds.
  • Find local swap events near you by Googling the name of your town or county and “costume swap”. by Googling the name of your town or county and “costume swap
  • Finding Scary-Good Deals on Second-Hand Halloween CostumesYou might also organize a costume swap with friends, your neighborhood, church, or preschool. You could do it via email or get together in real life.
  • If you don’t mind a little hunting, thrift stores and consignment sales are great places to score costumes on the cheap. Start shopping thrift stores now for the best selection. There are probably some consignment sales near you this weekend. Find them at sites like Kids Consignment Sales or Consignment Mommies.
  • Call your local consignment stores to see if they have any in stock. They might cost a little more there, but they’ve been checked over more carefully than some of the other second-hand sources.
  • There are lots of costumes on Craigslist right now. eBay.com is a great place to look, too. Each has its plusses and minuses. With Craigslist, you’ll have to arrange to pick up the costume from the seller. On eBay you’ll have to contend with bidding or buy it now and possibly pay a higher price. I searched for  two popular toddler costumes– the bumblebee and the dragon– on Craigslist and eBay to see what I could scare up: The Bumblebee was as low as $8 on my local Craigslist. On eBay, it was as low as $12.99 in the Buy it Now section. The Dragon was as low as $15 on Craigslist and as low as $8.95 on eBay.

Keep in mind that you can also use these sources after Halloween to recoup some of your costume costs.

Related posts:

8 at $30 or Less: Handmade Kids’ Halloween Costumes from Etsy

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 4.42.13 PM8 at $30 or Less: Handmade Kids' Halloween Costumes from Etsy

If you’re looking for a handmade Halloween costume and don’t want to DIY, try Etsy.com, where a recent search for “Halloween Costumes” turned up over 6,000 results. Here are a few of my favorites for $30 or less. Order early, as some are made to order!

Looking for the perfect accessory to round out your own creation? There are tons of cute crocheted hats, custom tees and onesies, leather booties, tutus (a gazillion of them) and more at Etsy.

The Halloween Costume Shopping Secret Retailers Don’t Want You to Know [Updated]

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 3.49.47 PMIf you’re like me, you’ve already received a few Halloween costume catalogs in the mail from retailers like BuyCostumes.com or Party City. Take a look at them, and you might notice something weird.

The costumes are the same. The photos are the same. In fact, a handful of costume manufacturers are behind 80% of the costumes you see out there. Knowing that will allow you to save big, because although the costumes are the same, the prices are not.

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 3.51.46 PM

Take the toddler Captain America costume shown here. It’s distributed by a company called Buy Seasons. The photo top left is from OrientalTrading.com, where it’s $20.77 right now. The image at right (hauntingly familiar, eh?) is from Target.com, where the same costume is on sale for a low $15.97. As of this writing, it’s $19.99 at BuyCostumes.com, $22.09 at Kmart.com, $24.28 at Amazon and $21.24 at Kohls.com. Walk into other retailers and you’ll see the same costumes on the racks.

The lesson? When you see the costumes you (or your kids) want, don’t buy them then. Find the brand name (look for something capitalized), Google it, and do some bargain shopping. Many stores are offering discounts of up to 30% right now on costumes and free shipping to boot.

Some stores, like Disney Store and Pottery Barn Kids have more unique costumes that aren’t carried everywhere, so keep that in mind, too.

(Of course for the best bargains, there’s still time to shop your favorite second hand sources–kiddie consignment stores, Craigslist, ebay, thrift stores, and even Freecycle.)

The Early Shopper’s Guide to Halloween Costume Savings

The Early Shopper's Guide to Halloween Costume SavingsIt’s early September, and you’ve probably noticed that the Halloween costumes are already out at many stores. Should you buy now? Wait until later? When can you expect the best deals?

Here’s an early shopper’s guide to Halloween costume savings. Enjoy!

  • If you like the idea of a handmade costume but don’t think you can do it yourself, check Etsy.com for handmade costumes for less. Etsy also offers lots of accessories to spice up costumes that you may be making or buying. Search for “Halloween Costumes” to find thousands of offerings. Order early.
  • Start watching your local Freecycle.org board now for costume freebies.
  • Try ebay.com for good deals on second-hand costumes.
  • Start shopping consignment stores and thrift stores now for the best selection. Checking in at your local Craigslist board’s not a bad idea either. Used costumes are a great savings. After all, most kids only wear them once or twice.
  • Want a new costume? Do your research now, but wait until you can save at least 30% to buy (25% off if you’re shopping at DisneyStore). Start by making a list of possibilities and scout out a few retailers that carry your top picks. Write down the prices, and make your target price about 70% of full price (or less). Then keep an eye out for sales
  • If you like shopping flash sale sites like Zulily, keep an eye out there for costumes there. I’ve already started seeing them. Be sure to take shipping charges and shipping dates into consideration.
  • When should you buy? We should start seeing deeper discounts on costumes soon. Look for 25% to 40% off online. Retailers will also offer shipping deals and extra savings via coupon codes to help move their wares.
  • Procrastination means better prices, but less selection. Wait until mid-October to buy a costume and you’ll find prices of around 40% off.

Readers, Share your advice below! Do you make your own costumes? If so, what are some easy ones to make? Do you buy your child’s costume? How much do you pay? Where do you find the best deals?

Free Shipping at Gymboree Today [Plus 40% Off]

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 9.44.38 AMShipping is free today only at Gymboree.com. Use coupon code DAYOFF at checkout. Add that savings to their Labor Day Sale–40% off site-wide with clearance items up to 70% off.

See more Labor Day Sales

40% Off and Free Shipping at The Children’s Place [Labor Day Sale]

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 9.35.06 AMTake 40% off your order at The Children’s Place online with coupon code SAVEFORTY3 today only.

Basic denim is just $7.20 after coupon. The clearance section’s still chock full of tees, shorts and more, as well.

Shipping is free on all orders today, too.

See more Labor Day Sales

28% off Britax B-Ready this Weekend [Other Britax Strollers On Sale, Too]

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 9.32.18 AMHere’s your chance to get the Britax B-Ready stroller at 28% off. It’s $359.99 at Amazon and other retailers (AlbeeBaby.com, for instance).

Other Britax strollers are also on sale.

Related:

See more Labor Day Sales

 

27% to 29% Off BOB Revolution this Weekend

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 9.16.23 AMBOB Revolution strollers are on sale this weekend at Amazon and other retailers.

I’m seeing this sale at other retailers, too. AlbeeBaby.com has the same prices, for example.

Related: 30% Off Britax Marathon G4, 28% Off Boulevard, More

See more Labor Day Sales

30% Off Britax Marathon G4, 28% Off Boulevard, More

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 9.03.23 AMAwesome! I wasn’t expecting to see a big discount on Britax seats so soon after the last sale.

I’m seeing this sale at other retailers, too. AlbeeBaby.com has the same prices, for example.

I haven’t seen any expiration dates on this sale, but I’m guessing it’s this weekend only.

Related: 27% to 29% Off BOB Revolution this Weekend

See more Labor Day Sales