I was planning on spending quite a bit on a wooden dolls' house for my daughter for Christmas. She'll be 3 and likes to play with little people.
However, on another thread it has been suggested to me that this will be a waste of money, she'll not play with it, and maybe Sylvanian Families would be better.
I had a quick look at Sylvanian Families, these not having come my way before, and it looks like a total minefield. But I have absorbed two points: it's very expensive, and it's very possibly a load of cheap plastic tat.
I would welcome advice from anyone who has already negotiated this maze. I really want to get her something big for Christmas because she's a bit in the shadow of her older brother, who has a tendency to appropriate all toys for himself.
Playmobil do some nice dollshouses. My DD is getting this for Xmas. But they do bigger more elaborate ones. All the little bits and pieces that come with them can be fiddly, but the kids seem fascinated.
She's probably a bit small yet for Lego, but they also do some lovely house building kits.
Oh and on playdates I have seen just as many boys play with dollshouses as girls so your plan of keeping big brother out might not work!
I had Sylvanian Families as a child and adored them. I played with them for years, and they are actually very good quality - we pulled them out of the loft for dd and after a wash look as good as new, so whilst they are expensive I think we got our money's worth! They are also good in that you can add to whatever you've got - my sister and I had a whole town!
Saying that though, dd also has a doll's house at my parents that gets a lot of use and some playmobil (a lot of it also rescued from the loft ) and she loves that too so any option will probably go down well.
Sylvanians don't need to live in Sylvanian houses - DD's colony had a wide variety of living spaces in a village under her cabin bed, including my own childhood wooden doll's house. She did have some of the 'official' ones, mostly Christmas & birthday presents from grandparents, including the windmill and the canal boat. We also picked up several the 'basic' houses for about 50p at car boot sales, often with an assortment of furniture included. I found the official Sylvanians stuff to be good quality, most of it is stored in the loft for potential grandchildren, though there are lots of small bits which might be difficult for a three year old to manage - DD's Sylvanians phase started when she was about 5, I think.
Playmobil and Sylvanian families are both labeled age 4+ on the box, and for good reason. They are very fiddly with lots of tiny pieces which will drive you mad, and your DD will be forever asks you to fix things for her.
My DD is 4 and still struggles with playmobil. She has a few sylvanian characters sitting undressed in the toy box, the tiny clothes long since discarded or lost, because she can't dress them herself.