I wanted to share with you my Fold Out Doll House! This project has been a loooong time in the making! When I started out working with children I was in a contracted school based position and needed to travel between several schools. I definitely didn’t have the budget to buy multiple houses for one office let alone 2 or 3.
I scoured stores and the internet for foldable doll houses and doll house books, but came up pretty empty handed. I then transitioned into a nonprofit position that had a semi-stocked Playroom so the project went on the shelf.
After that when I transitioned to private practice I now needed to stock my own Playroom and had the tiniest office I had ever been in. They literally built it out of a small waiting room so I could join the practice and at the end of the day I was ecstatic to join, buuuuttt I knew I needed to get creative. I spent hours trying to make both furniture and a play space fit. I literally had ½ inch to spare from the end of my couch to the next piece of furniture.
I ended up purchasing a house like this one HERE at Fleet Farm. This is one of my favorite seasonal places to shop for pretty inexpensive toys. I would pop the house up before sessions and take it down and store it behind a shelf during my non Play Therapy sessions.
If you check it out you can see where some of the problems may come up. It is completely gendered and was a bit of a pain to set up and down. I didn’t think it had the permissiveness for my male clients and they definitely gravitated towards it less than the ones I have now.
My other dilemma with houses is that you need two. This is VERY important so children with two homes can play out themes related to transitions, divorce, etc. This isn’t the only reason however, two homes can help give children the space to process other dynamics such as moving homes, visiting friends (or conflict) in their neighborhood, being away from parents over night, and the list could go on!
The houses I have now are gender neutral and wooden. At $100 - $200 per house it is definitely an investment in your Playroom. As therapists are problem solving with COVID-19 I came back to the design that had been mulling around my head since the early days to send out in my Portable Playroom. They would also be excellent in office as they are easily to wipe down!
Sooo, in comes the solution of the printable doll houses! Check out my FREE download of my Pop Up House HERE! When designing this I went back and forth between having pictures of furniture vs. blank walls. Due to these going into kits (with limited furniture included) I thought adding pictures of furniture would make for richer play.
I also was also intentional with what rooms should be included. I created a kitchen/dining room, living room, and bedroom. This ensures that there are the rooms needed to play out eating, sleeping, and toileting difficulties if needed.
After you print out the four sheets there are instructions of what sheets go back to back. You will be left with two sheets (back and front) that you will laminate. Then, cut along the dotted line, scissor together, and set up! I didn’t tape the cut lines, however you certainly could.
The other fantastic thing is that if you are in need of an additional house this is a really easy and nearly free thing to create, which is amazing if you have multiple offices! They also fold flat for SUPER easy storage and they are perfect for sticking in a tote bag or cart!
Get the FREE download HERE!
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I'm Ann Meehan, an LPCC,