Reinventing the children’s toyhouse
The toyhouse is a staple in the world of kids toys and has been enjoyed by children throughout the world for hundreds of years. However in recent years, the toyhouse has somewhat stagnated, designs often rehashing the same pitched roof suburban style house and made using plastic, a material which is damaging the environment. House 4 House aims to reinvent the toyhouse, using sustainable materials and designs inspired by building from around the world, breathing new life into this classic toy.
You can order a House 4 House Tropical Set here, and start building a toyhouse of your own.
The importance of the toyhouse across history
Toyhouses and dolls houses have been enjoyed throughout history. Early versions of toyhouses have been found as far back as 1600s. Germany was the centre of the early toyhouse industry, producing some of the most elaborate toy dolls houses. These toys were miniature worlds, including tiny building materials, furniture and characters. These kinds of dolls houses represented the ways of building at the time, reflecting housing styles and ways of living. The toyhouse was even used for educational purposes, in some cases even used to teach young woman about how to be a lady of the manor.
These toyhouses were incredibly intricate and well made, with pieces built by hand by highly skilled crafts people. The most famous toyhouse is arguably Queen Mary’s dolls house, a magnificently detailed toy that even included a miniature books and working silver taps!
The importance of the toyhouse has been acknowledged in multiple shows and exhibitions and plays. The toyhouse is a particularly special toy as they capture a part of the history and how people lived.
The toyhouse market today
Sadly today the toyhouse has become a little stuck. The market has become dominated by plastic based toys, lacking the craft of the earlier toyhouses. Plastic toys present a large environmental issue, with over 90% of childrens toys made from plastic and typically entering the waste stream after 10 years. Plastic can take hundreds of years to decompose, and more and more of it is entering our water ways and polluting our oceans.
House 4 House leading a growing number of toy designers that are looking for alternatives to plastic . House 4 House sets use no plastic and all parts are made from natural materials. House 4 House is also bringing the craftmanship back into the toyhouse. Each House 4 House set is hand finished in Portugal, creating beautiful pieces that are great to hold and play with.
You can find out more about how House 4 House sets are made here:
A toyhouse inspired by ways of building from around the world
Dolls houses and toyhouses available on the market today represent a very small amount of the world and how we live. Toyhouses are typically based on a surburban style, pitched roof design seen mostly in temperate climates in high income countries. House 4 House sets aim to teach children about different ways of building a house from around the world. Each set contains building parts, characters and guides to help kids build their own toyhouse based on different climates. Our first set is based on tropical architecture, buildings where it is typically very hot, humid and rainy. House 4 House takes typical tropical architecture guidelines and simplifies them for children. House 4 House pieces can be combined in a endless number of ways, so kids can build build anything from houses inspired by traditional tropical architecture or more contemporary houses.
You can learn more about building a tropical toyhouse with a House 4 House set here.
Explore and learn through building your House 4 House toyhouse
Building is a great way for children (and adults too) to develop their creativity and spatial understanding. House 4 House sets allow children to create their own toyhouse and in doing so experiment and learn. Each toyhouse is large enough for House 4 House characters and other toys to be incorporated. House 4 House sets support learning through open ended play, which numerous studies show supports childrens cognitive development.
Building toyhouses doesn’t have to stop when you grow up. Adults build and use miniature houses too. Architects use model making, creating miniature buildings, to develop their ideas and communicate it to clients. Model making is as old as architecture itself, and architects have been making miniature buildings as early as 4600BC.
House 4 House understands how important experimenting through model making is as it was started by four architects who wanted to teach children about different ways of building around the world. The House 4 House team believe models are such a powerful way to communicate ideas inpart because they appeal to our inner child and our memories as children playing with toyhouses. House 4 House sets encourage children to think outside the box and make their own add ons from everyday materials and objects around the house.
You can follow and share your own creations @house4house hacks on our Instagram or on our Facebook.
Help build a real house for every toyhouse sold
House 4 House believes toyhouses can be a force for positive change. House 4 house has partnered with micro finance platform Kiva and committed to donate ⅓ of our profits to support people making improvements to their homes and businesses. This means that every house 4 house toyhouse bought helps a real building project around the world. You can kind out more about this and discover projects we are supporting through Kiva here.
You can order you House 4 House sets here and start building your own Tropical toyhouse today!