Welcome home, Mrs. Goodbee
As part of a project called Bloggers Give Back, I was sent a new product to review – a Mrs. Goodbee dollhouse (I’ll get to that in a minute). I was also sent an identical dollhouse to give away to a family in need, with the instruction that my kids should be involved in both the product testing and the donation. It’s fitting, since the whole concept behind Mrs. Goodbee is the idea of, well, being good. And doing good.
The Mrs. Goodbee Dollhouse is produced by Learning Curve, the same company responsible for Lamaze toys, Thomas the Tank Engine wooden railway, The First Years, and other reputable brands for kids. It is an electronic, interactive dollhouse that encourages children to “share and care.”
Setting up the dollhouse was fairly simple, once we got past the packaging. The testing product we received had batteries already installed and the many, many stickers that decorate and detail the dollhouse and its components were already adhered in their proper places. The instructions allude to the fact that this is not always the case, so I’m not sure whether I was just lucky, or the manufacturer had a change of heart.
It is a plastic dollhouse that unfolds to be two-sided, with six rooms on each side, so both of my girls could play with it (ironically without having to negotiate sharing). It comes with three dolls – a girl, a baby and a dog. Throughout the house, different buttons trigger sound effects and singing. In the back of the house, there’s a Good Deed Garden, where kids can earn flower stickers. There is also an online component at caringcorners.com, where kids can register and log their good deeds.
My kids absolutely love it. My mom, a developmental psychologist, took one look at it and said “This isn’t the kind of thing you usually sell.” This is true. Talking dollhouses don’t usually make the cut, since we prefer to let kids guide their own play. But although Mrs. Goodbee can get annoying for the adults, she doesn’t really interfere with the creative flow of the play, and she definitely has kept both of my girls engaged and interested.
I like the clever design of the house and the furniture (available as add-on accessories) has some neat features – like a dining room table with place settings that flip over so you can set and clear the table, or a vanity table with a working lamp. Nonetheless, we haven’t committed to selling it in our store, so if you’re interested, try Amazon.com.
Now, our next step is to find a way to donate the second dollhouse in a way that will create a meaningful experience for our daughters. Anyone have ideas?