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Around 2.8 million Americans use a wheelchair — a number that includes hundreds of thousands of children. Yet, children with mobility issues are rarely represented in the media, let alone when it comes to the toy section.
Mattel wants to change all that. First, they started producing Barbies with wheelchairs, as part of their Fashionistas line in 2019. (The goal of the Fashionistas line is to promote diversity and celebrate the beauty in every skin tone, body size and even physical ability).
But, until recently, these new Barbies would have struggled to reach the top floor of their gorgeous pink Dreamhouse. Although there have been many different styles of the iconic Barbie dollhouse over the years, it was only recently that the Dreamhouse became wheelchair-accessible for dolls with disabilities.
For instance, in the previous Dreamhouse iteration, a Barbie with mobility limitations would not have been to get up to her bedroom or bathroom! There was only room for a standing Barbie.
But with the latest update, Barbie can easily wheel onto her elevator and explore her entire Dreamhouse with no restrictions because of her disability. Pretty cool! Additionally, Mattel will be bringing wheelchair accessibility to Barbie campers and other homes going forward.
The Barbie Dreamhouse is 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide. It has three stories with eight rooms, including a home office, a carport, and a second-floor pool with a slide. It features lights and sounds to add realistic touches; you can make a tea kettle whistle or flush the toilet. The playset comes with 70 pieces total.
Best of all, Mattel hasn’t increased the price on these wheelchair-accessible Dreamhouses, so you don’t have to pay more just for an inclusive toy. Right now on Amazon, Walmart, and Target, this new version of Mattel’s Barbie Dreamhouse is listed at around $179. It has an MSRP of $200, which is the same as previous versions of Barbie’s home.
As an owner of the older (and newer) Dreamhouse, I can tell you the old elevator is neither wheelchair-accessible nor child-friendly, as the pulley constantly gets stuck and pulled off track by tiny hands. (Not mine, my kids. My hands are adult-sized.)
So not only is the updated version more inclusive, but it will likely also hold up better since it is operated by the push of a button rather than pulling. Win-win!
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