Playhouses For Kids

by Emma_Lee

A Mom's guide on how to choose the perfect kids playhouse for your backyard.

It's not as simple as just going to a store and buying a playhouse and putting it up in your backyard. Oh no. Because there are literally hundreds of different designs to choose from, and features to explore. I am here to hold your hand and guide you through the options available, so you can be sure you're buying the perfect playhouse.

Permanent vs Temporary

Do you want a playhouse that gets left out in the backyard all the time, or one you can put away and get out as needed?

Do you want the playhouse to be a permanent feature in your backyard or something that only comes out on special occasions?

Wooden playhouses are there to stay once erected.

Plastic playhouses can be dismantled, stored over winter or harsh weather, and re-erected quite easily each year.

Canvas tents or inflatable houses will need to be taken down at the end of every day then put up again when desired.

Things to consider:

  • Permanent structures will last longer, be more strudy, withstand rougher play.
  • Permanent structures will be more expensive.
  • Be honest with yourself - will you grow weary of putting up a temporary house every time the kids ask for it, or will  you be happy to do the 10 minutes work.
  • Do your kids ignore toys that are out all the time? Mine do. Large toys that are always around get overlooked by my kids, as they see them as part of the furniture, but something that gets put away, forgotten about then brought out again a few weeks later holds far more appeal for them. But that's just my kids - yours may prefer toys that are out all the time and are familiar to them.

Cozy vs Open

An enclosed cozy cottage or an bright open plan structure?

There are two basic designs of playhouse:

Enclosed - these look most like a house, with enclosed walls, windows and a door, like the Step 2 Naturally Playful Welcome Home. Kids love them because they can shut themselves in and be in their own little house. However, they can be a little dark inside which will put off some kids, and it's not always easy to see what the little tinkers are getting up to inside.


Open plan - these tend to have a rood supported by pillars, rather than enclosed walls, like the very popular Step 2 Neat and Tidy Cottage. These are bright and airy, welcoming, and parents can see inside from plenty of angels, making it easy to keep an eye on the play.

Blue link will take you to product page where you can find more info or explore alternatives
Step2 Neat & Tidy Cottage
$199.99  $147.45
Step2 Naturally Playful Welcome Home ...
Only $649.99

Neutral vs Gender Specific

Do you want to appeal to the masses or wow one child?

Do you want to pick a playhouse that is designed especially with girls (or boys) in mind, or pick something that is gender neutral?


Things to consider:

  • Are you having any more children? If you have a toddler girl but are planning more kids, a baby boy won't be too happy playing in an exceedingly pink playhouse.
  • Do you entertain a lot of kids at your home? Do you want to have girls and boys share the playhouse?
  • Or will a bright pink and super-girly construction make your daughter squeal with delight?

Buying A Playhouse In The UK

If you are shopping in the UK all these dollar signs are not much use to you are they?

You can use this plastic playhouses price comparison site to help you find a great deal online, for UK delivery.

Updated: 05/04/2012, Emma_Lee
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