Best Playhouses for Kids
A playhouse gives your child a place of his or her own and a place to let his or her imagination run wild. The best playhouses for kids are meant to grow with your child. They are durable enough to withstand years of use. They are also large enough to accommodate an older child or groups of kids all at once. Here’s what to look for in a playhouse for your kids.
10 Best Playhouses for Kids in the UK this Year
The BillyOh Bunny Tower Children’s Wooden Playhouse 6 x 5 is a wooden, raised tower playhouse. The playhouse is made from pre-treated wooden panels that are meant to be able to withstand life outdoors. It has four windows, a solid sheet material floor and roof and black roof felt.
The playhouse is elevated off the ground, which can make it particularly exciting for kids to play in. It also offers older kids a place to hide away.
- Wood is pre-treated
- You can customise the look of the playhouse by painting it or leave the wood as it is
- Roof felt helps to provide additional protection against the elements and improves the durability of the house
- The open layout of the playhouse is ideal for encouraging imaginative play in kids
- You need to assemble the playhouse yourself, which can take a few hours, depending on how handy you are (or aren't)
- Playhouse is elevated and includes a short ladder for climbing into it
- The ladder can prove tricky for younger kids to use
- The playhouse is intended for children over age three
- Playhouse is on the large size (155.6cm by 169.9cm), which might not be ideal for smaller backyards or gardens
- It's not meant for indoor use
The LIVEBOX Foldable Pop Up Children Playhouse wins for most versatile playhouse style. It’s available in tipi, car, police car, or truck shapes. A fabric playhouse, it’s most appropriate for indoor use, although you could take it outside to use on a deck or patio.
A highlight of the pop-up playhouse is that it’s meant to be filled with toys, such as balls, so that your little one can play on his or her own for hours.
- Lightweight and foldable
- easy to pack up the playhouse and take it with you on family trips
- Designed for indoor or outdoor use
- Comes in fun shapes that will appeal to youngsters
- No real assembly required
- Small size makes it ideal for smaller homes
- Intended for toddlers and isn't large enough to accommodate bigger or older children
- Not weather resistant
The Prince or Princess Palace Castle Children Play Tent is another fabric pop-up playhouse designed mainly for indoor use. You can bring it outdoors for short periods. The pop-up castle measures 105 by 105 by 135 cm and is ideal for toddlers or smaller children.
The playhouse comes with a zippered carrying case, so that you can fold and pack it up and take with you on family vacations or when your child goes to visit a friend or relative.
- appealing to young children
- looks like a magical fairy or prince/princess castle
- Made of a waterproof polyester that is easy to wipe down or clean
- Children can bring their toys into the playhouse or fill the playhouse with balls to create a ball pit
- Easy to pack up the castle to bring on trips
- The tent is made of fabric and is supported by poles
- Playhouse has limited use and won't appeal to older children
- It's recommended for ages three and up
- Construction is somewhat flimsy
- The poles can poke children if the tent isn't put together correctly
If your children often begs for a gingerbread house a Christmas, the Large Colour Your Own Gingerbread House Children’s Playhouse might be a good compromise. It doesn’t contain the sugar of a real gingerbread house, but your kids can spend hours decorating it.
At 92.5 cm (3 feet) tall, and 72 cm by 50cm, the house is made out of recycled cardboard, so it’s not the most durable playhouse ever created. The cardboard material does make it easy for your child to dress up the house. She or he can paint it, use markers or crayons, or add stickers and glitter.
This Gingerbread house is the perfect present for any child at Christmas thanks to the winter decorative feel.
- Easy assembly
- Cardboard is 100 percent recycled
- Encourages children to be creative and to use their imagination
- Small size may be appropriate for smaller homes
- Perfect size for 2 children
- Small size limits the appeal of the playhouse
- Not waterproof
- Christmas themed - might not appeal to families who don't celebrate Christmas
The BillyOh Bunny Max Tower Children’s Wooden Playhouse is similar to the BillyOh Bunny Tower mentioned above, but it has a slide.
The playhouse is 2.31 x 1.69 x 2.12 m and although it may be more suited to larger gardens, it is on a raised platform. It features a single room with four windows and slide which connects to the outside platform and offers children a fun way to exit the playhouse.
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- The addition of the slide makes the playhouse extra fun for kids
- Large room with plenty of space for furniture and toys
- Wood construction
- customisable the wood with paint or leave it as is
- Wood is treated and is weatherproof
- Assembly can take hours
- Although instructions are clear, assembly does require specialised tools
The YANX 3 in 1 Kids Pop Up Tent Canvas Play Tent is made out of polyester fabric, which is waterproof and resists tears. It has a pop-up design and can be folded and packed away for storage or transport. The playhouse comes with a zippered carrying case, so you can bring it along to the beach, to picnics or to visit friends and family.
The pop-up playhouse consists of three pieces, including a short tunnel, a square tent and a play tent. You can use the pieces together or individually. The playhouse is ideal for younger children and helps to develop creativity and imagination by encouraging them to explore.
- Easy to set up and pack away for storage
- Ideal for travel
- helps Motor skills development
- Encourages independent play and imagination
- Can be used with balls to create a small ball pit
- Pieces can be used together, or on their own
- Designed for kids ages six months and up
- Might have limited appeal to older children
- Not intended for long-term outdoor use
- "Pop up" feature can be alarming
The Chestnut Wooden Pre-Painted Tower Playhouse with Slide is made of thick-cut fir wood. It includes an injection moulded plastic slide and ladder, making it easy for kids to climb into the playhouse and get out quickly. The wood is pre-stained, which limits your customisation options but also means you don’t have to treat it yourself.
The playhouse includes two windows and a barn-style door, as well as barn style shutters on the windows.
- Assembly is required, but doors and windows come pre-assembled to help simplify the process.
- The ladder has wide steps and a safety tread to help prevent slips and falls
- Barn door and shutters have soft-close magnets to prevent accidental pinches and to help them close securely
- Inside of playhouse measures 117 cm by 138 cm
- Wood is thick-cut and designed to withstand the weather, allowing for years of use
- Barn door doesn't fully fit the frame, meaning rain/snow can get into the house
- Instructions can be difficult to decipher, especially if you're not handy
- May not be suited to smaller gardens
If you’re looking for a sturdy, plastic playhouse, consider the Children’s Garden Happy House. Made of durable polypropylene, it features bright, primary colours and has two windows and a door.
The playhouse has an open design, so you can see into the house from all four sides. A red plastic roof helps keep rain and other elements out.
- Bright colours are appealing to young children
- Can be used both outside and indoors
- can be used in smaller gardens
- Helps to encourage independent and creative play in children over the age of two
- Plastic construction means it's easy to keep clean and there is no risk for splinters
- Assembly is required, but no tools are needed
- Plastic construction may look cheaper than wooden
- Roof leaks when it rains
The Little Tikes Cape Cottage is another all-plastic playhouse designed for younger kids. It has a working door and working windows, as well as “brick” detailing on the exterior. A smaller playhouse, it’s suitable for kids over the age of 18 months.
The dimensions of the house measure 108.6 x 88.9 x 124.5 cm, so it’s really designed for more for running in and out of rather than a place to hide away. Younger children, in particular, can keep themselves entertained for hours by opening and closing the doors and windows.
- Sturdy, plastic construction
- Easy to wipe clean
- Can be used indoors or out
- Has a mail slot so kids get deliver each other messages
- Assembly is simple
- Small size and design of the house mean it probably won't appeal to older kids
- May be too small for more than one child at a time
- Isn't a house that will grow with your child
The LittleTom Children’s Playhouse + 1 table + 2 benches stands apart from other plastic playhouses because it offers something those houses don’t: a place to sit. The playhouse comes with a small table and two chairs, which attach to the exterior of the house. The table and benches can also be put inside the house.
Another highlight of the playhouse is that one of the interior walls has small game pieces attached to it, which can help keep kids entertained and encourage creativity.
- Made of sturdy plastic
- Can be used outdoors or indoors
- Can be used outdoors or indoors. Includes a table and two benches, which can be put inside the house or attached to the outside wall
- Also includes game elements on the inside wall
- Pieces of the house lock together, making assembly a breeze
- Designed for young children only
- Benches can support up to 25 kg max
- Interior is just 88 by 76 cm
- Roof leaks when it rains
The clear winner of all of these playhouses for kids is the Chestnut Wooden Pre-Painted Tower Playhouse with Slide. It’s made of sturdy, long-lasting wood and is big enough to appeal to younger and older children.
The slide and the quality of the wood set it apart from other playhouses on this list. Although some of the plastic playhouses are perfectly fine for what they are, they have a limited shelf life and your child will quickly outgrow them. The wooden tower playhouse is something your child can enjoy from the time he or she is just a tot until he or she is a teenager.
How to Choose a Playhouse
You have a few things to consider when picking out a playhouse for your kids. One of the first consideration is where you’ll put the playhouse. Many models are designed for outdoor use and are made from materials that can withstand exposure to the elements. But if you’re going to use the playhouse indoors, you can choose one made from less weather resistant materials or take a look at getting a play tent instead.
Speaking of materials, that’s another essential consideration. Outdoor playhouses are often made from either plastic or wood. Both have their pros and cons. Wood looks better than plastic, in many people’s opinion. But it can also rot and become worn if it’s not treated properly. However, if you’re looking at buying an outdoor swing or outdoor slide set, you may want to match the overall garden theme.
Plastic might not look as warm as wood and might make a playhouse look a little cheap, but it’s also more likely to withstand whatever weather the world throws at it. Another benefit of plastic is that it tends to be easier to clean compared to wood, according to Apartment Therapy.
Another thing to think about is the size of the playhouse. As My Baba points out, you don’t want the house to overwhelm your garden, especially if you want to extend and add a garden pool or paddling pool to the equation . How much room you have to spare will partly influence the size of the playhouse.
Small houses might be perfect for toddlers and very young children. But, kids grow quickly and will soon outgrow a tiny playhouse. Think about how long you’d like your children to have the house. If you’re just looking for something for a toddler, go small. But if you want your children to get years of play out of the house, it’s better to go bigger.
It’s also a good idea to consider how many kids will use the playhouse. If you have more than one child, and the playhouse is only big enough for one at a time, you’re going to have fights on your hands.
Playhouses can be anything from a simple square with an opening for a door to elaborate constructions with working doors and windows, a slide and plenty of other bells and whistles. Although it might seem that a more elaborate playhouse would automatically be the better pick, that’s not always the case.
A basic playhouse that’s little more than a box with an opening for a door can do a lot to really spark your child’s imagination. You’d be surprised at what a young child can do with little more than four walls.
That said, a playhouse that has more bells and whistles, like a slide or room to attach a swing, might be more appealing to a young child. You can think of that type of a playhouse as giving you two toys for the price of one. You get the pretend house and a built-in playground – heck, why not attach a trampoline while you’re at it!
Benefits of Playhouses for Kids
One of the biggest benefits of playhouses for kids is that they allow for hours and hours of imaginative play, according to the Wall Street Journal. In a playhouse, your child and his or her friends or siblings have a chance to create an entire world for themselves. They can pretend to be co-workers, students in the same classroom, or aliens from another planet.
Playhouses also encourage independent play. Instead of relying on ideas from mum and dad, kids in playhouses can entertain themselves. That sense of independence can help your children develop self-confidence and a feeling of accomplishment.
As your kids get older, don’t necessarily expect them to outgrow the playhouse. For children over the age of seven, playhouses can provide kids with a sanctuary or a place to be alone. Having that sense of personal, private space is important for all kids, but can be particularly important for kids who have to share a room with siblings or who feel they don’t have any privacy elsewhere in the home.
Playhouses and Safety Concerns
As with any toy for children, there are a few safety concerns involved with playhouses. Choosing the right playhouse and taking certain precautions can help ensure your children and the neighbourhood kids are safe and sound at all times.
If your playhouse is made out of wood, What to Expect recommends regular inspections to ensure that the wood is smooth and the risk for splinters is low. If you notice the wood is becoming a bit rough, sand it down until it’s smooth again.
Also, keep an eye out for chipping or peeling paint. While new playhouses won’t have lead-based paint, you don’t want your child eating any paint chips.
It’s also a good idea to do a structure check of the playhouse from time to time to make sure it’s holding together well. Check the nuts and bolts and tighten them if they feel loose. Make sure any attachments, such as a door or slide, are still firmly attached.
Another thing to check for in the playhouse is beehives or wasp’s nests. You don’t want your little one to end up stung, especially if he or she has an allergy. If the playhouse hasn’t been used in a while, do a sweep of it before sending your child out to play.