Who doesn’t dream of an outdoor toddlers’ playhouse that is both beautiful and fun? Garden houses are original and intrigue even adults with their impressive and creative architectural appearance! They are often stylish and offer many different types of entertainment to occupy the little ones and to adorn a modern or contemporary garden. Manufacturers compete with imagination to make these outdoor toys lifelike and as such, they have been attracting increasing demand from kids.
Often dominated by plastic designs, the outdoor playhouse market has seen a proliferation of wooden cottages, often considered more secure, more attractive and more durable, even if the investment is significant. Choosing a gift for toddlers is not always easy: it is, of course important that they like the gift, but parents also have to make sure that the gift is “beneficial” to the kids.
There are many toys that will help a toddler progress (learning new words, shapes, colors) but one of the best things you can do for your child is to make him/her go out in the open air while letting their imagination grow. As a result, outdoor playhouses are perfect and give a good opportunity for your toddler to put aside their video games, iPad or TV and have fun in the garden.
An impressive number of outdoor wooden playhouses are offered for sale, each with their own design, built with different materials for different age groups, some are specifically for boys, others for girls.
What are the criteria to consider when buying a playhouse?
The price range is one essential criterion for parents; it obviously depends on various parameters such as size, materials, quality of finish, the brand of the playhouse, the facilities available (windows, shutters, terrace…). There are many sites on which to compare prices and order playhouses online. As for the basic models, a surface of around 10m² is approximately $1,500 to $2,000. However, you can find wooden outdoor playhouses from $200 to $400 in the resale market. For a little extra room, estimate in the region of $1,000. If you want to take the high road and make a real comfortable house (with double glazing, shutters, terrace…) of about 15m² to 20m², you will pay about $7,000. The playhouse kit is made available with a plan that is simple and quick to assemble because there are multiple models (small and large surfaces). Again, it all depends on the size you want and the equipment to be selected. If there is a specific type of wood you would rather have, prices can be expected to increase dramatically.
It depends on your needs but also your budget (the greater the surface the more the cost) and the place it will occupy in the garden. It is recommended to leave a space around the cabin during installation. Depending on the space you have in your garden and how many children you have, your choice of a garden playhouse may vary! However, pay attention to the smaller children: you won’t want to leave them unattended near the swing or the slide, so make sure these features are in easy view.
The two main materials used for the construction of a playhouse are wood and plastic. The designs are often more pleasing to the eye with a more traditional design that fits well with the environment of the garden. Plastic playhouses for their part are usually very colorful, timeless, robust and easy to maintain. Wooden models are generally less resistant to weather conditions (heavy summer heat or serious winter cold) and require more maintenance and care to prevent rotting and damage from rain. They can in many cases however fall more in line with the general aesthetics of a garden – becoming part of the landscape as opposed to a kid’s toy.
In most cases, the playhouse is delivered as a kit. You will have to do some assembling for the house to stand. Plastic models are more convenient to install because the walls fit together without you having to use special tools. Some models require basic technical skills to stabilize and keep flat and horizontal on the ground. The base will keep the playhouse dry by preventing water from seeping in through the ground: it is essential for wooden models to prevent mold and deformation of the boards. You can use the tiles on the sand as a base, or cement (if you are sure you will not move the cabin) or wood or plastic. The choice will depend on the use you make of it. In any case, your outdoor playhouse should be well insulated. It is needless to invest too much in it if it will only serve for storing tools. But if it is an annex to your home, choose a nice playhouse and make sure it includes windows and can receive a water supply and electricity for real comfort. Remember to take into account the available space; it will determine the size of your kids’ playhouse.
The wooden models are ideal for a safe cocoon for children, a workroom, and even an extra studio. Of greater or lesser size, they can be installed in your garden as an extra room in your home or to create a new place for young and old. If you love the wooden models for their authenticity and their natural heat, do not hesitate to build one in this material in your garden. Raw wood, autoclaved wood, or painted wood, it is for you to choose according to your taste! Traditional or designed, the outdoor playhouse has been modernized over time and now offers a friendly space. Round or square, with a sloping roof, featuring a terrace or porch, the wooden playhouse has long since become an aesthetic feature, in addition to being functional.
While wood is still the most popular material for its ecological side and gives a certain style to your garden house, there is a multitude of other materials at your disposal. You will find that commercial houses made of metal or rubber, require much less maintenance than wood. For younger children below 7, playhouses are mostly made of plastic and promise hours of entertainment.
Many toy manufacturers have rushed into the playhouse market for children. From KidKraft, known for the impeccable quality of its wooden toys, to Step2 and houses with water slides, through chalets straight out of fairy tales, you can pick and choose from an abundance of choices or make one yourself if you so choose.