Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Best outdoor playhouse 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated November 1, 2018
Best outdoor playhouse of 2018
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your comfort, style, or accessibility, we have picks to fit a variety of needs and budgets. Based on customer reviews and my own experience with the cowboy method I’ve found the best 3 outdoor playhouse on the market.
Many models on the market may be confusing to a person who is shopping for their first time. You can make a choice based on the my list as you shop.
Test Results and Ratings
|Ease of use||
Why did this outdoor playhouse win the first place?
I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! The rear part fits perfectly! It is mounted really tight and reliable. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack.
Why did this outdoor playhouse come in second place?
I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money.
Why did this outdoor playhouse take third place?
It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. A very convenient model. It is affordable and made of high-quality materials. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time.
outdoor playhouse Buyer’s Guide
Something To Aim For
An activity like shooting hoops will help your child unwind at the end of the day without over stimulating their tired mind.
Netball or basketball hoops, or goals with targets on are great for providing a degree of challenge and something to aim for.
Somewhere To Relax
Nobody ever grows out of a swing. Well, we may one day become physically too wide for a swing, but in our hearts we still love to swing.
But at the age of 1and 12, swinging is about relaxation rather than thrill seeking. Now is a good time to swap that old plastic swing seat for something a little bigger and more comfortable, like a tyre.
You should also check the maximum weight limit of the swing frame, and double check it is well anchored to the ground.
We’re nearly at the finish line now. There’s just one last age category to look at – the teenagers.
Upgrade Your Existing Climbing Frame
If you’ve already got a swing set or climbing frame, you can upgrade the accessories to add a new level of challenge relatively easily. Many of the main manufacturers like Plum and TP Toys sell accessories that can be used instead of a swing. Older children will enjoy twirling on a spinning wheel, or challenging their upper body strength on a trapeze.
A word of caution first though. Check the weight guidelines for your play equipment against your child’s weight. Ten year olds come in all shapes and sizes. Just because the swing is usually suitable for a year old, doesn’t mean it is suitable for your ten year old.
Keep Them Close With A Go Kart
Remember when your child was little and you could let them ride their bike while you walked at a gentle pace alongside.
And then that triumphant day came when they could ride without stabilisers.
And for about 60 seconds you were so happy for them. Then you realised how fast they could ride, and that you would never be able keep up, and you slumped to floor muttering ‘what have I done? What have I done?’ (just me?).
You can get back those laid-back four wheel days with a go-kart. They’ll can put plenty of effort into pedal power, racing round the block like Fernando Alonso, and you can march behind, because no matter how hard they try, they will never get that go-kart to go as fast as a bike.
Don’t have a climbing frame yet. still not sure. Procrastinate any longer and you will lose valuable play opportunities. Every day you spend thinking about it is another day your child could have been climbing it.
Look for a climbing frame that offers challenging climb and scope to be played with in a variety of ways. For example the Plum Pyramid features a rock wall, climbing net and a camouflage den, making it a more attractive plaything for older children.
You may imagine a water play table to be suitable for younger children, but older kids will get good use from it too. Children this age love to explore nature, collecting bugs and leaves. Use a water table to create a home from home habitat for their new best friends, before repatriating them back to their original hiding place at the end of the day.
For more ideas on matching your outdoor play equipment to your child’s age and stage of development, check out the rest of January’s blog series.
This is the third post in January’s series about which outdoors toys are best suited for each age and stage.
In this post we’re looking at the play equipment and year olds will enjoy playing on.
Invest In A Climbing Frame
This is a great age to invest in a climbing frame. Choose a high quality wooden climbing frame and you will get many years of use from it, and hundreds of hours of play.
For example, for a five year old you might start out with a frame that as a simple step ladder. as your child gets older this will become easier and easier for them to use. By about the age of seven, you could swap the ladder for metal rungs or a rock wall. Then a year or two later update it again with a climbing net. If you have a climbing frame in mind and want to discuss the accessory option, please contact us and we can talk you through what’s available.
Some climbing frames with swing arms also allow you to swap the swings out for other hanging toys like a trapeze or rings. This is great for updating the climbing frame as your child gets older, but also enables you to adapt the frame if you have children of wide variety of ages.
As previously mentioned, at this age children become more interested in playing together and enjoying each other’s company.
Some climbing frames can have gliders or boats attached to them so that two children can swing together. The benefit of these types of swing is that parents have the opportunity to listen in on conversation the children are having while they gently push the glider, which will no doubt include some priceless gems.
As their hand-to-eye coordination develops they may also enjoy a swingball set. Gently batting a ball back and forth provides the opportunity to play with a friend or a parent and enjoy a conversation at the same time, something that five and six years olds are very keen on.
Although they may need to duck to get through the door, at this age many children still enjoy playing in a playhouse. You can update the look as your child gets older to keep them interested. For example, the playhouse may start out as a cosy miniature home but with the addition of some camouflage netting, green paint and Nerf guns it can become an army barracks for older children.
For more outdoor toy ideas check out the rest of January’s series on matching play equipment to your child’s age.
Dual Action Brake
Look for a go-kart that offers a dual action brake. This means that a brake is applied to both back wheels at the same time ensuring a controlled slow down or stop. If resistance is applied to just one wheel, especially when travelling at speed, the go-kart could spin, or veer off sideways.
Typically go-karts for younger children have solid tyres, as these are more reliable (they can’t get punctures). However, older children, who are naturally a little heavier benefit from air tyres which give them a smoother, more comfortable ride.
How To Choose Your New Climbing Frame
A new climbing frame can represent a substantial investment, so it’s worth taking the time to consider your purchase carefully. As experts in outdoor play, we are well practiced in helping parents decide which model is best suited to the needs of their family and garden. If you need any assistance, please feel free to contact us.
We have a large selection of metal and wooden climbing frames available to buy online, for delivery to your home. To help you narrow down the field and create a shortlist, here are some key questions and features to consider.
It Was Good Enough For Me
Well there are a lot of things that worked for our generation that turned out not to be such a good idea, like strapping your baby into a carry cot on the back seat instead of carseat, or eating turkey twizzlers every day after school, so perhaps a different method for learning to ride would work better.
Stabilisers Do Not Teach Cycling
Stabilisers give children the opportunity to learn how to pedal, and that’s about all. Everything else when riding a bike will be totally different once the stabilisers are removed: * You need to use your core muscles to balance the bike; * You need to lean when steering; * The bike falls on you when you stop, if you forget to put your foot down.
Stabilisers Are Not Fun
Besides from the fact that training wheels aren’t the best educational tool, they also suck the fun out of riding a bike: * They make you go really slow; * Whenever you come up to uneven ground the bike rocks scarily from side to side; * You can get beached with the stabilisers on the ground but the back wheel slightly off it, spinning around with no traction.
All these interruptions to the fun of riding could put your child off cycling altogether.
Climbing Frames Kids Wooden Climbing Frames
Many people wish to have a wooden climbing frame in their garden. They look great, are strong, durable and have fantastic play features. They come in a range of sizes, so they suit smaller gardens in addition to being ideal for those with more space. They also include features which make them suited to both younger and older children.
Before you can decide on a set you also need to consider the type of wood it will be made from. For most people china cedar is the best compromise. It is strong, durable and very cost effective. If you are looking for a for a premium bespoke playset (several thousand pounds) then a Western Red Cedar, or Redwood playground may suit you.
Roundwood or Sawn Wood
There are two main types of wooden climbing frame. One is made from round poles, and the other is squared ‘sawn wood’. The round poles generally look much more rustic, and are made from pine, fir or spruce. These are normally just swingsets, although some may have slides. Sawn wood climbing frames tend to be larger and have more play features. They normally have a ‘fort’ with swings, slides and other play accessories. Different brands use different types of wood as discussed below.
Western Red Cedar thuja plicata
Not actually a ‘real’ cedar (like china cedar) but has the beneficial properties. This includes the natural oils which are resistant to rot and insect infestation. This is a large slow growing tree which makes it a premium timber.
Metal Climbing Frames
Dome climbing frames are the traditional metal play equipment design. These dome structures are normally made from metal tubes. They tend to be very basic with little or no play deck and minimal features. Metal climbing frames sometimes include slides, or monkey bars. They rarely include swings. A metal swingset would also have to be purchased separately. This would would add to the cost and space required for your garden play equipment.
Plastic Climbing Frames
Plastic climbing frames tend to be limited in size and strength. Due to this they are ideal for toddlers, but not older children. They can be nice moulded shapes, but due to plastic manufacturing they are limited with features and modularity. This means children can outgrow them quickly.
Commercial Play Equipment Public Playgrounds
If you require playground equipment for public use then you will need something which meets commercial safety standards. You are best to check with your insurance company, but many will stipulate they require EN117testing standards. The main visible difference is that in a commercial environment the swings need to be separate to the rest of the play features. There are many other differences also. Commercial play equipment also needs to be installed with safety surfacing.
Commercial Playground Equipment Suppliers
Our climbing frames are intended to be used by families. We understand that children will be different ages and abilities. We include features for both younger and older children on all of our products.
Locating your play equipment
It’s important to consider where you’ll place your climbing frame once it arrives. It sounds silly, but climbing frames can be pretty big once assembled. We give measurements for each of our playsets, but remember to add an area for safety and movement. The EU guidelines are 1.8m (approx 6ft) to allow for children to swing, exit the slide and jump/fall without injury from ladders, rockwalls or steps.
We recommend our climbing frames are installed directly on a flat, level grass surface. Some ‘cutting in’ may be required to ensure the fort is flat and level. Our sets are not designed to be installed on a undulating or sloping surface. Some customers choose to install a special safety surface such as play bark, rubber, sand or soft bond.
DIY flat pack
Our products are delivered to your door flat packed in a double layered carboard box. This keeps all the wood hardware and accessories together. They arrive completely ready for home build so you’ll not have any hidden costs or need to buy any extras.
Wooden products suffer from weathering. This is due to the harsh and variable nature of our weather. Some days are blisteringly hot, some a freezing cold, some are soggy. This can cause the wood in your set to dry, peel or crack. The effects of this can be minimised by intermittently applying a stain, sealant or wood protector. We offer a Selwood Wood Stain and Protector if you wish to colour match your set. Some customers choose something similar from a local supplier, or change the colour of their set altogether.
Also, this time of year prices can fluctuate quite dramatically. So if you see something a little outside of your price range, it might not be a bad idea to click over and check it out anyway – you may get lucky and catch a sale.
Not all active pursuits have to be high energy. Yoga is a fantastic way to get kids of all ages moving indoors. We started making it a part of our routine after I read a Wall Street Journal article which reported findings that yoga improved students’ behavior, physical health and academic performance, as well as attitudes toward themselves and also that it reduces feelings of helplessness and aggression and, in the long term, helps emotional balance. The benefits of yoga are particularly strong among children with special needs.
So, I was very pleased to find that there were things that there were games where the kids held hands or leaned back against each other. I believe this helps to build co-operation and understanding. There are also plenty of games where it is individuals alone. My favorite is Sun Salutations! It incorporates many basic yoga positions, and it will be a lot of fun for the kids.
High Five magazine also often has a feature in the back that, while not yoga per-say, reminds me a lot of the kid yoga stuff I’ve seen in that it incorporates imaginary play with different poses and movement. S and C are big fans.
StepPush Around Ride-On Toys
This push-around buggy gives your kid some little bit of motoring experience. The fact that it needs some pushing makes it a perfect option for the child and parent to interact. This buggy is a pink edition ideal for little girls.
It has a comfortable ergonomic seat for added comfort and a seat belt that keeps your little kid from shifting during the ride. Underneath the hood is storage space where you can keep toys and snacks. This buggy is for kids who are 1months to years old.
Maybe it’s time you let your child burn some little energy and enjoy that fun bouncing experience. This trampoline is built to cater for that. It’s a 36-inch round trampoline built to be spacious and stable. A unique, durable metal spring construction creates a good level of bounce.
The jumping mat is padded in thick foam for added safety. A handrail is included to provide good support for beginners. With a weight capacity of 180 pounds, parents can also join in the fun. This trampoline sits on non-slip feet for increased stability and scratch-free grip.
It cruises at a maximum speed of mph, which is quite safe for young kids. The vehicle is powered by a rechargeable battery that goes quite a long way into providing that much needed fun. This power wheel is a good recommendation for kids who are to years old.
Want your toddlers to enjoy the view of cascading waterfall without setting a foot outside your home? I bet they’ll like what this water table has to offer. It’s a two-tier water table designed to let your child create a waterfall.
This water table has a spinner for creating a whirlpool and a springboard that catapults water figures. Water squirting figures are also included to add more fun. The upper section holds 2.2gallons while the lower section holds 3.2gallons. This water table is for kids who are 1months to years old.
StepNeat and Tidy Outdoor Playhouse for Kids
This playhouse comes in an open design so you can watch as your child plays inside. It has a doorbell, mailbox, and molded flower box. Entry is made easier with an elegant Dutch door.
The playhouse has a kitchen space furnished with built-in shelves, faucets, kitchen seat, fireplace, and many more. It needs some assembly before use, which is a task best done by an adult. The age category for kids who should use this playhouse is 1months to years old.
Backyard Discovery Oakmont Wood Swing Playset
This swing set comes with playhouse features to add more fun in the play. There’s even a built-in bench where your kids can sit and relax. This swing set is quite tall so there’s a ladder provided for easy access. It comes in a weather-resistant construction and designed for kids who are to years old.
What type of toy you choose for your child that can turn out into a fun investment or a total disappointment. Well, you don’t want to let your kids down with a toy they won’t like. To avoid that, you need to take some factors into consideration when out there shopping for that perfect toy. The following are what you need to keep in mind.
Choose age-appropriate toys. You might have selected a good toy that has lots of fun to offer. But this will be a total waste of money in case your child is too young or too old for it. In short, you need a play toy with an age recommendation that’s appropriate for your child. Most manufacturers state the age recommendation to make it easier for you.
Make safety first priority. Well, remember that the safety of your child comes before all things. That’s why you need to select a toy with safety features that will help avoid accidents and injuries. Safety can extend to the type of material used to build a certain play toy. Check carefully to ensure it won’t pose any risks to the health of your child.
Know what your kid likes. Don’t just rush out there to buy a toy without actually knowing what your child likes. I’d recommend studying them closely for a few days to get a clue of what fascinates them most. In case it’s not meant to be a surprise, you can go ahead and ask them what they like most.
Consider durability. You don’t want to buy something that will break after a few days of use. It’s good to choose a toy that’s durable enough to last for years. Some even come with adjustable features to let them grow with your child. One trick of determining the durability of a toy is to check if it has a warranty.
Ease-of-use. Well, you definitely want a toy that won’t give your child a hard time using it. That’s where ease of use comes in handy. Look for something with a little bit of simplicity based on your child’s skills.
Consider interactive toys. You’ll agree with me that a toy that brings family and friends together is one of the best buys around. Choose a toy that will let other kids or you as a parent join in the fun. This will help avoid that feeling of loneliness and help build a stronger bond between the child and parents.
There was a time when kids went outside in the morning and stayed there until sunset playing, riding bikes, taking hikes, and exploring. In most homes, those days have become a distant memory. Many children nowadays will spend a lot of time indoors surfing the internet, playing video games, and watching television. This means that they are not getting the exercise that they need to ensure that they live a happy, healthy lifestyle. Most parents feel that they are at the end of their rope and unable to do anything to get their kids into the great outdoors.
With a sandpit, your child can feel like they are at the beach all summer long. They can dig in the sand, build sand castles, and much more. Many of the sandpits that are on the market come with a cover that will ensure that they stay relatively dry and that pets are not able to get into them. A cover also means that all sand toys that your child has will be securely inside of the sand pit for the next time they want to play. Sand pits come in all shapes and sizes. Some are cute critters, such as a turtle, that holds sand. You can also build your own out of wood, plastic, and sand.
On a hot summer day, very few things are able to beat the fun that a swimming pool provides. If you have small children, a wading pool that is only a couple inches deep will be enough to keep them interested in going outside. They are inexpensive and easy to care for. For older children you will probably need an above ground swimming since they can handle more people. Just keep in mind these swimming pools do require time and money to maintain them. An in ground pool would be the best option. The major drawbacks are the costs and having enough space to install it into the ground. Any of these will be well worth it if your kids love playing in water.
A ball pit is self-explanatory. Most ball pits are filled with soft plastic balls that are too large for a child to put into their mouth. You can purchase a ball pit as a part of a set so that other outdoor toys are included, especially if you opt for a playset. Some ball pits have just a pit that is filled with balls and you can use it indoors during the winter months and outdoors during the summer. A lot of these will have a net around them to ensure that the balls stay inside the pit where they belong. Some parents also choose to build their own using wooden sides, a plastic base to keep dirt out of the pit, and balls. One hidden costs is the price of the balls. Many people underestimate the amount of balls needed to fill their large ball pits and therefore underestimate the total cost of purchasing the balls. Check out our list of the best ball pits for kids here.
Playhouses or club houses are a great way to encourage kids to use their imagination. Boys may choose to use it as a fort where they can keep watch over their property and protect it. Girls may use their play house to feel as though they are playing mommy. There are kitchen sets that you can purchase to make it more realistic and there are furniture items that are small enough to fit inside as well. The price for these houses will depend on what you and your child want for it to be.
If your child is not the playhouse type, you can also consider a tree house. Tree houses add more of a thrill for some children because most are accessible only by a rope or a ladder. This gives them privacy and enables them to see the world from up above the ground, both of which can appeal to some children.
Getting kids outdoors does not always have to require a structured play area. There are many outdoor lawn games that can encourage children to get out and play. These things may include games such as badminton, basketball, or croquet. There are also golf sets, bow and arrow sets, and may other games that you can choose from depending on your child’s interest and the space that you have available. Most of these play sets are affordable. Some require you to play with your children or your child to have friends over to play. Either way, it increases the time spent outdoors and adds more fun because of the simple fact that someone is there to play with them.
Unless you opt for a fully constructed design, there will be some assembly required. Depending on which of the many models chosen, some will require more work than others to complete. Before you give them your credit card info, make sure to have these principles in mind.
If you don’t have any flat grade on your property, you may need to build an island deck for the playhouse to rest on. This will require digging holes, pouring concrete or using blocks and framing joists, much like an attached house deck.
When choosing the size of the playhouse, make sure not to get something the kids will outgrow quickly, but also not something so large that it’ll loose the child scale intimacy they’ll need to desire playing in it. Placing stakes and string on the ground to simulate the walls is a great way to see if your children like the size they’ll be receiving.
If you’re looking to maximize the use of your child’s new 2nd home, also consider hiring a electrician to wire up power. This opens up the option for keeping the lights on when the sun goes down and powering a space heater in the colder winter months. Maybe even providing a spot to charge their ipad if they’ve been good.
The area around the playhouse shouldn’t be ignored. The immediate landscaping around the structure can add a lot of personality to an otherwise plain edifice. A flag stone path, white picket fence and well placed plants and foliage go a long way. *Note that many of the brands listed below offer more kits than what is shown, but for space reasons we can’t show them all.
Short of hiring a professional to build you a custom citadel, the Sassafras Castle is the cream of the crop when it comes to children’s play castles. You know that when you’re buying from Lilliput, the details don’t come short. Containing several secret areas, rock wall, superb front entrance door. Plus a fireplace mantel. So cool.
As far as I’m concerned, anything the brothers at Daniels Wood Land touch is gold. They’ve created props for movies, built commercial playgrounds and shoot galleries, have their own show, and it all stared with the Original. Using a real log for the base and topped with a wonderfully whimsical treehouse, you can’t get more story book than this awesome clubhouse.
A much more involved version of the Original, the Monkey Mansion has all kinds of ways for kids to run, jump and swing around to nearly no end. Monkey bars, climbing net, climbing wall, fireman’s pole,swing and slide are just some of the ways your child can interact with this crazy creation. You can even opt for a deluxe upgrade and bumps up the size of the clubhouse and log size.
Grand Portico Mansion
At first glance, this looks like a typical suburban mansion, until you realize it’s for those shorter than feet tall and not so up in th years. Complete with a story look and plenty of windows to spare. Built by the Pennsylvania Amish, this delightful artisan playhouse kit will charm and rapture your little ones for years.
All hand crafted in the state of Maine, the folks at Kid’s Crooked House know how to capture the wonderment of being a child with their uniquely created structures. The Original allows you to get your foot in the door without spending too much to get there. Really, the only thing straight forward on this playhouse is the value it’ll bring to you and your kids.
The Deluxe is the next tier up from the Original and offers even more space for the kids to play in. Right from the pages of an absorbing children’s book, the Deluxe exudes fun all over. Add in more windows and a dormer, you’ll find yourself with the best selling crooked house.
Having been in business for four decades, the people behind the craftsmanship at Wood Manor know what they’re doing. Because of the general more hands on experience and additional building materials needing to be bought separately, all the kits provided by Wood Manor are more for the DIY minded weekend warrior. The Cottage kit features two levels for the kids to interact with in a very realistic country home.
Fine engineering and quality Amish made go into every one of these cute little dwellings. The Backyard Cottage will look great tucked away in any backyard and it’s the small things that really make it stand out. Features two dormers and petite front porch make the Backyard so inviting and winsome.
Looking for something a little different? This old world style manor is sure to delight. Comes with a arched child sized front door and an adult sized in the back, hinged and gable windows.
Crooked houses seem to be all the rage these days. Being a younger child is certainly a magical time, and playhouses like the Alice can greatly aid in feeding that active imagination. Specially imported Asian cedar wood, Cunninghemia lanceolata, is used to construct all the structure kits for Axi. With five windows and square feet of interior space, your child will feel a cozy sense of home with the Alice.
Little Cedar x Playhouse
If you’re looking for a mix between a playhouse and a playset, this one is the ticket. Elevated about 4′ in the air, allowing for a sand box underneath and a front slide. Add in the premium all cedar construction and you have yourself the perfect outdoor getaway.
Another great kit option for those looking for high quality. The Sunflower has all cedar construction including cedar roof shakes. Three opening windows and a front porch with a roof overhang allow more ways to interact and play with this kit. Just looking at it makes me want to go pick out a nice cherry red stain and go to town.
Castles are a ton of fun and do a supreme job of helping the imagination take you to far off places. The facade mimics real stone walls and battlements and the rock wall to the 2nd level tower is the icing on the cake. Bound to be popular where ever kids are.
For a great complete package, you can’t go wrong with EZ-fit Sheds. The A-Frame comes with outstanding construction and everything you’ll need to build the ultimate child’s dream escape. Plus it has a lock and key to keep rouge neighbors out.
For a simply delightful provincial backyard retreat, the Poppy Tower is a delight. Elevated to allow for a slide, this rustic wooden kid habitat comes with shatterproof windows, double framed corners and untreated cedar lumber so you can add your won creativity to it’s walls.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your outdoor playhouse wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of outdoor playhouse
- №1 — Step2 Neat and Tidy II Playhouse
- №2 — Family HugglePod HangOut Outdoor Hanging Tree Tent Playhouse with Interior LED Lights
- №3 — Mochiglory 3 In 1 Pop Up Kids Play Tent Tunnel Indoor Outdoor Playhouse Cubby