10 Best Outdoor Playhouses of 2024

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The Best Outdoor Playhouses

The Best Outdoor Playhouse For Kids
  1. Smoby Kids Customisable Friends Playhouse

  2. Smoby Kids Chef Playhouse and Kitchen

  3. Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse

  4. Smoby NEO JURA Lodge Playhouse

  5. Feber Multicoloured Playhouse

  6. Feber Pink Fantasy Playhouse

  7. Smoby Kids Nature Playhouse

  8. Big Game Hunters Evermeadow Wooden Playhouse

  9. Big Game Hunters Cafe Shop Wooden Playhouse

  10. Dolu Indoor & Outdoor Waterproof Playhouse

Outdoor Playhouse Reviews

Editors Choice
  • 170 cm tall so can accommodate older children/adults
  • Unlikely to become uprooted in windy weather (weighs 34 kg)
  • Spacious enough for multiple children so a great option for siblings/friends
  • Several interesting features come included, like a picnic bench, doorbell, and planters
  • Additional features can be purchased separately, to customise the house structure

  • Difficult to take apart because the metal screws bore into the plastic construction
Overall Score 5
Design
5
Entertainment
5
Durability
5
Safety
5
Value for Money
5

I’m writing this Smoby Kids Customisable Friends Playhouse review straight off the back of building it, and having spent just under 2 hours in the garden putting it together, I can safely say I know it well!

It’s worth bearing in mind that I assembled it on my own, and another pair of hands would have of course sped up the process. But I wanted to surprise my little girl with it, so cracked on whilst she was out with her mum at a play group!

Smoby Kids Customisable Friends Playhouse Assembly

All in all, assembly was very straightforward and the instruction manual was easy to follow. Sometimes it can be a complete nightmare with things like this, but I was actually pretty impressed. The instructions were all presented as diagrams (no written explanations too) which speaks volumes about how clearly they were laid out.

I feel that it purely just takes a bit of time to build on your own because there are lots of parts to it.

Which leads on to my next point…

This playhouse is really well designed. It’s interesting for kids, and goes beyond the standard rectangular models that most come in.

Smoby Kids Customisable Friends Playhouse Built

Everything from the different height roofs to the dining bench that attaches to the side. There are multiple elements to it, making it a lot of imaginative fun for kids.

It’s also got good height, so if you have older siblings (like in my family), kids of multiple ages can enjoy it.

My kids have actually used this playhouse in a local cafe, which is partly why we bought it. They enjoy it every time we go back, which is important if you’re a parent looking to invest in a playhouse. You don’t want something your kids will get bored with quickly, and this model by Smoby has proved itself time and time again for us.

Smoby Kids Customisable Friends Playhouse Side View

In terms of value for money, I feel that you get what you pay for. You can of course get budget playhouses, but my gut tells me the fun factor wanes quickly, so I’d much rather fork out a bit more and give my kids something I know they’ll get a lot of use out of.

Overall, when you compare the best playhouses on the market, for my family this one tops the list. It’s interestingly designed, straightforward to assemble, suitable for multiple age ranges and a lot of fun for kids.

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Runner Up
  • Comes with a huge range of accessories that add to the fun
  • Very interactive and engaging design
  • Appeals to a wide age range of children - 3 years and above
  • UV treated so maintains its bright finish even if exposed to strong sunlight
  • Able to withstand relatively windy weather without blowing around as it weighs 25.6 kg

  • Assembly takes approximately 3 hours
  • Instructions could be clearer as they are in black and white, and don’t number the screws, so assembly is more difficult than necessary
Overall Score 4.5
Design
5
Entertainment
5
Durability
4.5
Safety
4
Value for Money
4

The Smoby Kids Chef Playhouse and Kitchen is perfect for any aspiring chefs! Designed to inspire and captivate kids, whilst also teaching them valuable skills, this plastic playhouse is a fun choice for any children aged 3 and above.

This playhouse has an engaging, interactive design, resembling an adorable mini cafe with a serving hatch, movable shutters and a little kitchen inside. Measuring 120 x 50 x 92 cm, there’s not a huge amount of interior space, but it’s sufficient for one or two kids. Also, this can add to the appeals well – encouraging kids to take on the role of customers queuing outside the window to order!

On top of the interactive components that make up the structure itself, this plastic playhouse comes with loads of accessories that are sure to help an enthusiastic new cafe owner to run their business. There are toy food items, drinks, cutlery, a credit card reader, frying pan, ketchup/mustard sauces and more. There’s also two removable plastic “slates” included – so your child can let their customers know the daily menu and opening hours.

Perhaps the only downside when it comes to the design is the assembly time. Assembly takes approximately three hours as there are a lot of different parts to screw together. An extra pair of hands are almost certainly needed as well.

Made entirely from plastic, this outdoor playhouse is both durable and safe. It’s fully weather resistant and there are no sharp corners. The included accessories are designed specifically for children, although very young children may need extra supervision.

It’s one of the best children’s playhouses overall due to its fun design and inspiring set up, as well as the number of props and accessories provided.

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Also Good
  • Good size for small gardens thanks to the compact 108.6 x 88.9 cm footprint
  • Weighs just under 14 kg so relatively easy to move around the garden
  • Can be assembled in under 30 minutes
  • Plastic surfaces are easy to wipe clean if needed
  • Whilst compact, a small adult can still fit inside the playhouse to assist children

  • No built-in floor so it can get muddy in the wetter months, although you could buy a mat or ground cover to put down
  • Not particularly sturdy on windy days and may need to be anchored down or taken inside
  • Only suitable for children up to five-years-old due to its small size
  • Not a lot of space inside for placing chairs or other ‘play’ units like mini kitchens
Overall Score 4.2
Design
5
Entertainment
4
Durability
4
Safety
4
Value for Money
4

For small gardens and patios, the Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse is a compact choice – it has a footprint of 108.6 x 88.9 cm and is one of the best children’s playhouses for anyone short on space.

Of course, due to its smaller size, this outdoor playhouse caters to a lower age range than others on this list. Even though Little Tikes state that it’s suitable for children of 18 months to 10 years, it’ll likely be too small for most children over five years old.

Nevertheless, if you’ve got younger kids, this playhouse’s compact nature could be very useful. It can be set up in the living room or kitchen, as well as outside.

Another benefit of this playhouse is that it’s easy to assemble. The pieces simply ‘click’ into place, and the entire house can be put together in under 30 minutes. Although there’s no built-in floor, so the interior may get muddy on rainy days, the playhouse is light enough to move when necessary (at 13.61 kg).

Even though it’s not too challenging to build, there are still plenty of interesting features on this outdoor playhouse. It has two stable doors that open and close, as well as two windows with hinged shutters. Additionally, there’s a fun letter box for posting mail into – a favourite activity of many toddlers!

Elements like this can encourage more imaginative play, so, although there’s not a huge amount of space inside for tables, chairs etc., it offers a great spot for children to hang out and store their toys.

Some smaller adults will still be able to fit inside the house as well (not standing up though, I’m afraid!) which can be useful for supporting and encouraging younger children to play inside. Of course, whether you’re allowed in may depend on whether you’ve been extended an invite for tea or not!

With plastic surfaces that are easy to wipe clean, this outdoor playhouse should last a long time and retain its condition. It’s one of the best children’s playhouses for small spaces, and it also has the benefit of being light enough to move around easily.

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  • Detailed instructions make assembly easy - can be set up in around 15 minutes
  • Plastic construction is good quality, durable and weather resistant
  • Two doors allow children to have more options
  • Joints of doors are designed specifically to prevent trapped fingers
  • Spacious interior measuring 115.4 x 123.3 x 132 cm can accommodate multiple children at once

  • Relatively simple design without any accessories included with initial purchase
  • House is very lightweight at just 10 kg so may not be stable in windy weather
  • No built-in floor so it can get muddy in the wetter months, although you could use a mat or ground cover underneath
Overall Score 4
Design
4
Entertainment
3.5
Durability
4
Safety
5
Value for Money
3.5

Designed to accommodate multiple children at once, the Smoby NEO JURA Lodge Playhouse has a spacious interior and is one of the best children’s playhouses for siblings. It measures 115.4 x 123.3 x 132 cm, making it one of the larger playhouses on this list.

The design of this plastic playhouse is high quality and the construction is sturdy. It’s made from tough plastic and there are several small details that make it more exciting for kids, such as the hinged shutters and doors. The interior is very simple, although there’s a range of extra add-ons that can be purchased separately to customise the house.

As well as having two stable doors and two shuttered windows, there are two plain windows and a bird feeder built into the house.

It’s easy for kids to enter and exit the playhouse, although there’s no floor so the interior may get muddy on wet days. Thankfully, this plastic playhouse weighs just 10 kg, so it can simply be lifted and moved to another spot in the garden whenever necessary.

Like most plastic playhouses, this model benefits from being weather resistant and easy to clean. The downside is that, due to its light weight, it may not do well if left outside in windy weather and should be moved to a sheltered spot if there’s a gale.

Despite this, it’s still a sturdy and well-designed house. In fact, it’s one of the best playhouses if you want something suitable for siblings, that can also be customised and added to in the future. Additional components available to purchase include a kitchen unit, picnic table, garden and doorbell.

Although simple in design, this plastic playhouse encourages imaginative play. The price may seem a little steep for a relatively simple house, but the spacious interior makes it a better value model than some others on the market.

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  • Highly engaging - comes with a range of accessories including a rainwater collection container, urban planter and a faux solar panel
  • Designed to educate children to help them grow up to live an eco-friendly lifestyle
  • Assembly is straight forward (although it will take 1 - 2 hours)
  • Tap on the water container really works, allowing children to rinse their hands, etc.
  • Only requires a screwdriver to complete assembly

  • Door occasionally only closes partially
  • The stickers tend to peel off over time
Overall Score 4.6
Design
5
Entertainment
5
Durability
4
Safety
4
Value for Money
5

Although many playhouses help children to develop useful skills such as imagination, independence and responsibility, the Feber Multicoloured Playhouse takes this one step further.

Designed to help little ones learn to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, this outdoor playhouse comes with a range of fun accessories. There are two recycling bins, a gardening planter, a rainwater collection container, a weather vane/windmill, a faux solar panel and a bird feeder/nest. All of these help children learn about, and appreciate, nature.

Thanks to the range of accessories, this playhouse is not only fun, but it’s also one of the best children’s playhouses if you’re after something educational. There aren’t many houses that are so geared towards teaching children about environmentally-friendly living.

It’s designed for children aged 2 and above, but older children will likely better appreciate the educational aspect. Plus, at 150 cm tall, it’s spacious enough for taller siblings or parents to sit inside and support younger kids.

Overall, this outdoor playhouse measures a spacious 150 x 150 x 165 cm and is the second largest of the options recommended on this page. The large open windows and stable-style door allow air to flow through, keeping the playhouse cool on hot days.

Assembly takes 1 – 2 hours (there are a lot of components) but is relatively simple – it’s just a case of patiently following the instructions.

There aren’t a lot of downsides to this house, and it’s a really interesting option that offers something a little different to children. Given its size, and all of the included features, it also offers great value for money alongside being educational.

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  • Easy to assemble in just 20 minutes with only a screwdriver
  • Very sturdy once assembled
  • Reasonably lightweight at just 13.2 kg so can be moved easily around the garden, or into the house
  • Compact build - measures just 85 x 108 x 124 cm so suitable for small gardens and can also be placed indoors
  • Although it’s small, children up to at least 6 years old can fit inside

  • Decorative stickers can peel off over time - especially when placed outside
  • Door sometimes requires a little persuasion to close properly
  • Front door is low so taller children may need to duck to enter the house
  • No built-in floor so may need to be placed on a mat outdoors to avoid too much mud
Overall Score 4.3
Design
4
Entertainment
3.5
Durability
5
Safety
5
Value for Money
4

Enchanting and engaging, the Feber Pink Fantasy Playhouse is a great option for younger children aged two and above.

This little outdoor playhouse measures just 85 x 108 x 124 cm which makes it perfect for both indoor and outdoor use. It fits in small gardens but could also be set up in the living room or kitchen if needed. It’s lightweight, weighing just 13.2 kg, so can be moved around with ease – though you may find that it needs to be kept somewhere sheltered if the wind picks up.

Relatively simple in design but with a fairytale feel, this outdoor playhouse is decorated with snails, flowers and ladybirds. It’s also sure to delight any child with a love of pink! The interior isn’t the most spacious, but it can easily accommodate a couple of small children. The large windows allow you to keep an eye on what the kids are up to, whilst the hinged stable door gives them a sense of their own enclosed space.

One of the most appealing features of this playhouse for us adults is that it’s easy to assemble. In just 20 minutes, the entire house can be put up, and the only extra tool you need is a screwdriver.

In terms of entertainment, this outdoor playhouse is basic, but more than sufficient to delight younger children. It encourages imaginative play and is the perfect spot for kids to store their toys as well.

The plastic is sturdy and high quality; it’s both fully waterproof and UV resistant so the bright colours shouldn’t fade in strong sunlight. As mentioned, due to its light weight, it may need to be moved to a sheltered area or anchored down on very windy days.

All things considered, given the reasonable price, good size and excellent construction, this is one of the best children’s playhouses to buy on a budget. Although it may not have all the accessories and props of more intricate models, it’s sturdy and offers a great hangout for kids.

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  • Easy to move around the garden thanks to the light weight
  • Good choice for younger children from 2 - 5 years old
  • Made from good quality, sturdy plastic
  • Reasonably high roof (120 cm) suitable for some taller children

  • Assembly takes over an hour and isn’t the most straight forward
  • Not compatible with a lot of Smoby playhouse add-ons
  • Lightweight at 12.9 kg so may need protection from wind
Overall Score 4.1
Design
4
Entertainment
3.5
Durability
4
Safety
5
Value for Money
4

The Smoby Kids Nature Playhouse is a relatively simple outdoor playhouse, designed for kids aged 2+ and suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

Although the design of the playhouse is basic, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it allows children to use their imagination more creatively. It’s fairly spacious inside, measuring 98 x 110 x 127 cm, and can accommodate multiple kids at once. Thanks to this playhouse’s relatively compact footprint, it can be installed in small gardens or even set up in the living room.

Consisting of a cottage-style design with a stable door and two closing windows, this playhouse is comfortable and homely. The red roof and other bright colours are UV resistant, while the entire house is easy to clean. It weighs just 12.9 kg so can be moved around the garden if needed.

Now to the assembly… Unfortunately, this outdoor playhouse isn’t the simplest to construct. Putting it together can take over an hour, which is quite a long time for such a small house. Nevertheless, with some patience it does go together in the end.

Whilst simple in design, this playhouse is still bright and engaging for kids. The moulded animals and plants on the walls add to the fun, whilst the simple interior means kids have space to create their own games. However, if your children prefer a little more guidance when it comes to their games, you might want to look into other playhouses that come with accessories included. Also, it’s worth noting that you can’t add additional Smoby features – like their picnic table or garden – to this playhouse because they aren’t compatible.

Durability and safety-wise, this playhouse meets high standards. There are no sharp corners for children to injure themselves on, nor any small accessories that could be a choking hazard for younger children.  The plastic is good quality as well.

Overall, this is one of the best children’s playhouses for placing either indoors or outside. It’s light enough to move around, and sufficiently spacious, without taking up too much room.

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  • Wooden construction is more subtle than some of the brighter plastic playhouses - blends in better with the gardens
  • Easy to assemble in around 40 minutes with an extra pair of hands
  • Spacious interior so an adult can sit inside to support younger kids
  • As it arrives undecorated, kids and adults can paint the playhouse in any colour they like

  • The wood isn’t treated so you’ll need to either paint or varnish it before it can be left outside. This will also need to be done every year
  • Door doesn’t stay closed in windy weather so you may need to invest in some form of latch
  • Compared to other playhouses, the design is very simple. Accessories will need to be purchased separately such as a table and chairs
  • Felt for the roof is not included so if you want full waterproofing, you’ll need to purchase and fit this separately
Overall Score 3.9
Design
4
Entertainment
3.5
Durability
4
Safety
4
Value for Money
4

In certain styles of garden, bright a plastic playhouse can look a little garish. If you’re looking for something a little more neutral and understated, the Big Game Hunters Evermeadow Wooden Playhouse is a good option to consider.

This cabin-style wooden playhouse has a natural design and will complement most gardens. Plus, there’s always the added benefit with a wooden playhouse that you can paint it any colour you want (if you choose to).

The playhouse has a spacious interior and can accommodate multiple children at once. It measures 126 x 105 x 95 cm and has a tall, hinged door. For added peace of mind, there are two child-safe windows installed into the playhouse; they allow in plenty of light, but are slatted which makes it impossible for children to climb out.

Also, in terms of size, this wooden playhouse is roomy but doesn’t take up an excessive amount of space. Plus, thanks to the natural design, it resembles more of an aesthetically-pleasing garden shed than a playhouse. It also comes with a floor (although it can also be purchased without one as well) which sets it apart from the other playhouses featured here. Naturally, a floor will stop the interior from getting too muddy on wet days.

Surprisingly, this wooden playhouse is relatively easy to assemble. It takes around 40 minutes, and instructions are clear. The only slight design flaw is that the door doesn’t stay closed in windy weather, so you may need to purchase a door latch separately.

Overall, this wooden playhouse has a simple and traditional design and no extra features. However, whilst this may sound like a negative point, it actually allows children to put their own stamp on the house. It can be decorated according to their instructions (!) and transformed into anything they like. For a child with a clear vision of how they’d like their playhouse to look, it’s absolutely perfect.

Of course, as this is a wooden playhouse, it does require more maintenance than a plastic model. The wood arrives untreated, so will need either varnishing or painting, and you’ll also need to purchase felt for the roof if you want it to be fully watertight. Once installed, it’ll be more of a permanent feature than plastic playhouses which can be moved around the garden.

To conclude, this is one of the best children’s playhouses if you would like a wooden model. It doesn’t take long to assemble, and ’s also a great choice because of its traditional design, and the way it can be painted to fit any child’s tastes.

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  • Simple to build in around 40 minutes with all pieces clearly labelled
  • Arrives undecorated, so you can paint it in your child’s favourite colours
  • Included chalkboard allows children to practise writing and drawing
  • Thanks to the large open windows, this playhouse is great for the summer and doesn't get too hot
  • Appeals to a wide age range of children thanks to the spacious 137 cm internal height

  • Doesn’t come with a floor, although this can be purchased separately
  • Wood needs to be treated or painted before use and this will need to be done every year
  • Care needs to be taken not to split wood when joining it together
Overall Score 4.7
Design
5
Entertainment
4.5
Durability
5
Safety
5
Value for Money
4

For children of a range of ages, this Big Game Hunters Cafe Shop Wooden Playhouse allows children up to 8-years-old to set up shop in their own little cafe. As this is a wooden playhouse, it’s totally customisable in terms of colour and decoration, but is also equally as fun if left with its natural fir-wood finish.

This wooden playhouse has several wide open windows, acting as the counters for the cafe, as well as a couple of chalkboards for writing signs and menus. In total, this wooden playhouse measures 137 x 112 x 93 cm and is spacious enough for a couple of children to play alongside each other in the cafe. The space around the outside is equally as usable, offering the opportunity for siblings and friends to queue up and order “food”.

Unlike the plastic Smoby Kids Chef Playhouse (also featured on this page), which has a similar cafe theme, there are no additional accessories/utensils/fake foods included with the Big Game Hunters Cafe Playhouse. However, as a wooden playhouse, it has the benefit of being a more permanent structure compared to a plastic model, and it’s more suitable for older children as well.

Like most wooden playhouses, this model looks good in the garden – it doesn’t have the (sometimes garish) appearance of some plastic playhouses. This wooden playhouse can be painted in any colour you like, and it’s very easy to assemble. Putting it together takes around 40 minutes and it simply slots together.

The wood isn’t pre-treated, however, so you should varnish or paint the house before putting it outside. It also doesn’t come with a floor, although there is an option to purchase one as an add-on.

The beauty of this playhouse is that it encourages imagination, independence and teamwork. It’s also wonderfully versatile and can be transformed by your child into a cafe, ice cream parlour, shop… or anything else they fancy!

Given that the central interior height measures 137 cm, this is one of the best children’s playhouses for kids with a mix of ages. It’s a good size for children who are 3 – 8 years old, but is safety certified for children from 18 months+. If you have children with a bigger age gap, or want something that your kids can use for several years, it’s a great option to consider.

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  • Weighs under 12 kg so it’s easy to move around the garden
  • Compact 100 x 104 cm footprint is suitable for small gardens/indoor use
  • Bright primary colours are engaging for younger children aged between 2 and 5
  • Plastic exterior is easy to wipe clean if needed
  • Easy to assemble with plastic screws provided

  • Doesn’t come with a floor so may get muddy in the wetter months, although you could purchase a ground mat separately
  • Will need to be sheltered/brought inside during windy weather
  • Suitable for preschoolers but children are likely to grow out of it fairly quickly
Overall Score 4
Design
4
Entertainment
3
Durability
4
Safety
5
Value for Money
4

Perfect for young children aged between 2 and 5, the Dolu Indoor & Outdoor Waterproof Playhouse is compact and colourful. It has a fun, bright design that will appeal to younger kids.

The playhouse is relatively simple, with a hinged stable door that children will enjoy opening and closing. The house is made using bright pieces of plastic and decorated with colourful balloons and fireworks. It measures 125 x 100 x 104 cm so it’s relatively small, although the compact footprint means it’s perfect for small gardens, and it could also be installed in kitchens and living rooms.

Made from hard plastic, this playhouse is weather resistant and easy to clean. However, as it weighs just 11.42 kg, you may find it needs weighing down or moving to a sheltered spot when the wind picks up. The lack of floor also means the interior can get muddy, although the playhouse can simply be picked up and moved to another spot in the garden if the ground starts to get too downtrodden.

Overall, this is one of the best children’s playhouses for younger children; however, due to the small size, you may find they outgrow it relatively quickly. Nevertheless, thanks to the affordable price tag and engaging design, it’s a great option for parents with just one or two children under 5 years old.

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Product Tester

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Garden Design Expert

To find the best outdoor playhouses on the market, I tested a broad selection of different-sized playhouses and assessed each model individually. I evaluated their ease of assembly, overall design, how entertaining they are for kids, their safety, and their value for the money spent. Here are the factors I considered when testing each of those elements:

Design: I examined how durable the design was, how sturdy the plastic or wood was, and each model’s ability to withstand UV, high winds, and regular wear and tear. I considered whether or not you could add additional features to the playhouse, which gave it a higher rating, and the model’s compactness, which is essential for those with limited space. However, I also assessed each model on how much space it has for kids to play, which is especially important when you need more room for multiple kids (and adults!) to use it simultaneously. I evaluated things like ease of moving, ease of cleaning, and whether or not it had a built-in floor since they can get muddy inside and require extra cleaning. I also looked at how well moving parts like doors worked and if the playhouses were wooden, whether they needed any maintenance or finishing. 

Entertainment: How much fun the kids have with the playhouse is one of the most important considerations to look at. I examined how interesting the design was and how many interactive elements and fun accessories came with it. Other factors I considered were how well they encouraged imaginative play and whether there were any learning lessons inherent in the design. Again, I looked at whether multiple kids could play with it simultaneously and if it was suitable for entertaining multiple age groups, which is especially important for larger families. 

Assembly: I examined how easy the instructions were to follow – if the instructions were straightforward, these models were given a higher rating. If the instructions were unclear or lacked proper labelling of parts or screws, I gave it a lower rating. For assembly, I looked at how easy it was to put together, how long it took, if additional tools were required, and if it could be done with only one set of hands. It got a good rating if it was straightforward and went together relatively fast (ideally under 30 minutes) without additional help. 

Safety: I examined safety factors like sharp corners and if there were small parts that would require closer supervision for young children. With those with doors, I looked at whether or not the kids might get their fingers caught in them. It got a very high rating if it was safe for any children of any age.

Value For Money: To determine the value for the money spent, I looked at how much fun the kids would have in terms of features and accessories for the amount of money spent. I also factored in how suitable it was for multiple children of multiple ages to play with, giving the playhouse more versatility and additional value for your money.

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Clive's Smart Buying Tips

  1. Even small playhouses offer a lot of play potential for younger kids. A playhouse that measures approximately 100 x 100 cm will be suitable for children aged 3 – 5. It may not sound very big, but generally two children can play together comfortably in a house of this size. To accommodate three children, the playhouse needs to be around 130 x 110 cm.
  2. For younger children, choose a plastic playhouse as this will help to avoid bumps and knocks. Another benefit of small, plastic playhouses is that they generally weigh between 10 – 20 kg and can be moved between inside and outside.
  3. Wooden playhouses are more permanent fixtures. You might want to choose a wooden playhouse for something that children will continue to use as they grow. A roof height between 130 – 140 cm will accommodate children up to 10 years old.
  4. If you want to get in the playhouse to assist younger children, look for a height of at least 150 cm. You’ll still have to crouch, but it will be a bit more comfortable.
  5. On top of these practical features, there are a lot of design elements to consider as well. Whilst standard houses are great for imaginative play, specifically-themed playhouses can encourage certain games. You’ll see that there is a shop playhouse in the list below, as well as an eco-focused option. Additional elements, such as doorbells, flowerpots, moving doors and windows, will all give children more features to interact with.

I’ve picked the Smoby Kids Chef Playhouse and Kitchen as my top recommendation. It appeals to a wide age range and has a highly engaging design. This café-style playhouse is great for aspiring chefs, as well as future entrepreneurs, and it also comes with a number of accessories included.

How to Choose The Best Children's Playhouse

Deciding What Size to Buy

There are three main questions to consider when working out what size playhouse to go for:

  1. How much space do you have available? Have you got a small garden? Do you want the playhouse to be positioned exclusively outside, or would you like it to be used indoors on occasion?
  2. How old are your children, and do you want them to ‘grow into’ the playhouse, or have it be the perfect size for them straight away?
  3. Do you want to be able to fit into the playhouse as well, to have another place to interact and spend time with your child, or is this not important?

READ NEXT: Magical Fairy Garden Ideas

Available Space

It’s important to consider how much space you have available; some outdoor playhouses look a lot smaller in pictures than they are in real life!

For very young children, small playhouses made from plastic are ideal. These tend to have a footprint of less than 110 x 110 cm and are often suitable for children aged from around 2 – 5 years. These can be used both indoors and out depending on how much space you have available.

Larger outdoor playhouses are more suitable for older children. As a rough guide, they might be around 200 cm wide and can be made from plastic or wood. You might find them better value for money because children can use them for longer – this is especially true of the bigger wooden houses; they’re not just “little kids’ toys”. In fact, it’s not unheard of for even young teenagers to want an outdoor clubhouse!

Work out exactly how much space you have available by physically marking out the area beforehand. You need a flat area of garden in a safe location. Being able to visualise how much space the playhouse will take up is useful as a playhouse which is too large will cramp your garden.

Age Suitability

As mentioned, smaller playhouses tend to be suitable for children up to around the ages of 5 – 7.

The age suitability of a certain playhouse often comes down to a couple of factors: the height of the doorway, height of the ceiling, and weight capacity of any furniture.

Children can be slightly taller than the height of the door frame and duck to enter the house, as long as there is still enough space for them to move around. Take into account the lowest roof measurement when deciding if a playhouse will be suitable for your child.

Average children heights are as follows (to help when comparing against the roof height of playhouses):

3 years old – 95 cm

4 years old – 101 cm

5 years old – 108 cm

6 years old – 115 cm

7 years old – 121 cm

8 years old – 128 cm

9 years old  – 133 cm

10 years old – 138 cm

11 years+ – 144 cm+

If you want the best value for money, you may choose to buy a larger playhouse that the child can ‘grow into’, but that may mean that they need assistance using it (for example, unlocking and locking wooden doors) initially.

Interior Space

The amount of interior space will dictate how many children can fit inside the playhouse, as well as whether you can squeeze in there too.

At least two children can normally fit in even a small plastic playhouse. If the side measurement is closer to 200 cm, at least three children will likely be able to fit inside.

If you’re hoping to squeeze in occasionally too, take note of the door frame size and the height room available. These will likely be an adult’s biggest challenges when getting into a playhouse.

If there’s sufficient interior space, it should also be possible to fit children’s furniture into the playhouse. A table and chairs will likely encourage kids to spend even more time outside, so it’s worth taking note of the interior area of the playhouse for this reason too.

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Construction Materials

Outdoor playhouses tend to be made of either plastic or wood. There are pros and cons to each material, which are detailed below.

Plastic Playhouses

Playhouses for younger kids are often made from plastic which tends to be a good choice for them; it’s durable and waterproof as well as safe and low maintenance. Generally speaking, plastic playhouses have rounded edges and extra gaps to stop little fingers getting trapped.

Plastic has the added bonus of being very easy to clean – even if it gets a bit grubby outside, you can simply hose it down. If you want a plastic playhouse that will last, you should make sure that the plastic is anti UV – this will stop the colour from fading and degrading in sunlight over time.

The majority of playhouses made from plastic are easy to assemble with plastic pieces that ‘slot’ into place. They require limited DIY skills: the most you’ll need to do when putting these together is tighten large plastic screws. For this reason they’re also relatively easy to take apart for winter storage if necessary.

Plastic playhouses also tend to be quite light, generally weighing between 12 – 20 kg. As a result, they are more mobile than wooden playhouses and can be moved around the garden if necessary. This can come in handy when mowing the grass or trying to give worn out grass a break. However, lighter playhouses may need to be kept an eye on during very windy weather.

Wooden Playhouses

A wooden playhouse tends to be traditional and charming. These playhouses are normally better suited to older kids because everything is just a bit more solid. Wooden playhouses might have sharper corners (although some models will take care to curve them off), and don’t always have all the safety allowances that plastic houses may have (like extra gaps around the doors). This can make them less suitable for young children or mean that more supervision will be required.

A wooden playhouse can help deliver a more pleasing aesthetic to the garden compared to a plastic playhouse. Depending on the size that you buy, a wooden playhouse may also be used for longer, as your children grow up. Children can quickly outgrow a small plastic house, but a wooden playhouse often stays relevant for longer.

The downside of a wooden playhouse is that they aren’t always as weather resistant as plastic houses. If not properly maintained, wooden playhouses can be susceptible to rot. Look for one made from pressure-treated wood as this will mean it is already protected against rot or insect infestation. After a few years, you will need to apply a wood treatment to even pressure-treated wood to keep it effective.

Wooden playhouses with felt roofs will have more protection against rain coming in through the roof. This can make them more waterproof inside. Building a wooden playhouse on some sort of foundation can also stop water seeping up from the floor and causing rot.

In terms of assembly, wooden playhouses require more time to put together. You’ll likely need a few tools, some DIY knowledge and an extra pair of hands.

READ NEXT: How to Build a Bowling Alley in Your Back Garden

Keeping Children Safe

There are a few things that can help keep children safe when they’re playing in their playhouse.

Firstly, always check that the playhouse is age appropriate for your child. Most playhouse manufacturers will state the recommended age range for the equipment and this shouldn’t be exceeded.

For younger children, as mentioned, it can be good to check that the playhouse has finger gaps around any moveable windows and doors so that their fingers don’t get trapped.

Children should be supervised at all times, and it’s always a good idea to regularly check any playhouse for anything that may have broken or be hazardous.

With wooden playhouses, check for rough timber that could splinter, and make sure screws are well embedded or covered with safety caps.

If you do purchase a wooden playhouse, you should do a ‘safety check’ every so often. This way you can sand down any splintering wood and check out other potential problems.

Ensure that the playhouse isn’t positioned under any trees to prevent branches falling on the roof and potentially damaging it.

You  should also make sure that the playhouse is situated away from any obstacles which children might accidentally run into when playing in and around the playhouse.

If there is any sort of raised platform or slide, you need to leave a 2 m clearance zone on all sides of the structure. This will help protect children in case they fall.

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