Summer and kids go hand-in-hand, and your kids are going to love these ideas from regular contributor, Megan Wild. Build a Playhouse in your Backyard!
How to Create a Kids’ Playhouse
Building Memories Your Family Will Cherish
As the weather warms, dreams of kids playing outside until dusk, chasing lightning bugs and feeling the grass between your toes begin to dance in your head.
There is perhaps no outdoor activity more quintessentially youthful than playing in a backyard playhouse. Thanks to kids’ imagination and ingenuity, the outdoor abode doesn’t have to resemble the Swiss Family Robinson’s intricate, multi-room treehouse. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be in a tree.
At the moment, however, you are staring at a bare backyard. So how can you win parent of the year and take your backyard from boring to the neighborhood kids’ favorite hangout? Creating your child’s dream playhouse is within reach, even if you don’t have the acumen for complicated DIY projects. Here are four easy steps to creating the perfect playhouse for your children.
Check Local Ordinances
Start by checking with your local municipality to ensure you are following any existing regulations. Some communities have rules about how large these structures can be, how close to the property line they should sit, and whether they need to be built on the ground. Some municipalities may ban treehouses altogether, and only allow playhouses in the yard.
This is also the time to check with your homeowners insurance. Some insurance carriers do have regulations about structures like playhouses, and you’ll want to be sure you’re covered before moving forward.
Select a Design
Now that the paperwork is out of the way, you can get started with the fun stuff, like picking a design. Be honest with yourself about your do-it-yourself abilities. Sure, an insulated playhouse with lighting and Wi-Fi might be your child’s dream, but is it within your budget and ability? Thankfully, there are a variety of designs and options available online that can be matched with your time commitment and level of ability.
This playhouse design, created by a loving grandfather, has something for everyone, including a mini climbing wall, slide and plenty of roofed-in play space. It’s grandkid approved, no surprise there!
A rustic fort design is perfect for families who want something other than a traditional-looking playhouse.
Some of you might balk at the idea of building your own playhouse from scratch, or you might be anxious about the amount of time and skill it takes to get this project right. If so, look for inspiration from parents who took the ubiquitous Little Tykes plastic playhouse and gave it a remodel you have to see to believe. This is also a great option for families on a tight budget, since these playhouses can often be found at yard sales or resale websites.
Tools, Supplies and Building
Now that you’ve got a design selected, it’s time to get your hands dirty! Building a playhouse is a great opportunity to teach basic handyman skills to older kids, like hammering a nail and sanding wood. You may want to do the more dangerous sawing and cutting at a time when the kids aren’t underfoot.
For a project this size, logistics are important. For example, once you purchase the lumber at your local hardware store, there’s the matter of transportation. All the lumber and additional supplies are heavy, and since this is a temporary project, you may want to consider renting equipment to help you move it. Or stock up on aspirin or ibuprofen and invite several friends to help with loading and unloading.
As for the building, follow the old adage to measure twice, cut once and follow basic safety guidelines while the backyard is a mini-construction site. This should be a fun project, not a stressful one. Finally, remember to finish the wood in a way that will protect it from the elements and is also safe for kids.
You’ll be looking out your back window at this house every day, so finish strong with a few final touches. If you want to be able to see your kids, leave the doors and windows off, but older kids might get a kick out of being able to have a more private place to call their own.
A coat of paint on the door, a flower planter or pot, or some LED lights strung across the roof could turn the playhouse into a mini-home. Pinterest is a good place to look for ideas to give your basic tree house some curb appeal.
Pee-Wee Herman shouldn’t be the only person who gets to have an awesome playhouse. Creating a playhouse for your children or grandchildren is a large project, but the rewards are even bigger. Sure, there are the moments of peace and quiet you’ll gain while the kids are out playing. More importantly, you’ll give your family countless memories of a happy childhood spent in the perfect backyard playhouse.
Visit Megan at her blog, Your Wild Home!
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