Best Playhouses to Keep Kids Entertained

Review & Comparison, Last Update October 11, 2017
Children need some private place, somewhere they can hide, play, gather, and have fun! And a playhouse is a spectacular way to provide your little one with such "shelter". It can not only entertain your kid but also develop imagination and communicative skills. A win-win choice for every family! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Installation
Materials
Dimensions
Recommended Age
Construction and Kit
Safety
Warranty
 
PROS

This playhouse is made from 100% cedarwood, so it looks just like a real cottage.

CONS

The house is rather heavy, which means it's suitable for stationary installation only.

OUR VERDICT

This is an ideal playhouse for large backyards! The cottage is full of various inviting details to entertain and develop your little one. Great for a whole group of children!

detailed parameters
Installation

Outdoors

Materials

100% Chinese cedarwood

Dimensions

72"W x 58"D x 66"H

Weight: 150 lbs

Recommended Age

2 - 10 years

Construction and Kit

Working door with magnet hasp, Open windows with a wide sill, Front flower pot holders, Bench outside, Interior sink & goose-neck faucet, Double burner

Safety

ASTM Compliant, Safe-T-Fuse hardware, Heavy duty brackets

Warranty

1-year replacement warranty on all parts for manufacturer’s defect,

5-year warranty on wood rot and decay

PROS

A sand and water table with a mill will entertain your kid and develop his or her motor skills.

CONS

Some pieces might be labeled incorrectly.

OUR VERDICT

This house will surely bring a country charm to your backyard! A variety of additional frills will provide toddlers and preschoolers with a fun pastime.

detailed parameters
Installation

Outdoors (if the temperature is above 0 ºF)

Materials

Durable plastic

Dimensions

80''L x 37''W x 52.75''H 

Weight: 48 lbs

Recommended Age

 18+ months

Construction and Kit

Open windows, Working half-door, Play kitchen area with stove with clicker knobs and a faucet, Sand and water table with cover, Mailbox with a flag, Pounding bench, Screwdriver, Hammer, Phone, Nail (6), Cup

Safety

100% compliance with the entire Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), Meets and exceeds ASTM 

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The floor has drain holes to make the house a safe and clean place to play.

CONS

The doorbell isn't water-resistant, so don't leave it in the rain.

OUR VERDICT

An excellent combination of affordable price and interactive toys will surely appeal to preschoolers and their parents. A fully functional doorbell will notify your child about the arrival of guests!

detailed parameters
Installation

Outdoors (if the temperature is above 32 ºF)

Materials

Durable plastic

Dimensions

46.5"x 51"x 35"

Weight: 55 lbs

Recommended Age

1.5+ years

Construction and Kit

Open windows, Working Dutch door with shutters, Built-in floor with drain holes, Pass-through mailbox, Electronic doorbell, Kitchen seat, Fireplace, Wall clock, Play phone, Built-in shelves, Kitchen table and faucet, Molded-in flower box

Safety

Meets ASTM

Warranty

3 years

PROS

By coloring, painting, and decorating this cottage in all possible ways, your child can create a unique playing area!

CONS

This item isn't suitable for outdoor use.

OUR VERDICT

This is the best playhouse to boost your child's imagination and give him/her some privacy! It's an ideal option for eco-conscious families since it's completely recyclable.

detailed parameters
Installation

Indoors

Materials

Heavy-gauge cardboard

Dimensions

55"L x 36"W x 48"H 

Weight: 11 lbs

Recommended Age

3+ years

Construction and Kit

4 windows, 2 mail slots, 2 doors, Black lines on the outside, 8 jumbo washable markers included

Safety

Bio-degradable, Eco-friendly materials (including recycled content) that are formaldehyde-free and completely recyclable

Warranty

30-day Amazon's return policy

PROS

By combining tent, tunnel, and ball pit in multiple ways, you can either install a whole complex for a special occasion or just pitch a tent in a nursery.

CONS

If fully assembled, it might seem rather bulky for small rooms.

OUR VERDICT

It's an extremely lightweight and portable set which easily folds up and fits a special storage bag, so you can always take it with you if necessary. Great for both indoor and outdoor use!

detailed parameters
Installation

Indoors / Outdoors

Materials

Soft fabric, Breathable mesh 

Dimensions

Tent: 40"H , 44" Diagonal Base, 

Tunnel: 42"L , 19" Dia,

Ball Pit with Hoop:  18"H Base, 32"H x 45"W Hoop,

Weight: 3.2 lbs

Recommended Age

3+ years

Construction and Kit

 3pc playhouse tent, Crawl tunnel, Basketball pit with hoop, Zipper carrying bag

Safety

Meets and exceeds all USA CPSC Toy Safety Guidelines

Warranty

100% money-back guarantee

What is a Playhouse

It’s not “if”, it’s “when” your child begins to create a cozy private place to have fun, build a shelter, and have a rest. And when it happens, a playhouse will be the best gift ever. It can provide endless opportunity for imagination and entertainment! In this kind of house, your little one will be able to play "make believe" games with friends and explore the world around!

Kids playhouses come in different designs that resemble cottages, castles, princess quarters, tunnels, etc. You can buy a house to install in the garden or in the nursery, the house may be made of plastic, wood, fabric, or even cardboard. So, it’s up to you to decide which one will work best for you child and let him/her use the imagination at full.

You can also please your little angel with a fascinating doll house or a ride-on car!

What Features to Compare

Place and Materials

First, you need to decide what kind of playhouse is best for your home and family and where you’re going to install it. Depending on this, consider the materials it's made of. Wooden and plastic models are ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. However, keep in mind that though wooden houses are eco-friendly, they are too welcoming for spiders, wasps, bees, mosquitoes, and other insects. Plastic houses also have one disadvantage: they might become too hot in the sizzling sun, so it's better to keep them in shade. Both wooden and plastic playhouses can be installed in your backyard at the beginning of a spring-summer season. If you don’t plan to take it away for cold seasons, pay attention to its temperature limits. Note that fabric tents are also suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, but they can't withstand low temperatures. Yet, they are an excellent solution for small homes and apartments, as they can be easily folded up for storage. Also, the market offers cardboard playhouses which are a worthy choice for small spaces.

Age and Features

With windows and doors, some playhouses look almost like real houses, and a vast number of interactive toys make them even more realistic. You can choose a house with a kitchen or bathroom, a store-house, a castle, or even a pirate-ship playhouse. Just take your child’s preferences and age into account.

Safety

Naturally, playhouses must be safe! Therefore, check their compliance with the requirements of ASTM and other similar standards that confirm the safety of the materials used. Also, pay attention to the sharp edges, wood chips, and reliability of mounts. It's a bonus if a playhouse has plenty of cut-outs and windows since all parents want to keep an eye on their children while they are playing. A playhouse should bring you and your child only positive emotions!

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Backyard Discovery Summer Cottage All Cedar Wood

Enjoy the Advantages of a Wooden Playhouse

The Backyard Discovery Summer Cottage is made of 100% cedarwood and looks extremely natural and attractive. Having quite an impressive weight of 150 pounds, the house is best suited for stationary installation in a backyard. And you won’t need to worry about the rainy weather, since the house is treated with a water-repellent chemical-free stain absolutely safe for children. Plus, the cottage boasts the UV protection, so neither mold nor sun rays can damage it. The great news is that the house can be upgraded over time; you can polish the surface and refresh the protective coating whenever you need. Supplied with prefabricated panels with drilled holes, this small cottage is extremely easy to assemble. Note that the house can withstand bad weather and temperature drops, yet the manufacturer recommends to remove plastic parts and accessories if the temperature falls below 32 °F. So, made with a blend of high-quality materials and luxurious design, this playhouse will bring your family happy memories for years to come!

Review of Backyard Discovery Summer Cottage All Cedar Wood

Reliable Protection Against the Outer World

Exclusive Safe-T-Fuse locking nuts in conjunction with high-strength steel brackets make the Backyard Discovery Summer Cottage very sturdy and reliable. All connecting elements are equipped with rounded heads to prevent scratching and catching on clothing.

The house should be installed on a flat surface only. When choosing a place for its installation, make sure that the house is visible well, so that you can always watch your child. Also, set the playhouse at least 6 ft away from any obstruction such as a fence, garage, electrical wires, your house, and overhanging branches.

If you plan to soften its floor with some shock-absorbing material, apply it only after the house is completely assembled. By following these simple rules, you will provide your kid with a fun and safe gaming environment!

Backyard Discovery Summer Cottage All Cedar Wood in the use

Favorite Place for Games

White wooden holders for flower pots on the facade in combination with white windows and a chimney on the roof make the house even more attractive and lifelike! The flowers are not included, so it's a duty of every parent to provide them. Natural flowers will not only decorate the house and surround it with a pleasant aroma but will also encourage your child to be more helpful around the house. Watering flowers will be very interesting even for a two-year-old kid.

The kitchen area is equipped with a sink, faucet, interactive knobs, and a stove where your child can cook 'meals' for friends. To help your kid further improve his/her cooking skills in winter, we suggest you install a play kitchen in a nursery.

The cottage is pretty spacious and can comfortably accommodate a small company of kids, while wide windows will supply them with light and fresh air. Install the Backyard Discovery Summer Cottage in your backyard! Provide your little darling with countless hours of fun!

Detailed review of Backyard Discovery Summer Cottage All Cedar Wood

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Backyard Discovery Summer Cottage All Cedar Wood
Backyard Discovery Summer Cottage All Cedar Wood
 

Little Tikes Deluxe Home and Garden

Use Your Imagination

This playhouse for kids is generously sized (80'' x 37") and consists of three elements - the house itself, the fence, and the table. So, before buying, prepare ample space in your backyard for it.  Also, we would like to point out that all the accessories included are made of high-quality plastic and they are pretty large for toddlers.

The cute light fence is fitted with a mailbox with a flag to provide your young postmen with lots of fun, playing post office games. Inside the house, kids will find a yellow bench with a hammer and screws. These inviting details will encourage your child to have a go at building and improve his/her hand-eye coordination skills. Another interactive detail, a kitchenette with working clicker knobs, will fascinate both boys and girls with cooking for long hours. All in all, it's a fantastic toddler playhouse to let them act just like mom and dad!

Review of Little Tikes Deluxe Home and Garden

Playing with Sand

As we’ve already mentioned, the Little Tikes playhouse will be an exciting entertainment for every child over 1.5 years old. If used in the garden, it will protect kids from bright and sizzling sunlight. Note that the table comes with a cover, which can protect the contents from dirt or rain as well.

Your child's imagination will soar with the water table divided into two trays - one for sand, and the other one for water! The table has even a sink with a water plug next to which you can install a sand/water mill that will keep your children entertained for hours (of course, with plenty of messy fun)! Games with sand will be a great opportunity to boost their fine motor skills. Plus, children can use their imagination to create various sand pies and biscuits (your child might need special play dishes for them), hide different “treasures” in the sand... the possibilities are endless!

Little Tikes Deluxe Home and Garden in the use

Safety Above All

Little Tikes is one of those companies that pay primary attention to the safety of their products. All their toys don’t contain harmful PVC, phthalates, latex, or BPA. 

This Home and Garden Playhouse comply with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) and ASTM F963: "Standard Consumer Specification on Toy Safety". So, the Little Tikes Deluxe Home and Garden Playhouse is absolutely safe for your child!

Detailed review of Little Tikes Deluxe Home and Garden

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Little Tikes Deluxe Home and Garden
Little Tikes Deluxe Home and Garden
 

Step2 Neat and Tidy II

A Cozy Cottage

This Neat & Tidy Cottage II looks almost exactly like a real grandma’s summer bungalow! The exterior of the cottage resembles stone and wood, and the house itself looks very welcoming thanks to a lantern "illuminating" the way. Light green shutters, red door, blue grill … just everything in this house is spectacular and designed with incredible detail. Open the windows to let the sunlight in, and, instead of a windowsill, you’ll find the molded-in flower box for real or artificial flowers. If necessary, this box can be also used for different small stuff.

The cottage is great not only from the outside but from the inside as well! Funny pictures, a fireplace, and a wall clock create a super comfortable atmosphere. It’s also noteworthy that the plastic floor is fitted with drain holes, preventing water stagnation after the rain. So, your child will receive an exciting place for outdoor games in any weather!

Review of Step2 Neat and Tidy II

Funny Games

This playhouse from Step2 has everything to turn your child's pastime into an exciting experience. In addition to all the decorations for creating a joyful atmosphere, the exterior electronic doorbell will let your kids know that this is their very own place. So that your little homeowners can hear “Ding-dong” notifying of guests, you only need to install 2 AAA batteries.

Your children will be able to receive letters from friends and relatives through this mailbox. Plus, inside the house, your baby will find one more communication device, a cordless phone.

Also, there is a big kitchen area equipped with a sink, faucet, and a small table for a pretend play. Beside the table, you can find a seat with the maximum bearing capacity of 35 pounds (ideal for two). By setting this full-featured playhouse in your backyard, you will be able to relax on your terrace, watching your children playing passionately.

Step2 Neat and Tidy II in the use

Invite Your Guests to a BBQ Party

Is there anything better than throwing a BBQ party on a warm summer day? The Step2 Neat and Tidy II Playhouse is a great choice for families that love cooking outside! It will occupy your and your friends’ children for hours, while the adults will communicate and recreate.

The outdoor games are extremely beneficial to kids. When children run, jump, ride tricycles, they improve metabolism, coordination, flexibility, and the overall health. Having fun in a play house, kids will feel just like parents and will definitely organize their own BBQ party. Want to encourage your kids to get into the BBQ spirit?

Detailed review of Step2 Neat and Tidy II

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Step2 Neat and Tidy II
Step2 Neat and Tidy II
 

My Very Own House Coloring House

6 Simple Folds

If you are looking for a compact and easy to assemble playhouse, the My Very Own House Coloring Playhouse is definitely the best pick. This cottage with a door, shutters, and even a chimney can be installed literally anywhere since it’s made of cardboard and has a very small weight. Additionally, it comes almost pre-assembled, and you’ll need to make only 6 simple folds to set it up for play or collapse for storage. Simple and fun!

Review of My Very Own House Coloring House

Color Your World

Most children are quite messy, they like to draw on different things, which often leaves parents with lots of cleanup chores. If that goes for you, this My Very Own House  Coloring Playhouse is a smart choice!

On the outside, this cottage looks rather plain, with black lines contouring the doors, windows, flowers, trees, birds, and other similar elements. Yet, the world is yours! Both you and your baby are welcome to color the house with 8 jumbo washable markers included in the package. The markers can’t be erased from the surface, but if your kid begins to paint all around, ta-da! You will be able to easily get rid of colorful tracks all over your real house.

When decorating a cottage, don't limit your imagination and that of your little one. Let you kid draw additional decorations, use pencils, paints or crayons, glue a variety of extra items and stickers to create an absolutely unique house! It has long been proven that drawing with a pencil is very useful for improving fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination skills. All these activities contribute to the development of speech, stimulate mental activity, and, as a result, a baby becomes more attentive. Through painting, children express their emotions and, thus, parents can easily notice if their little one is upset or unhappy with something. Additionally, you can purchase a non-colored wooden train set to give your kid an opportunity to create a unique playing environment!

My Very Own House Coloring House in the use

Completely Recyclable

The playhouse under review is absolutely unique, as it’s made of heavy-gauge cardboard. This cardboard is extremely sturdy, yet totally safe, since it has no sharp edges that could harm a child. And if you are eco-conscious parents, you will certainly appreciate the fact that this My Very Own House Coloring Playhouse is completely recyclable and earth-friendly. The cardboard is made from biodegradable and formaldehyde-free materials. So, with the My Very Own House, you can create a completely safe environment for your little one and take care of the Earth.

Detailed review of My Very Own House Coloring House

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


My Very Own House Coloring House
My Very Own House Coloring House
 

Playz 3-Piece Kids Play Tent Tunnel

Take This House With You

Soft fabric tents are no longer something off-beat in many nurseries since their benefits are numerous! The Playz 3-Piece Kids Play Tent Tunnel has all them. It's lightweight and easily foldable to a tiny size, which is perfect if you don't have enough space in a nursery for keeping it installed permanently.

This tent is also an excellent solution for outdoor use, and its assembly will take just a few minutes. A light fabric bag with a zipper comfortably accommodates all 3 pieces of the playhouse (tent, tunnel, and ball pit) for easy storage and transportation. So, you can take such a playhouse with you on a picnic or a visit to grandparents. The material this playhouse is made of is extremely easy-to-clean and strong enough to withstand vigorous kids' games. Therefore, your baby can safely crawl through the tunnel, jump into the pool, hide in the tent, or play basketball with friends.

If you’re hunting for a playhouse that will be with your kid at all times and in all places, giving your little one long hours of joy, this Playz 3-Piece Kids Playhouse is the one you really need!

Review of Playz 3-Piece Kids Play Tent Tunnel

Combine Elements the Way You Wish

An elevated design of Playz Kids Playhouse includes a tent, a tunnel, and a ball pit with a hoop, allowing you to combine these 3 elements in multiple ways. You can use the tunnel, tent, and the ball pit together, as a 2pc set, or individually. And in order to combine or separate them, you only need to use the buttons and loops on each piece.

The total length of the whole construction amounts to more than 100''. Therefore, this generously sized playhouse will help you entertain a crowd of kids, allowing their parents to relax at children's parties. By the way, if you like entertaining kids so much, you might be also interested in inflatable bouncers.

The bright colors, the ability to play, run, jump, and crawl will surely keep kids busy for long hours. And a tent alone can be easily set even in a small nursery to provide your child with a cozy private place.

Playz 3-Piece Kids Play Tent Tunnel in the use

A "Pool" Without Water

Another attractive feature of this house is a ball pit. Of course, this hexagonal “pool” with a basketball hoop can be used empty, but the best option would be to buy additional plastic balls and add them to the pit so that your kids could jump, roll and play mini-basketball.

Detailed review of Playz 3-Piece Kids Play Tent Tunnel

Playz 3-Piece Kids Play Tent Tunnel
Playz 3-Piece Kids Play Tent Tunnel
 

FAQ:

Q: What base is suitable for a playhouse made of solid wood?

A: First and foremost, the base should ensure stability. It must be solid, smooth, and square. It can't be smaller in size than the floor area of the house. If this is possible, it's recommended setting it along the paving slabs or on a solid concrete base.

Q: How to maintain a wooden playhouse? 

A: Wooden houses for children require treatment from time to time. To prolong the service life of your playhouse, treat it with a high-quality wood stain every year. Also, oil windows and door hinges for their smooth operation. As we have already mentioned, wooden houses are too welcoming for nature, so they should be checked for insects as well. Especially during the warm months!

Q: Do I need to buy additional toys for a playhouse?

A: Most kids' playhouses come already loaded with many bells and whistles. However, if you want to make a house even more appealing to your child, you can add further components such as play dishes, false shutters, various hanging signs and flags, foldaway tables, swings, and lots of other accessories.

Q: When can I buy the first kids' house for my toddler?

A: The market offers children playhouses that can be used as soon as your baby is 18 months old. As usual, such houses are equipped with huge plastic toys safe for your toddler. There are also some soft playhouses for kids, which let your sweetie crawl and jump.

Q: Is a plastic playhouse safe for my kid?

A: Definitely, yes! All modern children's houses for kids are made of chemical-free plastic, so they are absolutely safe for them.

Q: What are the weight limits for the floor?

A: Typically, kids' playhouses houses can withstand both parents and children inside, let alone a couple of their friends. Yet, we suggest you read the manufacturer's recommendations before use.

Q: How tall is the ceiling inside most of the playhouses?

A: It depends on the model you choose. For toddlers, playhouse ceilings are usually about 5 ft, while they are a bit higher for older children.


Sources:

1. How to Choose the Perfect Playhouse, eBay.  January 21, 2015. 

2. How To Choose the Best Outdoor Playhouse, eBay. August 13, 2014. 

3. Kelly Roberson Playhouse Ideas, Better Homes & Gardens

4. Colin Stone The Benefits of the Cardboard Playhouse, EzineArticles.com. September 1, 2016.

5. Dale Hrabi Why Children Need Playhouses, The Wall Street Journal. August 7, 2015.

6. Amanda Lehrman 10 Activities to Improve Your Toddler's Development, Parents. 

7. John Hoffman 6 surprising brain-builders for preschoolers, Today's Parent. September 15, 2016.

8. Alex Brooks How to play with your toddler and actually have fun, kidspot.

9. How to help your toddler develop fine motor skills, Babycenter.

10. Amanda Morin Skill Development From Birth to Age 5Understood.

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