Best kids’ playhouses 2022: outdoor playhouses, from wooden huts, tower playhouses to tents and wigwams
From wooden playhouses, to garden huts, the wildly popular Little Tikes Cottage, to portable tents: we’ve got your child’s summer outdoor play centre covered
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It’s the firm conviction of the Recommended section that, at heart, everyone wants a playhouse. A small shed to dream, idle hours away in, share good times with friends or read a book on your own - bliss.
And while we concede that the adult equivalent of a playhouse - the blessed shed - may not be practical for many of us, either financially, in terms of physical space, or in terms of the people we cohabit with (who may be jealous of aforementioned shed, or time spent escaping there) providing your child(ren) with their own haven for play is far more obtainable, and likely to be met with universal alacrity in the household. They’re the ideal location for hours of fun.
How to build a wooden playhouse
Is planning permission required for a wooden playhouse?
In most instances, playhouses are considered ‘permitted developments’ by local authorities, so you don’t require planning permission. However, it’s best to check the Planning Portal website for your local planning authority if you have any doubts.
How to select a site for a wooden playhouse
If you’re building a wooden playhouse, select the site first. You’ll need an area that is:
- firm and level
- gets a reasonable amount of natural sunshine throughout the day
- easy to access from all side (for maintenance)
- as dry as possible
- within eyesight and ear shot of your home
- away from overhanging trees
You’ll need to provide a base for your playhouse, as well. You can choose from a wide range of styles - either wooden decking, paving slabs, or poured concrete.
We’ve found our favourite garden playhouses - some wooden, some plastic, and some tents, to allow your child to wile away their days having fun, while you watch on and thrill to the vicarious pleasure of knowing they have their own corner of the world to daydream in. If you want to encourage imaginative play, no purchase will go further.
TP Wooden Multiplay Playhouse
This wooden playhouse arrives in 3 packages, with each piece well-labelled for ease of assembly, which will take around 3 hours. You’ll end up with a sturdy little castle for your child.
Perfect for children who have energy to burn: there’s a deck, a ladder, slide, and a shaded sandpit. Made from FSC-certified wood, which will house up to 150kg, so many kids can clamber on it.
Key Specs: Size H224, W261, D142cm, Weight 63.5kg, Wood, suitable for children 3+
Djeco Multicoloured Play Tent
A play tent has the benefit of being able to be stored away safely when not in use, as well as the option of being transported to days out, while still providing children with a space to scheme and play and stay out of the sun.
This sunny wee offering from JoJo Maman Bebe is brightly coloured, with windows and a roll-top door easily opened for ventilation. Ideal for toddlers and primary school children.
Key Specs: 6.9 x 8.2 x 1.9cm, polyester, suitable for children 3+
Little Tikes Cape Cottage
This cute, plastic playhouse is crammed with thoughtful details to keep a small one entertained.
The Little Tikes Cape Cottage is entered through an arched doorway, with a mail slot in the doorway (write and ‘post’ your child a letter through the mailbox, to find in their hut and, trust us, they’ll be thrilled), working window shutters, and brick-style walls.
It’s a doddle to put together - less than an hour’s work - and light enough to move around the backyard at will.
Key Specs: Size H124.5, W89, D109.2cm, Weight 13.32kg, plastic, suitable for children aged 2+
TP Meadow Cottage Playhouse and Kitchen
This cute little house - you need to assemble yourself- will delight your child, you simply have to put a little effort into its prep.
Take the time to treat the wood and cover with two coats of paint, before assembly, and it’ll look fabulous and last beautifully. We’d also recommend roof-felt if you want to waterproof it.
The set itself comes with stencils to help you personalise, and we guarantee small children will adore playing with the ‘mud kitchen.’
Key specs: pine and spruce, Size H140, W99, D131cm, Weight 50kg, suitable for age 3+
Beach House Small Play House by Win Green
Small Children’s Beach Play House Tent is gorgeously made home for girls and boys alike – with a beautiful sail boat, lighthouse, deckchair – even a cup of tea awaits inside.
Easy to assemble and made of quality materials, it’s a bijou, light tent/house they can enjoy indoors and out.
A word of caution, though - it’s not waterproof, so it does need to be stored under cover.
Key Specs: Made from 100% handwoven cotton, 110cm H x 74cm W x L, suitable for 2+ years
Smoby Chef’s House and Kitchen
Burgeoning chef or potential captain of enterprise in your household? They’ll love this Smoby Chef House and Kitchen, a plastic playhouse with open-window frontage to allow your wee ones to spend hours at play.
The bright, airy restaurant features a realistic fridge, oven, sink, cash register, cooking utensil, and grill with pretend flames. Children can write up their menu and opening times on the removable slate, before opening the serving hatch shutters and greeting their guests.
Key Specs: 135cmH X 132cmW X 123cm D, Plastic, suitable for 2 years+
“In a crooked house, there lived a” - happy child, we’d wager, with this frankly spectacular playhouse. It’s big - nearly two metres by two metres - you will require a decent sized back garden for this.
But it’s a stylish, modern-looking wooden house (with a pleasing number of accessories to go with - a picnic table, mailbox, flower box, if you wish) with a semi-circular door and window, both of which can be opened to enjoy the sunshine.
A splurge, but one that kids can play in for years to come.
Key Specs: 174cm H x 193cm W x 220cm D Overall Product Weight: 138.9kg Weather resistant, suitable for four children, 3 - 13 years.
Shire 6 X 4ft Command Post Wooden Playhouse With Water Gun Ports
If you live with scamps that love playing at Commando, they’ll lose their minds over this ‘Command Post’ playhouse.
The water gun ports shut when out of use, and the spacious hut is ideal for your young ones to plan their strategic attacks for the ultimate water fight attack.
It comes unstained and unpainted, so you’ll have to add the camouflage yourself before letting your children live out their Rambo play-acting.
We’re affirmed pacifists here, but we can’t deny the giddy joy of a good play-fight.
Key Specs: D: 119 cm x H: 168 cm x W: 179 cm, Weight: 188 kg, Mixed species softwood, suitable for ages 3+
Chad Valley Foldable Wendy Playhouse
Perfect if you don’t have much space, or want a permanent playhouse, this playhouse can be put up in a matter of minutes, then put away just as easily.
While not as robust as a permanent playhouse, it’s roof doubles as a folding carry-case when the house is out of use, so you’re making up for lack of sturdiness with portability. It’s very spacious inside, and a fun little hobbit hole for smaller children.
Key Specs: Size H111, W90, D102cm, Weight 9.7kg, Resin, Suitable for 2+
TP Pirate Galleon Wooden Playhouse
Not a traditional playhouse, no, but we can’t resist a shout-out to this fabulous Pirate Galleon playhouse, the perfect location for young imaginations to run wild.
With a Captain’s cabin, plank, and sails, it’s ideal for hours of play. Made from FSC certified timber, it’s covered by a five year guarantee against wood-rot
Key Specs: 171cm L x 272cm D: Height to rear guardrail 140cm: Max height 206cm, Timber, suitable for ages 3+
Flower and Butterfly Wigwam Play Tent
A lovely little wigwam for your little ones to enjoy languorous summer days in. Made from natural cotton canvas, it’s decorated with butterflies and flowers, for a sunny, pretty feel. It’s very easy and quick to assemble - 10 minutes or so - so you can relegate it to the bedroom when the skies are grey.
Key Specs: 190cm H x 140cm W x 140cm D, 4.5kg, fabric and plastic, suitable for children 3+