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The Best Outdoor Playhouses You Can Buy

Boy in a wooden playhouse looking through binoculars
pikselstock/Shutterstock

Every kid growing up wants their own secret hideaway, a place where they can play adult and cook the scrumptious meals they want while remaining just a few feet away from their mom and dad in case they get tired of grown-up responsibilities. If you’re in the market for a new kind of playhouse, then here are a few options that we think you ought to check out.

What to Look for in Your Child’s Next Playhouse

Consider these factors when making a selection:

  • Exterior: When it comes to selecting a playhouse, you want to find an option that’s screamingly cool at first sight. While costing a fair amount more than most playhouses, classic wooden options are always seen as top-tier choices because their construction alone is so desirable. Even by playhouse standards, the more modest plastic homes can still feature designs that mimic old and modern homes in an exciting way that kids will love.
  • Interior: Regarding the inside of your next playhouse, you should be on the lookout for an option that can also surprise you on the inside, too, lest you pay for an upscale, hollowed-out pillow fort. Some of the best playhouses immerse a child in the true home experience with everyday amenities they’d find in their own house, like sinks, tables, kitchenettes, and so on.
  • Safety First: But while you’re on the lookout for the best-looking home inside and outside, another top priority you should seek out of your child’s playhouse is a safe environment. Wooden playhouses are often seen as the most durable choice for your buck, but plastic and fabric playhouses are light enough to avoid accidents at all times.

Top Choice: Backyard Discovery Sweetwater All-Cedar Wooden Playhouse

A near five-foot high playhouse that features sturdy cedar paneling with large cut-out windows and a doorframe.

Crafted from 100% cedar wood planks that are pre-cut and pre-stained, you’ll have a hard time finding a setup that’s more refined than this Backyard Discovery Playhouse. As evidenced by its wood construction, this option is solid, with its frame weighing a total of 88 pounds. Design-wise, this playhouse features wide windows that allow plenty of cool breezes and natural light to circulate throughout its interior. Additionally, flowerpot holders are built into the front of the house, while a half-sized door provides easy access.

Top Choice

Backyard Discovery Sweetwater All Cedar Wooden Playhouse

This playhouse features top-notch wood paneling that comes pre-stained and is easy to assemble.

Best Plastic House: Step2 Happy Home Cottage & Grill Kids Playhouse

A wide plastic playhouse that features a realistic stone molding and faux wood finishing on its corners.

Moderately sized and reasonably lightweight for younger toddlers, this Step2 Happy Home Cottage features plenty of built-in amenities for the most immersive afternoon game of “playing house.” Its 35- by 51- by 46.5-inch frame is constructed entirely from plastic, but its charming home design—with its realistic stone molding and wood finishing—sells a completely different image altogether. A few neat amenities built into the mold of this playhouse include a two-way mailbox, working shutters, a faux hardwood floor, a kitchenette, and even a working doorbell.

Best Plastic House

Step2 Happy Home Cottage & Grill Kids Playhouse, Blue

A terrific collection of molded amenities, from a working doorbell to a small fireplace.

Best Budget Plastic House: Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse

A plastic playhouse that features a red rooftop and beige faux brick walls.

Modern from its rooftop to its brick-engraved plastic walls, this Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse weighs only 32 pounds in total and is available at one steal of a price. Lovingly designed in the style of a modern backwoods cabin, this playhouse is easy to assemble between its snap and screw-in-place plastic panels, making it just as easy to disassemble or move from place to place. It also features two working doors on both sides of the house, in addition to two windows with working shutters.

Best Budget Plastic House

Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse with Working Doors, Windows, and Shutters - Tan

A conveniently priced and lightweight playhouse that requires little fuss to put together.

Best Pop-Up House: Swehouse Clubhouse Tent

A pop-up clubhouse that features lightweight rods built into the frame work of a fabric house shell.

Another easily moveable and lightweight option that you can pick up and move anywhere you want, this Swehouse Clubhouse Tent is perfect for indoor and outdoor use. It’s a playhouse, indeed, but kids are sure to treat it like their secret hideout, what with its two roll-up doors and windows that can be unraveled to keep out any pesky spies—err, parents. While its thin fabric construction doesn’t feature any built-in molds, it does don great graphic illustrations depicting a leafy green rooftop and a natural wooden frame.

Best Pop-Up House

Swehouse Clubhouse Tent Kids Play Tents for Boys School Toys for Indoor and Outdoor Games Children Playhouse with Roll-up Door and Windows

This pop-up fabric home features great graphic illustrations across the entirety of its outside surface.

Best with Playset: Little Tikes Chipmunk Cottage Backyard Playset for Kids A dual functioning playset that includes a small plastic cottage propped on top of a wooden deck, with a slide and swing set extension built into its right side.

A massive and double-duty playhouse set, this Little Tikes Chipmunk Cottage provides plenty of fun and room for up to four kids at a time between its hangout house and its additional classic slide and swing set. The contemporary cottage itself provides ample space for kids to spend time in, but with the addition of a miniature deck and step-up stoop, this playhouse set is sure to get a crowd going. Its sturdy construction (i.e., safety railing, handholds) is not only a welcome assurance but a necessity for the features that would require more supervision.

Best with Playset

Real Wood Adventures Chipmunk Cottage Outdoor Wooden Backyard Playset with Swing Set and Playhouse for Kids by Little Tikes

A strong and layered playset that includes not only a house for hanging out but swing and slide additions as well.

Hollis Mills Hollis Mills
Hollis Mills is a freelance journalist and a content writer for LifeSavvy. He has a bachelor's degree in English literature, and as an undergraduate at Texas A&M University, Hollis wrote and edited for the nationally recognized student newspaper, The Battalion. When he's not writing, you can find him complaining about Boston Celtics basketball or giving plenty of peanut butter biscuits to his always-hungry Catahoula dog, Blue. Read Full Bio »
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