Building a Tree House or Playhouse for Your Children
What child wouldn't love a playhouse, or better yet, a tree house? This is the epitome of childhood fun, a special place, even if only a tiny wood house, to hide away in and have their adventures. The imagination comes alive in a tree or play shed and while child safety must be considered, it's not difficult to create a safe place for children to play on their own.
The first thing to consider when planning a playhouse is whether you will purchase it readymade or build it yourself. Readymade is obviously the easiest solution, but it can also be rather costly.
If you wish to try your hand at building your own, there are kits available to help you with the design, or you might just enjoy doing it all on your own.
In the case of a tree house, you will usually have to build your own design with the available trees.
The size will depend on the amount of space you have, but one meter square is the smallest you want to go for very young children and keep in mind that toddlers will grow into preschoolers and then school children who will still want to use their special house, so build some long term usability into it.
You don't need to make it as tall as an adult would need, but do make sure a ten year old can fit easily inside.
Fun details may also be added, including windows with shutters, trapdoors, a small porch or balcony, benches or even room dividers. While a plain box is fun, turning it into a mini house replica will delight any child.
For higher houses, you might include a rope ladder or a fireman's pole for sliding. Your child will likely have some fun ideas, as well.
The structure of a tree house will be somewhat different than the average playhouse, since it will need to be secured to the tree and have a safe way to get inside.
The best way to go about this is to look at the tree you plan to use and consider how you can stabilize the house.
Are there other branches that will work? Can you use braces from the trunk? Make sure the base platform is very sturdy and don't build it so far off the ground that it will be dangerous.
Also, the area around the treehouse should be fairly soft; never build on concrete if there is a chance of falling. Turf, bark chips and any playground surface material will work well to cushion falls and increase safety.
A playhouse can be a great part of childhood when built with care and attention to detail. It's up to you to ensure that the tree house or play shed that you create for your child is as secure as you can make it, since children are quite likely to enjoy dangerous activities and places.
By Paul Cameron of Tree House Life