10 Best Outdoor Playhouses For Toddlers & Kids in 2019
Home is where the heart is! So it’s no wonder that children love miniature houses and playsets so much. Whether they’re playing house in a quaint little cottage or ruling their kingdom from inside a 5-foot castle, kids are highly imaginative creatures and giving them the resources to focus and grow that creative energy is beneficial to all. Role-playing games, such as those carried out in playhouses and structures, help children to develop a greater sense of empathy, improve their social skills, expand their imaginations, and much, much more.The following 10 playhouses are all built to last, and give kids the space to have a blast.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 16 hrs of research
Tall canopy and roomy interior
Open-air pavilion set
Play grill and food
Counter for kids to “eat” at
- Step2 All Around Playtime Patio
- Backyard Discovery Cedar Wood Cabin
- Step2 Neat and Tidy II Playhouse
- Step2 Grand Walk-in Kitchen and Grill
- Step 2 Clubhouse Climber
- Little Tikes Cape Cottage
- ECR4Kids Buccaneer Boat
- Little Tikes Princess Cape Cottage
- Buccaneer Play Boat with Pirate Flag
- Truedays Playhouse
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Outdoor Playhouses Reviewed
1. Step2 All Around Playtime Patio
Tall canopy and roomy interior
Open-air pavilion set
Play grill and food
Counter for kids to “eat” at
Sand and water station has a drain but sink does not
Playset will hold standing water and need to be dried
Summertime always brings with it, among many other things, an inevitable barrage of backyard barbeques. Let your little one play along right beside you with Step2’s All Around Playtime Patio with Canopy.Read more
This particular outdoor playset is less of a house and more of a fun, grill-centric shady enclosure. The set features a canopy to keep sensitive skin out of the hot sun, but is openair to allow your children to enjoy the breeze.
With a kid-friendly “grill”, sink, and swiveling faucet, the whole family can cook up some delicious grub. A bucket and swirling tower make up a sand-and-water play station to the right of the grill. And when “dinner” is ready, kids can eat at a counter on the opposing side. For clean up, simply store accessories and cover the sand and water area to protect them from neighborhood critters.
Roomy and cool, this playset won’t get stuffy inside like many of its competitors. The open-air pavilion design is fun and leaves room for lots of little ones to cohabitate together. The grill and sand-and-water station provide hours of creative play and fun.
2. Backyard Discovery Cedar Wood Cabin
100 percent cedarwood
Simple panel assembly
Weather- and UV-resistant
Wide, open windows and half-door provide ventilation and great views
Features toy stove, phone, and sink
Easy instructions, but assembly is time-consuming (roughly four to six hours)
It has all of the charm of a vacation cabin, right in the comfort of your own backyard.Read more
The Backyard Discovery All Cedar Playhouse is constructed from 100 percent cedar wood, with a wood roof and half-front door so parents can always peek in. The wide windows also allow ample supervision, and come with cute little flower pots as decor. Open side windows make snack delivery easy. The house is constructed through panel-assembly, making it an uncomplicated build. Made to withstand all kinds of weather, this little cabin can be your kids’ “home away from home.”
The playhouse also includes a toy stove, sink, and cordless telephone. The stove features knobs for turning on and off “the heat,” and is UV-resistant so it won’t fade with the sun’s wear.
This sturdy little house is constructed for all kinds of fun role-playing. The open windows and half-door give kids a great view and allow plenty of ventilation so they can explore imaginatively for hours and still stay perfectly comfortable.
3. Step2 Neat and Tidy II Playhouse
Very realistically built
Comes with drainage holes at the bottom
Easy to clean and sanitize
Can be used outside and inside
Assembly is required
Takes a while to assemble
If you require a really great-looking, ultra-durable, and superb playhouse for kids, we strongly recommend the Neat and Tidy II.Read more
This kiddie home has an open design to allow you to keep an eye on your child as well as his or her playmates as they play pretend with their own house. The Neat and Tidy II playhouse for kids feature a Dutch door as well as window shutters to really enhance pretend play. There’s even a wall clock, built-in shelves, a kitchen seat, and even a make-believe play telephone. And even if children will be really spilling water inside the kiddie house or you simply need to wash it down, cleanup is a breeze because of a built-in floor surface complete with drain holes.
It comes with some of the more furniture and fixtures of a modern home such as a fireplace, a kitchen table, and even a kitchen faucet. This is excellent for expanding your kid’s imaginative play. There’s even a realistic doorbell with a pass-through mailbox so children can pretend to be Mr. Postman delivering mail to Ms. Potts.
The neat and tidy house is perfect for toddlers and preschool-aged kids, for the fact that it’s made to resemble a real life house. Children are sure to learn life skills such as ringing the doorbell, telling time on an analog clock, having a conversation over the phone and preparing meals as they play. They can also have fun as they play the fun game of peek-a-boo through the realistic doors and windows. Boys and girls can both enjoy this well-designed playhouse.
4. Step2 Grand Walk-in Kitchen and Grill
103-piece accessory set
Realistic grill, phone, and stovetop sounds
Storage areas throughout
Separate space for dining
”Stainless steel” kitchen and refrigerator
Assembly is difficult and time-consuming
This kitchen is full of fun surprises and the accessory set is elaborate.Read more
This kitchen-themed playhouse includes three realistic electronic features in its design--the grill, stovetop, and phone all make realistic sounds at the push of a button. The lavish sink has a faucet to wash the dishes after dinner, and the “stainless steel” refrigerator is always stocked full of goodies! An attached dining area gives chefs and guests alike somewhere to sit and enjoy their food.
Not only does the Step2 Grand Walk-in Kitchen and Grill come with all of the tools to make a great (pretend) meal; it comes with the ingredients and accessories too! With 103 total accessories, you’ll need the storage areas they’ve included throughout the design as well. Kids will be cooking up a storm in no time with this elaborate culinary playhouse!
This playful kitchenette gives kids somewhere to mimic mommy and/or daddy’s best moves in the kitchen. Children love to imitate grown-up behavior as they learn, and this playhouse provides the perfect setting for fun role-playing.
5. Step 2 Clubhouse Climber
Features tons of crawling space
Encourages social play
Features multiple activity options
Enhances imaginative play
The instructions for assembly may be a hassle to read, requires adult assembly.
The Step 2 Clubhouse Climber features a number of lovable playtime activities.Read more
There is a double platform allowing children to climb and crawl while playing hide and seek. This platform has a slide on each side to optimize adventure. With multiple windows, children can communicate effectively, even while climbing through the structure.
The lookout tower and steering wheel foster imagination as children drive their boat through dangerous waters protecting their island from invaders or riding through the jungle on a safari. There is a climbing ladder, perfect for toddlers who may still struggle to pull themselves upon the platform. Meant for ages two to five this play structure will enhance playtime to create long-lasting memories.
Children have a natural urge, within themselves, to climb, crawl, and explore. This climbing playhouse is a provides the perfect solution, children can burn off extra energy and engage in exploration. Through this act, children strengthen Gross Motor Skills and are exposed to an essential part of healthy muscle development.
6. Little Tikes Cape Cottage
Very smooth and quick set-up
Very lightweight, making it easy to take it inside and outside
Can be used for a variety of things
Neutral colors allow it to fit in with most types of decor
Smaller than most playhouses
Plastic is very thin
The little tikes Cape cottage is simplistic and designed to encourage the use of imagination.Read more
It stands at just over four feet tall and is roughly four by three feet. The neutral color scheme of this playset appeals to all children, encouraging sibling bonding and time spent as a family. Additionally, there is a swinging door so children can pretend to lock up at night, instilling in them the importance of caring for one's possessions.
There is stick on shelves that can help keep toys and other precious treasures from being lost and offer an excellent element in encouraging children to get creative with their own floor plan. They can place their shelves in any order on any wall they desire. There are exquisite decals that come with your house to inspire creativity with another personal touch. These decals allow children to design their own vision, or as a family you can create a mural, so to speak, that will hold up against the sun, rain and other harsh elements.
This playhouse does a beautiful job mimicking an actual home with a mail slot and fully functioning windows. This design can help children learn about concepts relative to growing up and efficiently running their own household. There's no better way to prepare for real-life experiences than to thoroughly immerse yourself into the situation you are facing, and this house allows children to do just that.
7. ECR4Kids Buccaneer Boat
Plenty of room for multiple children
Features a secret area below deck
Rounded edges to avoid catching little skin
Fade- and weather-resistant plastic
Pretty lightweight; may blow over with strong winds
Argh, matey! Got a little buccaneer ready to steer?Read more
This ECR4 Pirate Playset is a vividly colored boat ready to set sail through all kinds of imaginative adventures. It’s actually compact enough that it could be used indoors if you prefer, but the plastic is meant to be able to withstand life in the great outdoors and is certified for minimal chemical emissions. It’s weather- and fade-resistant, and there’s enough room on the deck, at the helm, and in the cabin for several children to play together at once.
It’s recommended for kids ages 2 to 6and filled with fun nautical details. The steering wheel is functional, so kids can move it back and forth as they glide across the sea and through the storms. The plastic is molded to look like wooden planks, and a pirate’s flag, parrot, and anchor all adorn this little beauty. Kids will be jumping at the chance to set sail.
It doesn’t get much more fantastical than this. Kids with big imaginations will love this pirate ship. Role-playing allows them to explore varied social dynamics and work on empathizing with those around them.
8. Little Tikes Princess Cape Cottage
Fun colors and textures
Two functional doors and two functional windows
Mail slot and flag post
Lightweight and easy to move
Not large enough to fit much play furniture
Have you ever dreamed of owning a sweet little cottage out on the cape? Okay, well, we can’t help you with that. But if you have a pretty high-powered imagination and a little one who likes to play outside, we may have a (much more affordable) compromise.Read more
Little Tikes’ Princess Cape Cottage could be the perfect seaside villa for you and your child, with just a little ingenuity and creativity. The product is lightweight and contemporary in style, while still retaining a sort of dated romance in its design. The bright pink walls and purple roof may not exactly scream “serene vacation getaway” but the brick texturing and multi-paned windows certainly add a classic sense of charm. Lightweight and easy to move, you can vacation all over your very own backyard together.
An adorable, operational mail slot makes kids feel right at home in this humble abode.
Give your children somewhere special to play house. Role playing helps kids to learn empathy as well as engaging them imaginatively, and this beautiful Princess Cape Cottage is sure to stimulate their creativity.
9. Buccaneer Play Boat with Pirate Flag
Built with durability, this boat will last for years to come
Can be used indoors and outdoors
Suitable for daycares and at home
More than one kid can play in the boat at a time
The crew cabin’s door does not lock into place
This aesthetically pleasing and brightly colored playhouse is designed to mimic a ship.Read more
It features two platforms upon which children can climb and observe the world around them.
There is a flag and steering wheel, designed to mimic a real ship and foster the use of imagination. Children can explore a dangerous ride to sea on a world exploration or a calm sail around the bay.
One great benefit that may be overlooked by a parent with children too small to play is color recognition. This ship features a range of colors that are bright and bold. The whole family can embark on an afternoon of play. Bond over the creation of a colorful story to help reinforce the concept of color recognition in infants or toddlers.
10. Truedays Playhouse
Can be used for a variety of activities
Has a waterproof floor
Built with durability
Very easy to set up as there is no assembly required
Comes with a matching carrying bag to make storage and travel easy
Very lightweight and could blow away on a windy day if not pinned down
This playhouse and tent combination is ideal for the little adventurer in your life.Read more
Made of high-quality fabric that is both durable and waterproof this multipurpose structure is an excellent gift for children ages 1 to 6. The incredibly lightweight structure stands, fully assembled, at roughly four feet tall and weighs between three and four pounds. The velcro closing straps, combined with easy setup, allows for children to gain a sense of independence as children require, minimal to no adult assistance. It is roughly four by five feet, requiring a significant amount of floor space but can house between four to six children depending on their size and age.
Due to its travel bag, the tent can be easily stored and transported to shield your little one from the sun or rain no matter where you are.
The tent, styled to mimic a circus tent is aesthetically pleasing and encourages the use of imagination and social play.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The first and most significant factors to review–safety and durability–are essential for more than one reason. To begin with, our toddlers have little knowledge about the dangers of the world, so ensuring their safety and well-being becomes our responsibility. For example, they haven’t quite mastered chemistry and the importance of avoiding harsh toxins, such as BPA in plastics.They don't understand physics and how weight disbursement can affect the integrity of a structure. Children can climb and run around safely as these sturdy structures encourage physical play while simultaneously offering support and safety. These playhouses are made of high-quality and durable materials that are both aesthetically pleasing and safe, ensuring your little one gets the most from their adventures.
Playhouses are wonderfully built for your child to enjoy the great outdoors. Many of the playhouses on our top ten list feature other items that will keep your child entertained. Such as several of the playhouses include: slides, windows and doors that your little one can enjoy opening and closing. Some of these houses even will make your little one feel like it’s completely their own space. One of the items on our list even is shaped like a boat to help your child's imagination and creativity space as well. All of these playhouses will help increase your child's development.
Outdoor playhouses are incredibly beneficial to your children. Playhouses are a wonderful investment for children to have because parents will be able to help enhance their child's imagination and encourage social play. Having a playhouse will have your child enhance their vocabulary from playing house to pirate. They’ll also help your child understand life skills by being able to mirror every day activities. These skills are important for your child to learn and foster as you’ll be able to save energy efficiently and they’ll be able to take turns and learn sharing.
All of these playhouses are incredibly durable and 100% safe for your child to play in. Many will even possibly last your child’s lifetime as well as be passed down to their own children. These playhouses if needed can be used indoors on those rainy days but they are however constructed for outdoor use.
Playhouses have been a popular pastime for years. Occasionally also referred to as Wendy Houses, the most notable first appearances of the concept happen in the story The Little White Bird and J.M. Barrie’s famous Peter Pan. Toy manufacturers hurried to replicate the Wendy House the Lost Boys built her.
Playhouses or clubhouses appear in all kinds of cultures and come in various models, constructed from a huge variety of materials that range from iron to wood to plastic.
Other Factors to Consider
Next to consider is cost and value. We work hard to ensure our families’ needs are met, but we often strive to go a step further, hoping to meet their wants as well. Hard work stresses the importance of frugal living to ensure our hard work is not in vain; this means the things found in our homes are often full of features and benefits to ensure we get the most for our money. Due to its massive size, by comparison of other toys, a playhouse more often than not is an investment from which you hope your family will get years of entertainment. They are larger structures so they will be more costly than other toys. However, the houses on this list are some of the most cost-efficient options while still providing a variety of activities and games. Each structure features its own unique design that offers plenty of variety in both color and function. Due to their high-quality make, these playsets are meant to withstand weather and play for years to come.
These outdoor playhouses are extremely safe for your little ones to play with. Many of them stand at 5 feet tall and are nice and sturdy. These playhouses are able to withstand rough weather conditions. The windows that come with some of these playhouses are able to be opened and parents won’t have to worry. These playhouses will remain intact.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What’s the best way to clean and sanitize the playhouses?
The best way to clean and sanitize your playhouse is to use your favorite eco-friendly cleaner, and spray all of the surfaces as you wipe them down. The playhouse should be thoroughly cleaned before you sanitize it. After you use your eco-friendly cleaner to clean all of the surfaces, you should then use an equally environmentally friendly sanitizer to remove any bacteria. For this step, you should consider using a bucket of warm soapy water to wipe down and disinfect the surfaces and then, spray the entire playhouse down with a garden hose to rinse the soapy solution off.
Using eco-friendly cleaners are not only safe for the environment, but for you and your kid as well. In addition to that, eco-friendly cleaners will slow the deterioration process of your playhouse, as standard cleaners are harsh on surfaces.
Cleaning and sanitizing your child’s playhouse should not be taken lightly. Just as cleaning our physical homes is important for general health, the same can be said for toy playhouses. For the fact that your kid will be using their playhouse often, cleaning and sanitizing it frequently is critical.
q: Can I use these playhouses in a daycare?
Yes, you can use these playhouses in a daycare. Each of the playhouses on our list of Best Outdoor Playhouses for Toddlers & Kids is designed to entertain multiple kids at once and can be used indoors. This is excellent for days that the weather doesn’t permit outdoor play.
The majority of the playhouses we researched are gender-neutral, ensuring that boys and girls can both enjoy their time as they play. With their vibrant colors and realistic designs, these playhouses will fit in great with typical daycare decor and promote educational and social development.
q: Can I find a flag that will perfectly fit into the flag holder on the Cape Cottage playhouses, and what type of flag do I need?
Yes, you can find a flag that will perfectly fit into the flag holder at many hardware stores. You will need a flag with a thick dowel, because most of the mini flags you purchase at the store will fit into the flag holder, but have a lot of wiggle room. This will bring forth potential hazards as your kid could remove it and become injured from the tiny, thin dowel.
You will need to find a flag that is approximately 18 to 24 inches tall because the dowel is usually thicker. Having a thick dowel will provide a snug fit and prevent your child from removing the flag.
q: Can I paint these playhouses?
Yes! Often, after years of soaking in the sun, the original paint on the playhouse may start to fade. Or you may want to customize the playhouse for your kid by painting it in colors of their preference.
To ensure a beautiful paint finish there are a few steps that you’ll need to take: Wash the house down with warm, soapy water to remove any dirt and debris. Allow it to air dry. If you use a towel to dry it, small fibers may become attached to the surface of the playhouse and can potentially ruin your intended paint job. Find a good brand of paint that can stand up against rough play and harsh weather. Also, be sure to choose a brand that is durable on plastic.
Using a can of spray paint will be easier and faster than using a traditional can of paint and a paintbrush. There are several different types of paint brands on the market that are specifically made to bond to plastics. These paints are made with materials to ensure that the paint won’t crack or peel whenever you wipe down and clean the surface of it.
q: Do any of these items have replacement parts available?
For the most part, these are pretty inexpensive so in most cases, it is cheaper and less of a hassle to just buy a new one if it is to break. Some do have replacement parts available, but it depends on which item. The easiest way to find out would be to call customer service.
q: Are these well-built playhouses?
Yes. Most are made out of a sturdy plastic material and hold up very well in all types of weather and can last through a great amount of a child’s rough play. Be sure to read through our pros and cons though, as we address if any item has a thinner plastic which would make it more susceptible to damage.