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If you’re in a hurry and just want to find out what the best outdoor playhouse is, I’d recommend the Step2 Neat & Tidy II Playhouse.
Today, kids typically only spend up to 7 minutes outdoors daily, versus 7.5 hours in front of electronic devices. While getting your child outside might not always be easy; some games and open-ended toys can make the task smoother. The best outdoor playhouse should get your little one some fresh air while being educational and fun.
Here are the outdoor playhouses I will be reviewing:
- Why Get an Outdoor Playhouse?
- Elements to Consider When Shopping for the Best Outdoor Playhouse
- My Top Outdoor Playhouse Reviews
- Step2 Neat & Tidy II Playhouse
- Step2 Toddler Corner House Corner Playhouse
- Little Tikes Princess Cape Cottage Playhouse
- ECR4Kids Indoor/Outdoor Buccaneer Boat
- FoxPrint Princess Castle Play Tent
- Truedays Kids Outdoor Indoor Fun Play Big Tent
- Step2 Welcome Home Playhouse
- Step2 Naturally Playful Adventure Lodge Play Center
- Little Tikes Picnic on the Patio Playhouse
- Step2 Naturally Playful Storybook Cottage
- Be Mindful | Solid Wood Outdoor Playhouse in Natural Finish
- Little Tikes Deluxe Home and Garden Playhouse
- Little Tikes Build-a-House
- Step2 Neighborhood Fun Center
- Final Thoughts
Why Get an Outdoor Playhouse?
For kids of all ages, a playhouse might just be the tool to entice them to leave their electronic devices and spend some time playing outdoors. In fact, this toy comes with many more benefits.
Playhouses spark kids’ creativity and imagination. Each model is unique; it can be a castle, a market, a cottage, a pirate boat, or more—the possibilities are endless! Not only does it broaden their vocabulary, but they’ll be able to role-play and invent stories.
Most playhouses come with doors, closets, and other accessories to fine-tune motor skills and dexterity. You’ll find products that even include a clock or a workbench station. For older kids, playhouses can also become a construction game, where they can fix wall panels using kid-friendly screwdrivers.
Even compact playhouses often come with a significant footprint, encouraging little ones to move. Some include a doorbell or mailbox to get kids in and out of the house. Others come with a ladder to climb.
This means that your child will be running, or at the very least, moving around a fair amount. For the most active kids, consider a model with a basketball hoop, a swing, or a climbing rope ladder. This should help your little burn his or her excess of energy.
Most products include a roof to protect our kiddos from the sun and provide shade. Nevertheless, they’ll still be able to get some needed vitamin D for proper growth and optimum health.
Besides sharpening imagination, playhouses are an excellent game to develop teamwork, social experience, and communication skills. While they still provide fantastic entertainment for a single child, they’re even more fun when several kids play together.
For parents, it’s an easy tool to keep a few toddlers busy together, and for some time. Plus, it’s recommended to leave your little one to play without adult supervision to develop their self-confidence and decision-making skills. What else could we ask for?
Elements to Consider When Shopping for the Best Outdoor Playhouse
With so many options available, selecting the best model for your child can be more challenging than most of us think. Here are some pointers:
- Shape and theme
- Accessories and details
The first element to take into account is the footprint of the playhouse. While some may require the volume of a small park, others can fit in most medium-sized backyards.
If you have limited space or you’re looking to switch between indoor and outdoor use, select a pop-up model. These are generally made of fabric and less fancy than regular plastic castles or houses, yet they’re a breeze to transport and move.
Theme and Details
The shape of the playhouse might be the most exciting aspect for your child. Many parents attempt to match their kids’ interests with the building theme.
The majority of products have an open-design concept for safety purposes. Yet, each model comes with variances, such as a pink cottage or a pirate boat. Some of them include an outdoor table for picnics and outside playtime.
Details contribute to giving the playhouse a realistic appearance. They also promote and encourage creativity and imagination. You’ll find products including plastic molded wall plugs, fireplaces, cabinets, and even microwaves.
An empty playhouse might not keep your child busy for as long as you hoped.
Luckily, many include a pretend kitchen to imitate playing house. Try selecting one with a real sink, stove, cabinets, and shutters to open or close. They’ll keep your child busy working on role-playing and motor skills.
Make sure that the playhouse is age-appropriate for your child. Young toddlers need simpler activities—such as a sand faucet—mainly aimed to enhance motor skills. For older kids, a house offering adventurous workstations or construction tasks should be more exciting.
Most playhouses are made of durable plastic material. If you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly option, select a model made of solid wood. Although these aren’t typically weatherproof, they tend to be more durable.
For young toddlers, ensure that pieces can’t be swallowed. They should also be rounded and smooth to prevent injury.
Playhouses that meet CPSC requirements have gone through numerous tests, ensuring both their quality and safety. Some models also come with the Greenguard certification, meaning they contain low amounts of volatile organic compounds and chemical emissions.
The last thing you’ll want is to struggle to put the house together with an excited child wandering around and nagging you. Make sure that the toy is easy to install, especially if you need to set it up alone. This might be even more critical if you need to move it frequently.
Playhouses require regular maintenance to keep germs away or clean up drink spills. In spring, a wash throughout might also be necessary for the new season. Plastic is generally simpler to keep clean compared to wood and fabric.
My Top Outdoor Playhouse Reviews
To provide you with the best choices available, I searched through hundreds of outdoor playhouses available. I looked at specifications, features, and safety, as well as customer satisfaction.
This popular playhouse closely mimics a real one and might be ideal for any kids looking to imitate their parents. It comes with an authentic home design suitable for both little girls and boys.
The toy includes various amenities to make the house entertaining but also real. Your little one should be able to work on his or her motor skills and creativity.
First, a Dutch door keeps the inner house for kids-only, and the working shutters also provide some privacy. Nevertheless, a real doorbell may allow visitors to join the party. When parents are looking for a relaxing afternoon, the batteries can be removed for quieter playtime.
From the outside, the playhouse also features a mailbox that connects to the inner side of the house. The light, placed above the mailbox, gives the house a unique touch and makes it feel ultra-realistic. The outer side also contributes to its genuine look; it includes details such as pretend wood and stone-like finishings.
As you enter, you’ll find a cozy fireplace and a clock. Your kid will also be able to invent creative scenarios using the grill, faucet, and workstation to clean and prepare food. On the wall, an imitation phone is attached to invite friends over—a winning item for most kids.
The house also comes with shelves to store objects and accessories. Although food items aren’t included, parents report giving away some kitchen goods to fill the storage space. Don’t worry, the house’s open design allows adults to keep a discrete eye on what’s happening inside.
While this product remains a substantial playhouse, it’s smaller than many competitors’ products. It measures 46.5 by 18.25 by 52.5 inches, to suit most outdoor spaces.
Trying to find a playhouse for babies and young toddlers can be challenging. Activities and games are often too challenging and placed too high for our small ones to reach. This model is designed with this aspect in mind, making sure one-year-olds can also have their share of fun.
The house is bright and colorful for a more attractive visual appearance. This might allow you to teach the names of colors to your toddler.
An orange Dutch door gives access to the house. A pole holder is molded in the wall aside to place a flag—not included. On the opposite side of the door, you’ll find a mailbox which seems to be most kids’ favorite item. They can either slide the letter from the top opening or pull the red handle to open it from the front.
It comes with five balls to fit the rounded openings in the wall. When thrown from the outside, these balls will follow a tube before bouncing back inside the house.
The house includes a sink, a pretend stove, and its knob. It also comes with pots and pans to role play in the pretend kitchen, enhancing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Some parents have even filled up the sink with water for added fun.
The yellow garden gate includes three interlocking gears. This piece can be removed and separated from the house if your kiddo would like to play on the floor or bring it indoors. The whole house is pretty compact and lightweight—at 28 pounds—making it easy to bring inside and outside as needed.
If you’re looking for a playhouse for your little princess, this product might meet yours and your little one’s requirements. It features bright pink, purple, and white colors, which girls seem to love at first sight.
The model is designed to look like a cottage house with stone-imitation and a roof featuring included windows. On the outer side, there is even a house number—7425—to give the right address to play pals.
It includes two white windows with shutters, one on each side of the house. Plus, there are two entrance doors. When two kids are playing, they’ll each have their own entryway.
In addition to the large windows, this model includes a series of narrow vertical ones for decoration. Some can be left empty, while others come with glass imitations, giving it a sophisticated style. A few parents have left them all open to better monitor inside activities.
As for role play, this model also has what’s needed to keep children entertained. It comes with a mailbox, and a lock sticker can be placed on the front door. You’ll also be able to insert a flag in the two included holders, one on each side of the house.
Parents are happy with the quality of the product. The walls are sturdy, stable, and reviewers appreciate the value it offers. Some of them, however, warn against strong winds when left outside.
They’re also thrilled with how easy the house is to set-up. Only a screwdriver is needed, and most parents were able to put it together within 20 to 30 minutes.
If you’re afraid a house might be too dull for your child, a pirate ship should create a sensation. It’s suitable for kids aged two-years-old and up or weighing up to 55 pounds. It includes the needed details to bring Peter Pan back to life.
The boat comes with a blue pirate flag standing tall above the ship. You also find a ladder leading to the upper deck and a moving steering wheel. Keep in mind that the manufacturer recommends limiting access to the second floor to one child at a time.
Furthermore, the middle yellow portion comes with detailed engravings of a sail and family arms. The frontal section even features an anchor, and a parrot sits on the edge of the boat, giving it an exotic and adventurous aspect. Although these features are only molded into the plastic, they encourage imagination and role play.
Parents mention that kids love climbing the ladder and hiding inside the captain’s cabin, located under the deck. This toy should give your kiddo plenty of physical exercise and the chance to further develop their gross motor skills. Plus, the rounded parts should prevent injuries and cuts.
The overall design is bright and colorful, showcasing green, orange, red, and blue pieces. The plastic material is weather-resistant, and colors shouldn’t fade under sunlight. You can, therefore, keep it outdoors all year around.
Reviewers love the straightforward installation process—it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. No tools are required, and it’s only a matter of snapping the different pieces together.
Lastly, the manufacturer has received the Greenguard certification guaranteeing that fewer chemicals and pollutants are used. It’s made with high-density polyethylene and does not contain phthalates. This is ideal both for your child’s health and the environment.
This might be the perfect getaway for any little girl looking for seclusion to write her secret diary or to invite a friend over.
Unlike other products, this one follows the concept of a tent made of fabric rather than plastic material. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t have to worry about cleaning. When it’s time for a wash, use gentle soap and a wet cloth.
Outdoors, this girly model provides shelter from the sun and outdoor disturbances. It even comes with a fold-down front door for more privacy. There are still two side windows made of mesh, allowing parents to keep an eye on their little one while respecting the sense of secrecy.
The shape and details of this playhouse might be the most exciting elements for young girls. The fort design features various shades of pink. Glowing stars and pink hearts cover the walls, both from the inside and outside.
To install it, you’ll only need to pop it out of the bag and insert the fiberglass poles. The product meets CPSC guidelines, so you shouldn’t have to worry about safety. Because it’s best to put it away at the end of the day, it’s designed with portability in mind.
The tent folds into a circular and matching pink zipper bag—that’s 17 inches in diameter. It makes storage easier and is also more convenient to bring along on vacations. With a total weight of 2.4 pounds, you shouldn’t have any trouble lifting and carrying it wherever needed.
Although compact, this playhouse still measures 41.5 by 41.5 by 54 inches and can easily hold two to three toddlers for a tea party gathering.
If you enjoyed our previous tent review but wished it came in a less girly version, this model might be what you’re looking for. The playhouse comes in a style that should appeal to both little girls and boys. It includes bright yellow, red, and blue colors to enhance visual appearance and fun.
It’s made with light polyester and a carry bag for easy transportation. Its compact size—55.1 by 47.2 by 47.2—is still large enough to fit a few toddlers at once.
A large entrance opening allows easy access, even for toddlers still not stable on their legs. The two velcro doors give your child a sense of privacy while giving you the opportunity to check on them. In summer, the doors can also prevent insects from making their way inside.
For a silent exit, the playhouse includes a secondary, smaller pathway with its own roll-down door. This can also be used to attach a tunnel to, if you want to turn the playhouse into a little adventure playground.
I like that the openings aren’t ground-level, and sit a few inches off the floor, which prevents toys from rolling out. Besides, that’s also helpful if you’d like to fill the tent with balls—it can fit about 200.
The roof also contains mesh material for proper airflow and aeration inside the tent. The floor, on the other hand, is waterproof. Parents say it’s straightforward to clean, and a quick wipe is generally enough.
As for installation, it can hardly be easier. This playhouse doesn’t include any poles; you’ll only need to pop the tent out of the carry bag. When it’s time to pack, a simple folding procedure is required before storing it into the case.
If your little one is looking for serious role play with a friend or family member, this should be a model worth considering. It’s large enough—66 by 73 by 66 inches—to comfortably fit at least two kids. The manufacturer recommends it for children 1.5 years old and up, and up to 63 inches tall.
The house contains more amenities and features than most other products. First, before entering, you’ll notice a pretend “welcome” floor mat to avoid bringing dirt inside; good habits start young! Before pushing the Dutch door, your child will press the real doorbell to inform the host of his or her arrival.
Inside, you’ll find a large faucet, a stove, and an oven with stickers displaying temperatures, time, and start buttons. There are even two large knobs for realistic play. The house also comes with lots of storage space, including a cabinet and shelves.
Unlike most playhouses, this model includes a foldable table for two. Here, role play can turn into a real snack break. A pretend phone is also handy to call up some friends.
For optimum lighting, the house has a skylight built-in to the roof. There are also two large bay windows, and two regular windows with their own shutters.
Parents are thrilled about the product’s durability. Some of them mentioned they were able to leave the house outdoors all winter long without noticeable damage.
Keep in mind that you might need at least 3 to 4 hours to assemble the house. The frontal bay window seems to be the most challenging piece to install.
This product might be the perfect playground for every active kid. If you’re afraid a house might burn enough energy, this model should get your kiddo running, swinging, climbing, and sliding.
The quietest section of this construction might be the two-story clubhouse. It should be able to fit four kids at once—or a total of 300 pounds. The ground floor can be accessed through a real door and contains several windows to take a peek outside.
The second floor can only be reached by climbing a short ladder. From there, kids seem to love the steering wheel, which induces creativity, role-playing, and motor skills. They also get a view overlooking the swings, to keep an eye on their friends.
The clubhouse makes a great spot to relax and take a break, as the roof should keep them cool and in the shade. When it’s time to switch activity, a 6-foot slide allows kids to go back to ground level.
For the most active and adventurous ones, this product also comes with a rope ladder to climb. On the other side, you’ll find two swings—holding up to 75 pounds each—and basketball hoop along with a two-person glider swing.
Most parents would be concerned about safety with active kids and adventurous play. A sturdy double-wall construction should keep you worry-free. Besides, this model doesn’t include splinter risk, BPA material, or phthalates to maintain your child’s health.
Keep in mind that this model is substantial and can be challenging to move. You’ll be happy, however, to learn that the house should be able to withstand all weather conditions, even high temperatures. When the spring comes, it’s also easy to clean up for another year of use.
Most playhouses encourage kids to stay inside the structure. If you’d like your little one to pack on vitamin D, this model might be the way to go. Indeed, this product entices your child to spend time inside and outside of the playhouse.
The concept is simple; the playhouse comes with an attached outdoor table and two benches. It’s large enough to fit two kids—or three with an extra chair. Unlike most other products, this model includes cups and some food items.
A window overlooks the table and allows the chef to pass the food and drinks. If the little cook would like to join the party, you might even be able to seat a fourth child inside the house, by the opening. However, parents recommend using the house for two to three kids.
It comes with molded details into the plastic to promote role play, storytelling, and enhance creativity. You’ll find an engraved fireplace, cabinets, a house plant, a microwave, and even fake electricity plugs.
Plus, it includes two stoves with their respective knobs. Your kiddo can keep an eye on the pretend digital timer to ensure that the eggs are cooked right.
Kids can reach for the nearby pretend cell phone to call for assistance; it’s large and easy to grab for little hands. The individual buttons can be pressed to develop children’s fine motor skills, but it doesn’t make sounds.
To get in, the child needs to push a real Dutch-door. He or she may also have to press on the doorbell to be granted access. The doorbell has six fun sounds to choose from that little ones will love.
Reviewers mention that installation is a simple process, and detailed instructions are included. They recommend, however, using an electric screwdriver to ease the task.
This storybook cottage looks like it came right out of a fairytale. Its design mimics a cute house built with stone walls and a thatched roof made of straw material. This gives the product a unique charm that kids will adore.
While most other playhouses come with Dutch half doors, this model includes a full-size entrance. It’s even built with a proper handle that’s easy to grab for kids’ hands. But don’t fear, the door still features hollow sections for parents to check on them.
Children love the doorbell as it makes real noise when a visitor is coming. The cottage also includes three windows—including one with green shutters—to take a peek out. Inside, it’s decorated and set-up in a cozy but realistic style.
It features a foldable table and a cozy fireplace to enjoy a meal or snack with a friend. The clock is more than a simple decoration object as it comes with movable hands. The house even includes an electronic phone that will impress most children.
There are four real shelves to store food items or cups. Even if accessories aren’t included, reviewers mention that kids don’t lack imagination. They often use toys or even real kitchen utensils to fill-up the space.
You’ll also find two stoves with colorful stickers and clicking knobs for a more authentic look. Kids are then able to wash the dishes in the sink using the faucet.
Not only will your little one have lots of fun, but the cottage will make a nice addition to any garden or backyard. Furthermore, the material is easy to clean, and parents report that cleaning up drink spills or crayon traces is a breeze.
This playhouse differs from other products in many aspects. Most products include “kid-version” activities, imitating real-life scenarios. This model, however, considers your child as a junior grown-up, giving him or her self confidence.
It’s meant for parents who generally take great pleasure in handy work. The package comes with instructions, and the included screws are pre-drilled. Most of them were able to install the house within an hour by using a power drill.
The house doesn’t come with built-in activities, furniture, or workstation. Instead, it’s a plain cabin meant to be decorated, remodeled, furnished, and customized as you wish. While it may seem like a lot of work, it comes with many benefits.
First, setting up the house can be a fantastic parent-child activity, in which your little one might take great pleasure. It’s unlikely that your kiddo will wait until the house is finished to start playing with it. In a way, this gives the playhouse a first life.
The house can be used without additional work or paint job. However, parents mention that kids take joy and pride in choosing the colors, and then helping with the painting task. Plus, they can select their preferred plants or flowers to place in the space below each window.
This playhouse is made with solid wood and designed to last. Although it isn’t waterproof and should be covered during rainy days, it comes with a clear coat protecting from UV rays. Screws are rust-resistant, which contributes to a long-lasting product.
On top of that, it’s entirely recyclable and doesn’t contain any plastic parts. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly option, this house should satisfy your needs. In addition, it has been CPSC approved to ensure its quality and safety.
Overall, this playhouse should create unforgettable memories and bonding time for years to come.
This playhouse comes with a few distinctive characteristics, compared to competitor products. First, its open-concept allows parents to check on their children from all angles. The walls are low, and the house only contains four poles, a fence, and a roof.
A real door still grants access to the house. From there, two workstations are available to entertain both boys and girls.
On one side, you’ll find a workbench station with a hammer and nails. This activity is ideal for working on motor skills, and ultimately, imitating dad. If help is required, a pretend cell phone is nearby.
A playhouse can hardly come without a pretend kitchen. This model makes no exception and includes a sink with a faucet. There are also two stoves with their respective knobs.
From the outer side, a large dual table can contain sand—up to 1 gallon—on one area, and water inside the other. The attached cup and funnel should keep your kiddo entertained and busy for hours.
You’ll have the option to use the drainage hole to empty the water at the end of the day. While the table can be attached to the house with screws, reviewers mention that it can also stand alone. They say it’s often easier and faster to detach the piece to pour the water away.
When the dual workstation isn’t in use, it can be covered with a hard plastic lid. This provides extra space for either kitchen duties, or simply to proceed with other activities, such as drawing.
Lastly, this playhouse includes a house-shaped mailbox containing a storage area to collect letters. Your child will need to operate the attachment handle to deposit mail.
If your child shows interest in construction and handy work, this should be a playhouse to consider. It aims to promote creativity and imagination. With this toy, kids should feel a sense of accomplishment, learn to make decisions, and build self-confidence.
The house comes with a sturdy blue frame and a wooden-color roof, which usually parents put together. Assembly isn’t complicated and takes most adults 30 to 40 minutes to install. Children can then choose among the 25 panels and accessories to build the walls and make the house their own.
Each plastic panel is interchangeable and comes in a different color and pattern—stone, tile, or brick. There are various shapes to fit different locations, and one even includes a mailbox opening. The windows and doors will also need to be set in place.
As for building tools, the house comes with both a manual and a power screwdriver. Both are kid-friendly and adapted for little hands. Keep in mind, however, that three AAA batteries are required and aren’t included.
The panels can be put together and removed as many times as needed, making it a never-ending game. When it’s time to take a break, the house can be used to relax, get some shade, and have a snack.
This playhouse could make a great learning and bonding time with parents. They’ll learn about different materials and how to use a real power screwdriver.
It’s recommended for kids aged three years and over, but young kids can use the manual tool while being supervised by an adult. The 64 play screws are made of plastic, making it safe to use by kids without assistance.
This house is designed with the youngest kids in mind. It includes activities to enhance hand-eye coordination as well as motor skills. Although it’s recommended for children aged two years and older, reviewers mention that five-year-olds are still having a great time.
The regular entrance is composed of a Dutch door that kids need to pull to get inside. For a realistic play, it even comes with a sticker indicating the house number.
In addition to the main entryway, it also contains three smaller rectangular and circular openings, close to the floor. Kiddos have to crawl and kneel to go pass through. Parents mention that the dog entrance is often the most popular one.
The main activity center can be found on the blue facade, at the back of the playhouse. Kids can throw red and blue rings into two pegs attached to the wall, acting as hooks. They can also propel two balls onto a velcro style target.
Furthermore, the house includes a 4-foot long slide. It can only be accessed through an easy-to-climb ladder, providing your child with added exercise and adrenaline. If you’re worried your little one won’t be able to climb it alone, there are handles if extra help is needed.
When it’s time to relax and snack, this model offers a built-in countertop table and two seats. They can even pretend to watch TV. Parents found that 40-pound kids can easily climb over the seat without tipping the entire house.
Reviewers are thrilled with the quality of the product; it’s sturdy and robust. Many have left it outdoors all year long, and it hasn’t moved, even in windy weather.
The best outdoor playhouse is the one that’ll entertain your child while being educative and providing physical exercise. Overall, it’s a fantastic tool to get your child outdoors. Our favorite option is the Step2 Neat & Tidy II Playhouse.
It’s suitable for both genders and contains the necessary amenities for imaginative role play. While it’s adequate for several kids, it’s compact for the number of features it offers. The house is also simple to clean and install, which parents love.