A playhouse helps to stimualte a kid’s imagination and makes pretend play interesting in the process. If you have a large backyard, a plastic playhouse fits nicely in it for your kids to spend their time in. If not, an indoor kitchen playset and a play pretend grocery store are good alternatives. Below are our choices for the best outdoor playhouses that are available in the market:
Step 2 Neat & Tidy Cottage
Retailing for less than $200 at the time of writing, we like the Step 2 Neat & Tidy Cottage for its open design. This makes it easy for you to keep an eye out for your children. Rather than all closed up, an open concept also makes the playhouse bright and cheery.
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The other important feature is the molded-in floor. Many playhouses do not have a floor which means your kids will need to sit on the grass when they are playing inside. But with Neat & Tidy Cottage, they can sit on the plastic floor instead. This also helps to keep the unit clean and dry.
A working door and shutters make things interesting while a mailbox, electronic doorbell and phone adds a touch of reality to the playhouse. The unit is not very big – only about 51 inches wide and 35 inches deep. The interior at its highest point is approximately 45 inches tall. The good thing about having a fairly small playhouse is that you can set it up indoors so that your kids can enjoy playing in it during the colder months. But that also means you should get this sooner rather than later because it will be very quickly outgrown.
Over the years, this best-selling children’s plastic playhouse has been re-modeled a few times to incorporate different color schemes. However, do note that they may sell at different prices. Currently, you can get one with a brown roof (Neat & Tidy Cottage II) instead of the blue one shown above as well as the Active Brights model with a green and orange color combination.
The Sweetheart Playhouse with its pink roof and white walls will definitely appeal to girls. It also has a pink door and shutters. The door is a full-sized door with an electronic doorbell that chimes. Heart accents and a heart-shaped flower pot make this a very adorable playhouse for girls.
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What we found to be unique is the convertible table top. Your kid can flip it over to change it into a barbecue grill that extends outside the window. The grill also has clicking knobs to add to the fun. With the grill, more kids can also join in as well which makes it perfect for play dates.
The other feature that should be mentioned is the skylight. This makes the playhouse brighter as it allows the sunlight to shine in. Another interesting aspect is the flower pot whereby a plant can be placed in it. This means your kid can choose her own plant to decorate the playhouse to suit her taste.
The Sweetheart Playhouse is narrower than the Neat & Tidy Cottage but taller and deeper. It is only 47 inches wide but it is 53 inches deep. The tallest point inside is about 55.5 inches. It will be able to accommodate taller kids better but it will also cost your a lot more since it is bigger.
Little Tikes Deluxe Home And Garden Playhouse
The Little Tikes Deluxe Home and Garden Playhouse is unique because of the multiple play areas incorporated into its design. While the house itself is small, there is variety of play to mix things up. Like the Step 2 Neat & Tidy Cottage, it has an open concept. On one side, is a kitchenette with a play stove and faucet. The knobs on the stove are also clickable.
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On another side, your kid will find a pounding bench with tools. On the outside, a covered sand and water table allows for another kind of play. A water wheel and sand cup are also included. On the opposite end is a fence and a mailbox to give a semblance of a home and garden.
This Little Tikes playhouse is 52 inches high, giving your kid plenty of head room. It is 37 inches deep but the length stretches quite a bit to 80 inches due to the fence and sand and water table jutting out by the sides.
Given the design, we would think that the Deluxe Home and Garden Playhouse would fit both genders equally well. So, if you want a kid’s playhouse that is suitable for both girls and boys, this is a great choice. Moreover, the price is lower than most plastic playhouses in the market. It retails for way below $200 at the time of writing.
Step 2 Neighborhood Fun Center
A children’s playhouse can also offer physical play apart from stimulating their imagination. The Step 2 Neighborhood Fun Center is one such unit. It has a 4-foot slide which will help your kid to learn to climb up steps. An activity wall at the back adds to the fun with a ring toss and hoop and loop ball target. These activities would help to enhance hand-eye coordination.
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A snack table with 2 seats allows your kid to take a rest after active play. A working Dutch door acts as an entrance to the unit. Alternatively, your kid can also use the crawl through portal to enter.
We feel that this Neighborhood Fun Center is great for more active children. It provides them the opportunity to climb, slide, toss and crawl apart from just pretend play. On the downside, this backyard playhouse is expensive and fairly large in size. It is 84 inches wide, 63.5 inches deep and 58 inches high. So, you do need enough space to accommodate it, not forgetting allowing a big enough area for your kid to run around it too.
The best playhouse for your kid would depend on what best suits his or her personality. Of course, you will also have to take into account the size and price. The bigger the playhouse is the more space it has to fit in older and taller kids. That also means your kid can squeeze in a few more years of play with it. But it would certainly come with a higher price. Generally, the bigger units will cost above $300 compared to less than $200 for the simple and smaller versions.
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