After having the kids home from school for a couple of months, you may be thinking it's high time to get them out of here, and into their own places. And while you can't just yet get them their own apartments in another city, you can provide them with a home away from home, right in your own back yard.
The beauty of the playhouse built for kids is that your kid can have his or her own play space, to mess up, to be noisy in, where he can spill strawberry milkshakes or draw on the walls in crayon. It's important for kids to be able to have this kind of free reign outside of their parents' perfect homes.
The experience of having a playhouse also allows the kids the chance to practice being grownups. They can play at being adults without worrying about the consequences of losing a job or running up the credit card bills, and this allows them the opportunity to try out older personalities.
The first step is finding the best spot for the kids' playhouse. You want it to be secluded enough so that the kids feel they have privacy, and yet within shouting distance should you need to corral them in for supper. Take into consideration such elements as shade, sun, heat, and rain, especially for play houses that will be outside for the entire summer.
The playhouses of your own childhood may have been pretty simple structures; in fact, they could have even just been a tent that Mom pitched in the backyard when you said "There's nothing to dooooo," one too many times.
But today, there are a lot more angles to consider when thinking of a playhouse.
Many playhouses, such as this "Berkeley Double Slider and Castle" by Barbara Butler, has added features such as a long slide as a means of exiting the playhouse. This place is great for a climate where good weather and clear skies prevail, so the kids can make use of that giant deck.
In addition, playhouses come in all kinds of styles — just like real, grown-up houses do. You can find a fantasy castle-like house for your little princess, a simple Cape Codder, or an elegant Southern mansion. You can find a style that will match or complement the style of your own home, and through some companies, you can even get a miniature version of your home built to child-size.
Lillliput offers a playhouse made for rough-housing little boys and their dogs, which gives the guys a place to hang out together and discuss rules of play and the importance of cookies in the daily diet.
Alternatively, Lilliput's "Cotton Candy Manor" gives kids a chance to really play grown-up in style, in a real, minature manor house built just to their size.
And while the kids are playing at house, they don't have to stop there. You can also find just about every kind of building imaginable, including this store which has details down to the food items (made of wood) and the "owner's" name emblazoned over the door.
Some companies that offer complete playhouses also have available playhouse kits, for the clever do-it-yourselfer who wants to get the kids a playhouse without having to take out a second mortgage.