If you need to get your little ones away from screens and devices then sometimes we have to go the extra mile to make outdoor play just as fun and exciting.
An outdoor playhouse can be just what you need to encourage them to get outside to play with siblings and friends through a fun game of make believe.
We have put together a list of the best playhouses on the market and cover a whole range of designs that will suit boys, girls, and a few gender neutral options.
How to Choose an Outdoor Playhouse
The real test here is will your child gasp when they see it? And will it facilitate that imagination for time to come?
It could be an overall theme, like a secret base treehouse or princess castle, or it could be the features that it offers.
Basically, anything that triggers a desire to play make believe or looks like a kid-sized version of what grown-ups have (i.e. play kitchen) is sure to be appealing.
Engagement and interactivity
All of the playhouses on our list have features that will keep your child entertained, and encourage that interactive play.
Not all are feature heavy with the larger and more spacious designs being more simple.
We have commented on these below so you can get the right design if this is important to you.
Wooden playhouses are also a good idea since you and your child can paint it together.
You may also want to consider a playhouse that includes some playground elements. Your little one would love to have a slide or swing attached to their playhouse.
You need to choose what will fit in your backyard of course. Bigger may not always be better!
So get the measuring tape out to make sure you can fit in this new playhouse without restricting use of your outdoor space.
Height and overall interior area will determine how long your little one will be able to enjoy their playhouse comfortably.
Material and Safety
We have included reputable manufacturers only to ensure that everything on our list is sturdy, and reliable.
If you are purchasing a plastic playhouse double check for sharp corners, and amny areas that may not be connected properly.
If you are purchasing a wooden playhouse then splinters are a hazard tp check for when doing the initial assembly.
Ease of Assembly
Speaking of assembly…. How user friendly is the design?
While you may not always be able to avoid difficult assembly, reading through multiple reviews can really help you avoid some of the more frustrating playhouse models.
For wooden models, you may want to consider treating it to prevent warping and mildew growth.
10 of the Best Outdoor Playhouse
This playhouse is quite unique. It is designed more like a patio than an enclosed house.
There are three different stations that are all food related. Cooking at the grill, from serving food at the bench.
There is the water and sand feature is great for tactile play as your child watches the water flow through the wheels and they dig in the sand box.
It even comes with a cover to keep bugs out when not in use.
- Includes pretend grill, dishes, and play food
- Water and sand table for tactile play
- Lid included to cover sand table when not in use
- Canopy covers blocks sun
- Plenty of space inside for multiple children
- No holes are pre-drilled for assembly
- Play sink doesn’t have a drain
- Does not come with an anchoring system
- Lid for sand table doesn’t fasten down
This wooden playhouse is a great choice is simple, but stong and will last years.
It is as good as a home built cubby house, but a nice shortcut. You can even paint it to suit your child’s needs once assembled.
While it may look complex, it is relatively simple to assemble with all of the holes are pre-drilled for you.
No plastic is used at all in this design with it being all wood.
- No toxic materials
- Fully customizable with paint
- Sturdy design
- All materials are compostable or recyclable
- Large enough for older kids
- Pieces don’t always fit flush together
- No activities or toys included
- Smaller than advertised
- May need to make custom adjustments and repairs over time
This playhouse is more than just a house. You have a slide and stairs, and while small it can fit a couple of kids comfortable as they tear around from end to end.
Once his eyes lock on what he wants, all he needs to do is go down the slide and he is off again.
The roof also provides a nice shaded area if they wanted to just hang out on the platform. There is even space underneath to hide or crawl through if desired.
- Tall platform with overhead covering
- Includes a slide
- Periscope pivots 180 degrees
- Promotes fun, imaginative play
- Easy to assemble
- A bit short for older or taller kids
- Slide is short and steep
- Doesn’t fit multiple children on the platform at once
- Best suited for toddlers
This playhouse is a bit more of a complete house. With an indoor and outdoor area with food related toys your kids will be having pretend BBQs in no time!
There are two play areas. The interior of the house includes a small kitchen with a sink, and a cozy fireplace. The outside area is like a patio, complete with a grill and a two-seater bench.
- Two play areas with interior living area and outside patio
- Includes cooking and grilling supplies
- Doorbell actually works
- Can easily find replacement parts if needed
- Very durable
- No replacement decals provided
- Difficult to assemble
- Stickers peel off quickly
- No drainage for rain water
The sophisticated facade is better than half of the houses in our neighborhood!!
The design is very practical and is a replace of many things that you will find in the home; doors, windows and shutters will provide some subtle real world experience while in play time.
The exterior also includes a mail slot and flag holder.
Lots of empty space inside the playhouse for your child to bring in toys, and whatever else they like to make it feel like their own space.
- Real working doors and windows with shutters
- Mail slot and flag holder on the outside
- Lightweight and easy to move
- Easy to assemble
- Let’s a lot of light in
- Plastic is a bit flimsy
- Can blow over with a strong wind
- Not very big inside
- Sharp edges on plastic
This cute little cottage will also add a bit of style to your backyard.
This playhouse is made entirely of cedar wood, which provides more stability and gives it a more natural feel.
To go with the kitchen related toys there is also a cordless phone inside the house so she can get all of her important calls.
On the outside, you will also find two plant holders which can be a great way of introducing your kids to gardening, and looking after the health of a plant.
- Nice wood finish
- Sink, stove, and phone included inside
- Large windows let in plenty of light
- Easy to assemble
- Working doorbell
- Doesn’t include flower pots or plants
- Wood splits easily when assembling
- Cannot assemble if you can’t fit through the door or window
- Takes at least a couple of hours to put together
The bright pink colors make this look like a princesses castle that little girls will love.
The convertible tabletop in the window can flip both ways, revealing an exterior barbecue grill. The interior includes a clock with movable hands and an electronic phone to play with.
It also includes a working doorbell which is a nice touch – if you have the patience to use it when calling your little girl’s attention.
- Includes electronic phone and clock with movable hands
- Table flips both ways with a pretend stove/grill
- Windows, door, and skylight lets in a lot of light
- Flower pot and mail slot on the outside
- Very cute design
- Instructions are hard to follow
- Not all holes are drilled or lined up correctly
- Skylight doesn’t close to protect from rain
- Doorbell may not fit into precut hole easily
This playhouse is more of an open air design rathan than an enclosed house. It has an interior floor which is handy to keep those little feet clean, compared to most other designs that just sit openly on the ground.
There is a small table inside and a couple built in stools. So there is no need to bring much into the house other than some toys.
- Molded in floor with tiled design
- Table and stools molded in
- Mailbox and doorbell on the outside
- Open sides give it a roomier feel
- Easy to assemble
- Plastic is a little flimsy
- A bit small for multiple children to play together
- Dorr attachment may wear out
- No accessories included
More like a playground than a playhouse, your kids will love the range of features on this design.
They can climb the ladder and go down the slide, or they can enjoy the playhouse underneath the main platform.
The swings will also be lots of fun that will never get old.
- Physical and motor skill development through play
- Includes slide and two swings
- Playhouse underneath the large slide platform
- Platform has a thick balcony rail to keep children safe
- Playhouse has door and crawl-through portals
- Takes up a lot of space
- Instructions are difficult to follow
- Slide gets very hot in the sun
- Difficult to pop the slide into place
Other features include a window with shutters that can be opened and closed, a mailbox, doorbell with working chime, and easy to open door.
This is another design with a built in floor to keep things just a bit cleaner. Plus you can also teach them how to sweep the floor!
- Includes several nice features, including a mailbox and working doorbell
- Floor molded into the interior
- Realistic stone exterior with shingled roof
- Available in two colors
- Comes with a play phone
- Tricky to put together
- No drain holes for rain to escape from plastic frame or floor
- Best for younger kids under 4 years old
- Does not have pre-drilled holes for assembly
Benefits of Having an Outdoor Playhouse
We all know outdoor play is essential for kids’ growth, but they may not always be motivated to kick a ball around or go for a walk.
There are, surprisingly, a number of benefits to having a playhouse in your backyard, including the increased likelihood that they will be inspired to played outside more.
The first, and most obvious, benefits to having an outdoor playhouse is the improvements it may have on your child’s health.
They will be out in the sunshine, which will provide them with essential vitamins that will prevent some common illnesses.
Your child will also be more active, burning off energy while they exercise their muscles in a fun way.
Your child may not need to lose weight, but keeping them active can help prevent childhood obesity.
All that running around will also tire your child out and allow them to get better sleep at night, which will also have numerous benefits on their health.
Playhouses also offer social benefits since they inspire the imagination of a child, and this promotes creative interaction between other children.
This does wonders for the development of their communication skills.
Your child also learns a lot through make believe play. It allows them to reenact things they see adults do, which can help them understand responsibility and problem solving.
Playing outside will also encourage your child to explore and learn more about the world around them.
Playhouses are a great way to brighten up your backyard. They are great value and will encourage imaginative play, while getting fresh air and sunshine.
We hope that this list has helped you find what will appeal most to your kids, and that will also complement your backyard setup.