A look at the 7 Best Kid’s Playhouses for your garden (May 2020 Updated Review)
We’ve all seen it. You spend hours shopping for the perfect toy to really make your kid’s Christmas one to remember, find that perfect wrapping paper, and slide it under the tree, and wait to see their faces light up on Christmas day.
And what happens? They take the toy out of the packaging and then spend the rest of the day playing with the box!
This can be a little frustrating for some parents but it is just a natural, and very important part of a child’s development, for them to engage in imaginary play. I’m no spring chicken, but I can still remember building dens with my friends in nearby bushes and playing make believe games such as soldiers, pirates, and astronauts, and just how much fun it was.
So, why not take advantage of that beautiful imagination and even give it a helping hand by giving your children a kid’s playhouse for the garden for them to play in?
These playhouses and tents are available in lots of different themes so it shouldn’t be too hard to find something that is sure to peak your kid’s interests. And to make your choices a little easier, we took the time to take a closer look at the best rated kid’s playhouses and reviewed them for you below.
Table of Contents
1. Nice2you Pop up Kids Play Tent Portable Playhouse
Nice2you pop up playhouses are available in four different styles from fairy castles to bakery shops, all for around the same price give or take a couple of pounds.
The model that we looked at was the blue underwater themed kid’s playhouse and we thought it was something that any children between two and four years old would love.
There are two parts to this version of the Nice2you kid’s playhouse, the play tent itself and the detachable ball pit, and when combined they measure 152cm long, 104cm high, and 38cm wide, so there’s definitely enough space for one or two young children to play inside.
The playhouse features two circular openings, one on the front and back, and this creates a fun tunnel for them to crawl through right into the ball pit. When children are playing inside the playhouse, it’s easy to keep an eye on them through the mesh sides and ‘windows’ in the sloped roof.
On the outside of the playhouse, above one of the circular entranceways, you will find a small basketball style net that your young kids use to help them develop hand eye coordination while having fun. Just to note, the balls aren’t included with the playhouse and need to be bought separately.
This is a pop-up kid’s playhouse and works in much the same way as a pop-up tent or football net. It arrives in its carry bag, you take it out and the playhouse will unfold itself into shape. There’s absolutely no assembly required and your kids can be happily playing away in seconds.
Folding it away again is a little trickier, but once you get the hang of it, packing away becomes a much easier and faster affair and this makes this playhouse totally portable, so you won’t have to deal with tears when you child wants to take their playhouse to their friend’s house or when visiting grandma.
The material used by Nice2you is a non-toxic polyester that feels pretty durable while remaining soft and breathable too, especially the mesh netted areas. Would it withstand kid’s older than three or four roughhousing in it? Not very long, but for toddlers and very young children it is a really nice playhouse for the garden or the bedroom.
2. Denny International® Prince Castle Play Tent
Kid’s love magic and fantasy. Are there any of us that haven’t been forced to sit through Disney’s Frozen for the 500th time recently?
Makers of kid’s playhouses for gardens know this and that’s why there are so many wizard or Princess castle themed products out there.
This one from Denny International is available in either a blue colour scheme with moon and stars images as part of the pattern, or a pink Princess style playhouse.
This is a portable kid’s playhouse and so it can be folded up into and placed into a small round carry bag for transportation. Assembly is very easy and just needs you to fit four poles into slots in the bottom of the tent to give the playhouse its shape and stability, and I would say you can have it up within 10 minutes.
Once assembled the round shaped kid’s playhouse stands 105cm x 135cm and has a large doorway that can be covered by rolling down the curtain that is stored above it. There are also two circular mesh windows to provide ventilation.
We tested the blue version of this product and I have to say that once it was up, it looked really good and the kid’s couldn’t wait to get in there and start playing. The pointed roof is especially eye catching.
Now for the downside of this kid’s playhouse. This is a low budget product and because of the low price tag, the thickness or quality of the material might not be up to the standards of more expensive models. This also might affect the longevity of it, but this is to be expected of low cost products of any kind I guess.
This can be a great kid’s playhouse for your garden if you’re on a tighter budget and should last a while if smaller kids are using it and they are told not to play too roughly inside it.
3. LittleTom childrens Playhouse
Looking for a kid’s playhouse that is a bit more durable than the usual tent style products? Well, then take a look at this excellent product from Little Tom.
Unlike a lot of other playhouses for your garden, this one can be left outside without worrying that the weather will ruin it, even if there’s a particularly heavy downpour. The Little Tom children’s playhouse arrives in pieces, but most of those pieces are quite large, so there aren’t too many of them and putting them together is very easy. You won’t even need any tools as the plastic screws can be inserted by hand or with the use of a coin or butter knife.
All the pieces are made of high quality, thick and strong plastic, and there is no way that your children will be breaking this playhouse any time soon. For safety reasons there are no sharp edges as Little tom has seen to round them all, so even toddlers can play in it without any danger.
The theme of this playhouse is a little cottage and the plastic has faux stone and woodwork on the walls, and a pretend tile pattern on the roof. There are good sized windows on two sides, one with shutters that can be opened or closed, and a full size doorway with a half sized gate.
Probably the best feature of the kid’s garden playhouse is the picnic table and benches. Not only do they look great, they are very well built and sturdy and can take loads of up to 25 kilograms. If the weather looks to be changing, you can simply fit the table and benches inside the main playhouse instead.
On the inside of the playhouse, your kids will find that one wall has been fitted with some moveable plastic gears that they can play with, and with overall dimensions of 104 x 95 x 118 cm, your children don’t have to play alone as there is plenty of room for a friend or two to join them.
Solid, sturdy, and high quality are all words that spring to mind to describe this product, and if you are looking for a kid’s playhouse for your garden that is built to last, then this would be the one.
4. Smoby Kids Playhouse and Kitchen
The Smoby Kid’s playhouse stands out from the crowd for a few good reasons, and is definitely a product you should consider if you have more than one child under the age of 8.
You will need a fair bit of space in your garden though as this is a good sized kid’s playhouse and measures 217 x 155 x 172 cm. This extra size is not wasted though and there are lots of cool features that your children and their friends will love.
For a start, there is the main playhouse itself which has a total of six windows, two of them with shutters, so it is very well ventilated and won’t get too hot in summer. There is also a half sized swing door on the front and back entrances and an electric doorbell so your children will know when those important visitors arrive.
On the outside of the playhouse there is a detachable picnic table and benches where two kids can sit and have snacks comfortably, and even a kitchen area! The kitchen area is well detailed with an imitation sink and tap, a hotplate for some imaginary cooking, and places to store the utensils and cutlery. What’s more this kid’s playhouse comes with your child’s very own plates, cooking pot, cutlery, drinking glasses, spatula, and two plastic sausages. Everything they could need to play chef.
What more could you want? Well, how about a place for your kids to keep their potted plants under the window and really make this feel like a real home. You don’t have to worry about the durability of this product. It is made in France and constructed out of top quality plastic, making this playhouse robust, sturdy, and very stable once assembled. The plastic is weatherproof and also resistant to UV damage so leaving it outside shouldn’t be a problem.
Putting this thing together is no big chore and all it takes is an hour or so to get it built.
There’s no need for any tools either, you can simply do it with your bare hands. If you ever want to disassemble the playhouse, it is just as easy.
At the time of writing this article, the Smoby kid’s playhouse is on sale and has fifty pounds reduced from the original price. I say if you can get it at that, it is a real bargain. A top quality product.
5. Haehne Children's Pop-up Playhouse
To call this product a play ‘house’ wouldn’t be strictly accurate as neither of the two versions available are actually house shaped.
This playhouse comes in two different styles- a pink ice cream van, and a red fire engine. They are both rectangular shaped with curved edges just like a modern van and have images such as a windscreen, wheels, and other specific things to help with your kid’s imagination.
As you probably guessed by the name, this is a pop-up product which brings with it its own pros and cons. On the plus side there is no assembly, not even any messing around with poles. The playhouse will simply spring into shape once it’s unfolded, and this is a life saver for those of us who aren’t really the most technically minded.
The downside to pop-up playhouses is that they are not as durable as, say, plastic models like the ones we just reviewed and this limits their longevity. Then again, they are usually available at a tenth of the price of the plastic playhouses so you expect too much.
That’s not to say this is flimsy in any way. The polyester material is decent quality and has been double sewn at the seam to prevent premature tearing. The material is also washable so you can scrub off the ice cream and chocolate stains and keep it looking like new.
The polyester hangs off a flexible but strong steel frame, and all of it folds up neatly, with a little practice and patience, into the compact carry bag.
When the playhouse has unfolded it is surprisingly large and roomy with dimensions of 120cm long, 70cm wide and 70cm high, so your kids won’t have any trouble crawling through the entranceway in the back and popping their heads out of the holes in the top.
Whether your kid wants to be a firefighter, or just to provide everyone with refreshments, they can live out their fantasies with these low cost pop-up playhouses for under twenty five pounds. That’s pretty good value.
6. cozydots Children Indian Teepee
Native American teepees are a very popular and common style of kid’s playhouse for garden use, and there are loads of options to choose from, but we think that this one from Cozydots is the cream of the crop. Sure, you could say that it is more expensive than some of the other teepee playhouses, but it’s not a great deal more and I think the overall quality of this product speaks for itself.
For a start, let’s talk about the main materials. The wooden support poles are made of good quality pine which not only makes them very strong, but also looks beautiful. The poles have a nice finish to them and there are no splinters or rough edges to be seen.
Now onto the fabric. Cozydots have chosen 100% cotton for the main cover, making it super soft and breathable, and also very tough, tear resistant, and can be washed in the washing machine.
Depending on which of the nine colour schemes you go for, there will be various frills or bobbles sewn along the doorway and either roll down or pull across curtains for the window. These too are excellent quality with top notch stitching, delivering an all-round great kid’s playhouse that will last.
When your kids have finished playing, or you see dark clouds approaching, you can quickly take this teepee playhouse down and pack it away in its own soft carry bag. This also makes it portable so you can take it anywhere you like. The carry bag even has a shoulder strap to make carrying the playhouse around a piece of cake.
Standing 110 x 110 x 150cm once fully erected, there is more than ample space for more than one child to play inside comfortably, and you could have some toys in there with them too. Another nice little touch are large pockets in the inside of the teepee to keep your child’s favourite books or teddy bears in.
So, to sum up, if your kid has their heart set on a teepee style playhouse, my advice would be to spend that little extra, save yourself the headache of explaining to your child why their playhouse is broken in a months’ time, and get a far superior product in the form of this one from Cozydots.
You won’t regret it.
7. Hi Suyi Kids Children Camouflage Marching Play Tent
Children have been playing soldier for as long as anyone can remember. From kid’s in ancient Rome fighting with wooden swords, to today’s modern Nerf gun fights, there comes a time in most kid’s lives when they get all ‘army barmy’. Toy soldiers, tanks, and planes, and even army fatigue pajamas become the must have items that you are begged for on a daily basis until you eventually give in to them.
If you really want to make your little soldier’s dreams come true, you can give them their very own private army base in the form of this kid’s playhouse for your garden or their bedroom.
Now, a word of warning before we proceed. If you are not very good at figuring things out for yourself or putting things together, assembling this playhouse might drive you a little insane, as you have to piece the frame together yourself and the instructions are non-existent. Most people will be able to figure it out for themselves though, and there is always help to be found online.
Apart from that little negative, this is actually a great little soldier’s playhouse. It’s a good size at 159 x 84 x 121cm, more than enough room for your child’s small squad of friends to plan their next battle in, and there are multiple windows with roll down covers to keep prying eyes off those secret plans.
Outside of the main playhouse is a covered porch area which would be ideal for placing a small table and chairs out there so the children can have lunch without having to come inside.
The polyester material that covers the metal frame is completely covered in an army camouflage print and really looks the business. The material seems strong enough that it won’t rip easily, and as there are several good sized windows, you don’t have to worry about breathability or ventilation. It is also easily wiped clean with a wet cloth.
Priced at just over twenty five quid, it is a great deal if you can put up with the slight frustrations caused by assembly, and you could always ask someone else to put it up for you haha.
Best Kid’s Playhouses Buyer’s Guide
Should you go for a budget playhouse or one that costs hundreds of pounds? Wood, plastic, or fabric? What size is best? What style?
These are just some of the many questions you are probably asking yourself if you are considering buying a kid’s playhouse for your garden. So, to help you find answers to them, we put together this short little buyer’s guide with some hints and tips.
These days there is so much choice available to us when we are shopping that it can actually be a hindrance when trying to make a final decision. A good way to narrow your options down is to think about what your child is crazy about and go with that theme, be it army, princesses, racing cars, or their favourite cartoon.
Another to keep in mind when choosing a style is just how long you think your kid will be into that theme. There’s no point spending hundreds of pounds for a top of the range racing car themed playhouse for your garden if they will move onto some other craze or fad within a few months. Then again, if it’s something that they’ve been into for a while, it might be worth the investment.
Size of the playhouse
How many kids have you got who are at the age to use the playhouse? Will your kid be playing alone most of the time or with friends? How much space do you have in your garden?
Ask yourself these questions before you buy your kid’s playhouse as they are very important factors. If your children are close in age and will both be playing in the playhouse, you are going to need something big like the Smoby or Little Tom’s playhouse. Smaller playhouses or tents will probably be fine for really young kids who tend to play on their own.
Going out with a tape measure and seeing just how much space that playhouse you’ve had your eye on will take is also a very good idea, to avoid shocks later on.
The price range for kid’s playhouses for gardens is vast, starting from as little as ten pounds and going up into the hundreds. As we already mentioned, you need to be sure that you kid isn’t going to go off the idea or theme of the playhouse, or grow out of it before you buy it.
There is also the issue of quality to consider too. Very cheap products of this kind tend not to be the most durable and long lasting, and paying a little extra can often get you a far superior product. The type of playhouse you want to buy will also play a huge part in the price you should expect to pay. Large plastic models with opening doors, picnic benches, and all sorts of other features are going to cost you hundreds of pounds. That being said, they will last for years and are generally much higher quality.
Play tents are cheaper and vary in price a lot, but this is where forking out an extra twenty to thirty pounds usually pays off, quality wise, due to the materials used.
How are your DIY skills?
If they’re not up to much, you could find yourself getting very frustrated trying to assemble the more complex playhouses on the market, and you might be better off with a pop-up model like the Nice2you model we reviewed earlier.
There are also folding tents which still require some assembly, but it is kept to a minimum and usually only involves clicking a few poles together. Plastic or wooden playhouses will require more time to put them together, but most modern plastic models can be assembled without the need for any tools. Wooden ones on the other hand will definitely require some working knowledge of DIY and basic tools.