Archive for April, 2010

A Kids Playhouse In The Tree Tops

April 26, 2010 - 6:42 am 2 Comments

When is a kids playhouse not a playhouse for kids? It’s when the playhouse is built in the tree tops and is used specifically for adults and families looking to unplug and get away from the constant running around, overwhelming work stresses, and distractions of every day life to experience the great outdoors in a unique and memorable way.

Playhouses and tree houses aren’t just for kids. They can be unique get-aways for adults and family members. There are several tree house resorts that cater to people who want a memorable outdoor experience. These tree house resorts move beyond the generalization of the Swiss Family Robinson.

These tree houses don’t require you to rough it, which most families will appreciate, while enjoying a tranquil and rustic outdoors adventure.

If you are in the upper northwest, there are two tree house resorts that are located in the Cave Junction, Oregon area and a third in central Washington, near Mount Rainier. The first is the Out ’n’ About Treesort with 10 different tree houses. The tree houses range from small and cozy to almost grandiose with a tree house suite including a kitchenette.

_Users_Sharon_KPH Blog Articles_Tree house
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

There are two story tree houses with an observation deck or a family complex where the kids and parent tree houses are connected by a swinging bridge. The upper observation tower can be used by all family members for creative kids play, to enjoy the forested mountain view, or for bird watching.

There’s plenty of excitement and uniqueness in getting around the resort using suspension bridges, “Tarzan swings”, and ziplines.

The second resort, Vertical Horizons Treehouse Paradise, offers three tree houses from rustic cottage, enchanted grandeur (The Shiitake), to elegant Tudor-style (The Calypso) with access only via a bridge.

The Calypso Tree House at Vertical Horizons Treehouse Paradise
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

The final tree house resort, Cedar Creek Treehouse, is upscale and luxurious.  It is nestled in the 200-year old mountainous red cedar forest of central Washington.  It boasts a five story staircase leading to a wondrous tree house.

Cedar Creek Treehouse
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

The tree house has a kitchen, refrigerator and bathroom. There are breathtaking views of Osborne Mountain and the Sawtooth Ridge Peaks. Getting away from civilization, it makes connecting to nature and all it has to offer easy in this tree house setting.

Although technically a tree house is not a kids playhouse, it will surely capture the imagination of your children and encourage family interactions with each other and with nature enriching, positive and extremely memorable.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Hansel And Gretel (Bavarian) Kids Playhouse

April 24, 2010 - 2:50 pm No Comments

If you’ve ever wanted a Hansel and Gretel or Bavarian-style kids playhouse, this one has all the exterior features that make it Bavarian.  This type of architectural detail includes “square” and “X” patterns on the windows, sides, and doors of buildings.

On the roof line, there are decorative, scrolled and scalloped facia board that have been painted dark brown.  In the video, you can see the detail of the facia board.  The window grills or muntins, as well as the cedar shingles, add another authentic dimension to the Hansel and Gretel theme.

The Bavarian-style playhouse is quite large, 12 foot x 12 foot, and has a high ceiling, close to 12 foot at the peak.  There is an adult-sized door and a total of 6 windows on three sides of the playhouse.  There are no windows at the back of the playhouse.  The light from the windows and the height of the roof give the inside of the playhouse a very spacious, open and pleasant feel.

The kids playhouse is built on a concrete slab, the first playhouse that I have seen with a concrete slab.  The concrete extended out from the front door of the playhouse to form a patio.  The concrete patio is a nice feature for placing kids furniture, using chalk to draw creative art work, or for bouncing balls.

Interestingly enough, the inside of the playhouse was done up as a school house theme where there was a pull down United States map mounted on the back wall and a black chalk board.  There were also two old time kid-sized desks.

The playhouse had already been built and came with the main house of the present owner.  The present owner plans to expand upon the interior school house theme with a school bell, a small teachers desk, and posters of the alphabet and number since kids have so much fun pretending to play school.

This kids playhouse is unique in that it has the authentic Bavarian-themed exterior and, with a twist, the interior of the playhouse is themed as a kids school house.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Parents Can Help Bring History To Life With A Kids Playhouse

April 20, 2010 - 12:18 am No Comments

A kids playhouse is a great platform to learn about history.  For a child, what better way is there to learn then when you’re playing?  Here are several ways to introduce your child to history and historical concepts using a kids playhouse:

Some outdoor playhouses are almost exact replicas of what a house was like in the era it represents.   If a child has a wooden playhouse that is reminiscent of a past Victorian time, a cozy 20th century cottage, a log cabin on a Midwestern prairie, or a quaint Bavarian villa, there are many different features and embellishments that it is likely to have that are of historical significance or represent a time that no longer exists.  Your child will love to hear what features make their kids playhouse so special or unique.

Kids playhouseFor example, some wooden outdoor playhouses are made to look like they were built from logs, or they have thatched looking roofs, or elaborate and decorative woodwork around the windows, doors and roof line. Parents can discuss with their children how homes were constructed with local building materials available at the time.  If presented in a fun way to their child during play, a basic comparison and contrast with today’s architecture, building resources and tools can be made.

Not every kids playhouse has electricity for lighting and not every main house had electricity either.  Your child will be fascinated to learn how past generations were able to do their school work and daily activities without electricity and other modern amenities like water, heating and indoor bathrooms available today.

Kids often are not able to relate to certain times in history and using a kids playhouse, they can have fun reenacting the life of a pioneer, a child from the Victorian era, or an owner of a castle in medieval times all the while keeping in mind what things were available at that point in time.

Your child will be captivated by learning how food was prepared and stored in the old days without having access to microwaves and refrigerators. How did people store their food for long periods of time?  You and your child can actually do an experiment to compare using food, such as a slice of bread or a piece of fruit, with and without refrigeration to learn what an advantage refrigerated storage was to people in the past (as well as today!).

Have your child put the food in a container inside the playhouse, without refrigeration, and watch how it deteriorates because of lack of refrigeration. Then have them put the food in an “ice box” or cooler to see the difference that refrigeration makes. Did the food spoil faster without refrigeration on in the “ice box”?

Because for a long time people did not have refrigerators, you can talk to your child about the many ways people in the old days were able to preserve their food. This could include: salting meat, canning fruit, and drying vegetables.  There will likely be many conversations around what people were able to eat and how they were able to eat without getting sick!

It’s simple and fun, using a kids playhouse, to help your child understand and learn history through real life lessons and play.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Four Tips Before You Build A Kids Playhouse

April 11, 2010 - 10:41 pm 19 Comments

You know you want to build a kids playhouse from scratch and you have a pretty good idea the dimensions of the playhouse, but perhaps you don’t know where to go from here.

Before starting, I like to have a clearly defined plan, on paper, that includes the layout of the playhouse in the building site area.  A site plan drawn to at least a 1:100 scale can help you view the overall project before you start the actual construction.

When laying out the site area, it should include the location of the playhouse in the yard, proximity to electrical sources, and where the walls, door, and porch will be positioned.

Kids playhouse plans

The following are four tips that can help you to optimizing your kids playhouse before you even build it.

1.  Begin to develop a basic site plan for your backyard.  On your site plan, incorporate existing buildings (yes, that includes the main house as well) and landscaping or natural areas that should remain undisturbed.

2.  Next, think about the best probable location for your playhouse.  Before you can do this you need to answer the following questions.  Will the playhouse be far away from the house so the kids can have space to themselves, will it be close to the house so that the parents can check on the kids from a main house window, or will the landscape or lot size dictate the placement of the playhouse?

3.  If you will have electricity for the playhouse, you will need to keep in mind where the main source of the electricity will be coming from – the main house or an existing outside circuit like for a garage or swimming pool.  You may need to have a separate circuit installed if you will be building a good distance from the house.  From a safety standpoint, have major electrical work performed by a licensed electrician.  If you are a do-it-yourself person, make sure you follow the approved codes within your area.

4.  Now you are ready to go to your site plan. With the desired playhouse dimensions, begin to layout where the playhouse will be located.  Because the main house is included on the site plan, you can get a sense of how close the playhouse will be from the main house.  If you have opted to be able to see the playhouse from at least one of the windows in the main house, you will be able to confirm this on your site plan.

Pay close attention to where the playhouse porch, entrance door and the windows will be located.  Many parents do not want a window or exit door at the back of the playhouse.

Also, for maximum natural lighting and air movement within the kids playhouse, you may want to indicate on your site plan where the afternoon sun will be (as this will be the typical times when children will play in the playhouse) and how air can move throughout the playhouse with the desired amount of windows and doors outlined.

If your playhouse will not get a lot of sun in the afternoon and you are worried that without electrical lighting it will be too dark, you may want to consider adding an additional window or a skylight.

In terms of air movement, many kids can tolerate heat a lot better than adults. However, knowing that you’ve planned for adequate air movement in advance by incorporating enough windows, that can be opened, will ensure that your child will have a pleasant and comfortable playing environment.

Lastly, if you plan on having a porch, which I recommend, determine if the overhang will be adequate for sun, rain and wind protection for you child when they decide to play on the porch of the playhouse.

Taking into consideration the above tips before you build your kids playhouse will ensure that you have the perfect playhouse location in your backyard and it will be optimized for your child’s enjoyment.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

A Unique Kids Playhouse With A Stone Facade

April 7, 2010 - 3:11 pm 3 Comments

I came across this unusual, older, kids playhouse custom-made from a wood frame with a stone accent front and tan, vinyl siding.  The vinyl siding was the same color as the main house, and although the playhouse did not match the architectural style of the main home, the consistent use of color between structures worked very well together. Older kids playhouse with stone facade

Two unusual features of this playhouse make it a particularly interesting structure.  The two level shingled roof and the stone facade combine to make a unique playhouse.

The lower roof extended over the porch by about 3 feet. The door to the kids playhouse was kid-sized, about 4 feet high, and was reached by stepping up onto a raised, 4 foot wide by 3 foot deep, wooden porch.

The kid-friendly door had a pull to open the door – just right for little kids hands.

There were four windows of various sizes, not including the window in the door, so the interior of the playhouse was very bright and pleasant.  There was no electricity to the playhouse so having all those windows was nice.

The first window was to the right of the entrance to the kids playhouse and was glass only and not meant to be opened. There were no windows directly opposite the door. Kids playhouse stone facade side view

On the lower level, there were two double hung widows on each side of the kids playhouse adjacent to the door.  One of these windows was long and narrow while the other window was more of a standard size.  These windows could be opened for air flow through the playhouse. The last double hung window was on the second level and again, this window was tall and narrow.

The interior floor was wooden and the walls were finished off with wall board that had been painted white.

There was a ladder to a second floor area spanning the entire length of the playhouse.  This area was just the right size for 2-3 small kids and could certainly be used for a sleepover. Kids playhouse stone facade side view 2

The stone exterior to this kids playhouse made it very unique and memorable.  The brightness of the interior was refreshing due to the amount of windows.

The second floor was a nice addition for extra fun and especially for slumber parties and sleepovers.

Overall, this kids playhouse was very unique and nice looking.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Give Your Daughter An Elegant Tea Party In Her Kids Playhouse

April 6, 2010 - 12:18 am No Comments

Who doesn’t love a tea party especially when it’s held in a kids playhouse?  A tea party in a kids playhouse can be a very memorable “kids only” event.  An event that your child would be happy to hostess and be excited when the big day finally arrives.

To make this an amazing event for your child and her friends, it doesn’t have to be hard to organize, but for best results you should plan it out in advance.  There are invitations to make, a menu to decide, food to prepare, tea to steep, and a formal table to set.

Kids playhouse tea partyI like to start with the menu which I try to keep as simple as possible.  I also keep in mind what little kids would like to eat versus what an adult would like at a tea party.  That’s why I recommend serving food items in the “mini” form or a smaller portion size.  Food that works well in the “mini” form are:  brownies, slices of lemon pound cake, scones, and sugar cookies.

Finger foods like strawberries, grapes, carrots, celery sticks, and snack mixtures such as trail mix or a blend of gold fish crackers, raisins and M & M’s tend to go over very well with kids.   Small ham and cheese sandwiches or PB and J sandwiches with the crusts removed and cut into fun shapes are also big hits.

Try to avoid foods that are sticky, that can stain, or desserts that are too crumbly.  I also try to stay away from foods with frosting and minimize serving chocolate.  They’re just too messy.  However, because the tea party is in the kids playhouse, it’s not as big an issue as if the tea party were in an adult house.

Kids don’t generally like tea, so pink lemonade, apple cider or fruit-infused teas may be served in place of traditional tea.  Having sugar cubes in a sugar bowl is a fun addition to any tea party.  “One lump or two?” is a qustion that they can playfully ask each other.

For tea sets, if you don’t have real tea cups, saucers and a tea pot, you can scout out local yard sales, flea markets or thrift stores for these items at reasonable and inexpensive prices.  Preferably, you would want to get tea cups that are smaller for little hands.  While you are out looking for these things, you might want to pick up several small spoons used for adding the sugar cubes and stirring the “tea”.

A real linen table cloth and linen napkins make an elegant touch to the kids playhouse and the tea party theme.  When setting the table for tea, I like to use silver flatware, small china plates, tea cups, and saucers as well as the tea pot.  It makes the table formal and grandiose.  The girls really enjoy it because it’s so grown up.

Girls love to dress up and the tea party should be no exception. Ask your young guests to come already dressed up or you can provide a clothes chest that have a variety of dresses, hats, boas, tiaras, high heels, gloves, purses, necklaces and bracelets.  If you are really ambitious, you can have perfumes, hair barrettes and make up available so the little princesses can be Queens for the day.

The invitations are always fun to make and your little girl will love to help out and even design them.  Tea pots or tea cups cut out and decorated with paints and sequins make an eye catching invitation.  Don’t forget to request your guests to come dressed up and to arrive directly to the door of the kids playhouse.

Having the tea party in a kids playhouse will provide the perfect environment for this themed-celebration and an incredibly fun experience for your girl and her friends.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

How A Kids Playhouse Creates Interest In Nature-Based Jobs

April 3, 2010 - 11:00 pm 1 Comment

Playing in a kids playhouse becomes more than just another fun session. Being outdoors and experimenting with the wonders of nature could spark an interest in children with regard to what they may want to pursue for their adult occupations. For some children, the time that they spend in their playhouse and the intentional and unexpected interactions that they will have with bugs, flowers, and our environment may be a springboard for a deeper desire to learn more about our world.

Kids Playhouse Outdoor Play

Here are a few nature based jobs that children may eventually strive to pursue based on the experience that they have through playing and exploring in their outdoor playhouse:

Botanist – From dissecting dandelions to analyzing mud, kids will find all types of ways to interact with nature. This seemingly basic interaction could blossom into a real love of plants and learning about how they grow and affect our lives. In time, this could lead to an interest in the field of botany or horticulture.

Florist – For many children, any “flower” that grows alongside their kids playhouse may be the prettiest flower ever, even if it’s just a weed. Children that notice the beauty in flowers may feel attracted to pursuing floral arranging as a potential job in the future. That little bouquet of pussywillows could be the spark for a budding florist.

Zoologist – Animals are everywhere. When children spend vast amounts of time outdoors, they are exposed to many different animals and life forms. Whether it’s a little earthworm or a bird that has fallen out of a nest, there may be many opportunities for a child to come in close contact with animals. For some children, this will lead to a strong desire to learn to care for them and learn about their habitats.

Playing in a kids playhouse can inspire children to gain a deeper interest in so many nature related fields. From the analytical to the creative, the possibilities are limitless as to how being outdoors will affect them in their long term career choices. What they end up making their life’s work…only time will tell.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Hide me
Sign up below to receive FREE mini e-book!
  Name: Email:
Show me