Best Outdoor Playhouse for Toddlers – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

There is nothing kids like better than playing “make believe” games; you agree with me, don’t you? It is ideal for growth and development.

In fact, research has proven that most of the cognitive benefits children achieve come from their imagination and entertainment. The easiest way to let them enjoy these benefits is to buy them the best outdoor playhouse.

Choosing a playhouse is no easy task, not with the many types available for both indoor and outdoor use. Not all playhouses are safe for children of all ages including toddlers, I recommend you consider this as it further complicates your buying decision.

Children live wild. They are full of stories and they can dream up about so many things including enchanted lands, princesses, castles, princes, and little warriors among others.

Buying them a playhouse is one step closer to letting them live their dream lives. They are ideal for encouraging autonomous play among other benefits.

You will be allowing them to practice social skills, and even better, reduce the amount of time they spend watching TV, considering that most children nowadays spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen; TV, video games, computer.

If you are looking for the best toddler playhouse, I have made it simple for you. Don’t allow the buying process harder than it should. I’ll help you concentrate on the fun your toddlers will have.

Best Outdoor Playhouse 2017

Here are the choices I suggest and insightful considerations you should make before you shop.

Image    |    Product Name       |      Dimensions     |   Price  

Step2 Sweetheart Playhouse

53 x 47 x 58 inches

Step2 Welcome Home Playhouse

66 x 73 x 66 inches

Step2 Neighborhood Fun Center

63.5 x 84 x 58 inches

Step2 Neat and Tidy II Playhouse

35 x 51 x 46.5 inches

My First Playhouse

15.2 x 23.5 x 41.2 inches

Little Tikes Endless Playhouse

55 x 48.9 x 58 inches

Little Tikes Cape Cottage, Red

35 x 42.75 x 49 inches

Little Tikes Picnic on the Patio

45.3 x 15.4 x 47.6 inches

Little Tikes Cape Cottage, Tan

42.8 x 35 x 49 inches

Backyard Discovery Summer Cottage Wooden Playhouse

58 x 72 x 66 inches

01. Step2 Sweetheart Playhouse

Little princesses are such sweethearts and apples of their parent’s eyes! This Step2 Sweetheart Playhouse then is the perfect gift for your girls who like all things white, pink, and frilly.

Unlike most playhouses with a conventional Dutch door, this particular unit features a full-sized door with a pink roofing and shutters.

It even comes with beautiful heart designs, to further enhance the sweetheart theme, both at the top and the bottom of the door.

The playhouse is illuminated by sunlight through a spacious skylight on the roof, and even though the colors are a stretch from the typical playhouse, the textured roofing, and the brick siding are some of the realistic features it has.

It also comes with four AAA batteries for a phone and the doorbell, which allow toddlers to have an interaction with some noise and other toys. 

Inside is a clock with movable hands to let kids learn how to tell time and a convertible table that flips outside for a make-believe cooking.

Specifications

  • Age: 24 months to 6 years
  • Dimensions: 53 by 47 by 58 inches
  • Weight: 98.5 pounds

Pros

  • Perfect size for toddlers
  • Beautiful and attractive colors
  • Flower box, hearts, and flip table are all cute details for the young

Cons

  • Requires some assembly
  • Requires batteries for the bell and phone

02. Step2 Welcome Home Playhouse

This is another one of the best outdoor playhouse types that is beautifully designed to mimic modern homes. It is spacious and will make the perfect toddler shift in your backyard.

Comes with two large windows, a skylight for natural illumination, and a sizeable pull-to-open Dutch door. 

The color scheme includes several shades of brown, which are accented with bright blue shutters. The door is burgundy.

The unit is equipped with an electronic doorbell and a cordless phone, both using the AAA size batteries, which will help your kids get engaged in their game. With a taller ceiling, even parents can fit in.

If you have older kids, you can have them teach the toddlers how to prepare meals with the full kitchen that has everything you need including storage cabinets and a fake sink.

The interior also has a small table for the setting of plates and food. Keeps the experience realistic.

Specifications

  • Age: 18 months to 8 years
  • Dimensions: 66 by 73 by 66 inches
  • Weight: 200 pounds

Pros

  • Elegantly built with large bay windows
  • Comes with a kitchen and cabinets
  • Electronic bell and a phone
  • Has a small table for placement of toys and other things

Cons

  • It is heavy
  • A bit difficult to setup

03. Step2 Neighborhood Fun Center

This playhouse doubles as a fun center with tons of activities your little ones can engage in. It is versatile and ideal for both indoors and outdoors.

It features range from an activity wall for a loop ball target and ring toss games for better development and coordination skills.

It has a bright yellow Dutch door for entry and a portal that toddlers can crawl through. Four feet slide ideal for several activities.

Your older kids can always teach the toddlers to say “wee” “up” “down” among other target vocabulary words. It has brown walls, a green roof, and a red slide, table, and chairs.

The unit also features a snack table that comes with a built-in countertop, so, kids won’t have to stop playtime when the time for a snack comes. The inclusion of two balls and four rings negates the need for the purchase of extra toys.

Specifications

  • Age: 24 months to 5 years
  • Dimensions: 63.5 by 84 by 58 inches
  • Weight: 105 pounds

Pros

  • Strong construction
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Facilitates easy and cooperative play
  • Has several play spaces

Cons

  • Assembly may be a little tricky with several components
  • Susceptible to fading from prolonged sun exposure

04. Step2 Neat and Tidy II Playhouse

If you are looking for a unit that guarantees fun and delight to your little ones, I would suggest you consider the Step2 Neat and Tidy II Playhouse.

You want to keep them away from making a mess indoors? It is the choice for you.

Comes equipped with an open window design and some realistic features of a true home.

Even parents can fit inside because of how spacious it is. It has a strong plastic build with stone accents and faux wood. The burgundy and light brown colors are attractive enough for your outdoors.

The exterior features a functional mailbox and a flower box that you can use to hold your child’s favorite flowers. The entryway is a Dutch door and the shutters are good fixtures toddlers can use to practice opening and closing.

It acts as a venue for wild imaginations for your kids, which even enables them to pretend to cook or clean as it includes a kitchen table, a faucet, and a seat.

Children can bring this playhouse to live by making use of the functional doorbell and play phone. Both use 2 AAA batteries.

Drain holes have been drilled on its built-in floor, which prevents the gathering of water when it rains. Nevertheless, it has been built to withstand wear and tear.

Specifications

  • Age: 18 months to 8 years
  • Dimensions: 35 by 51 by 46.5 inches
  • Weight: 56.8 pounds

Pros

  • Open design for plenty of vision
  • Attractive design
  • Highly durable

Cons

  • No choices in color combinations

05. My First Playhouse

It is called My First Playhouse specifically because it comes with a beautiful design ideal for toddlers to play in. This particular unit is also highly affordable.

This playhouse comes with a beautiful design available in blue, white, pink, and another in purple version.

It features a working door that toddlers can easily push to open, and spacious windows that allows them to see outside.

Also included is a working doorbell and a mailbox with a flag. The bell uses two AAA size batteries, but unlike other types of playhouses, it doesn’t come with the fun accessories for extra activities.

It is also a bit smaller than most of the playhouses. Although this is a disadvantage in terms of accommodating several toddlers, the brighter side is that it can be used either indoors or outdoors.

Specifications

  • Age: 36 months to 15 years
  • Dimensions: 15.2 by 23.5 by 41.2 inches
  • Weight: 25.5 pounds

Pros

  • Has a beautiful design
  • Large and spacious windows
  • Comes with a mailbox and a functional bell

Cons

  • A little too small
  • Doesn’t come with play accessories
  • Not smoothly finished

06. Little Tikes Endless Adventures Tikes Town Playhouse

If you want your toddlers to get fully engaged in a variety of activities with a little help from the older kids, the Little Tikes Endless Adventures Tikes Town Playhouse is excellent with some of the most amazing features.

It is relatively large and each of the sides has amazing themes.

With a firehouse, a schoolhouse, a grocery store, and a gas station, there is no shortness of what your kids can do. The gas station is a realistic one with a gas pump that mimics the exact real thing.

The unit has a crawl-through tunnel, a door with a mail slot, a molded bell, and sizeable see-through shutters and typical ATM machine. 

Also featured is a kitchenette and shelves for storing play food. Your kids can play firemen, sports guys, teachers, or simply carry out a “make believe” grocery shopping.

The whole playhouse is easy to put up, and with the beautiful colors it comes with, it gets very attractive to your young ones. You can even add colors of your own.

Specifications

  • Age: 18 months to 6 years
  • Dimensions: 55 by 48.9 by 58 inches
  • Weight: 94 pounds

Pros

  • Highly versatile in terms of activities
  • Molded plastic is durable
  • Enough space for playing

Cons

  • Some users claim the colors fade too soon
  • Requires some assembly

07. Little Tikes Cape Cottage, Red

This is one beautiful unit that I know will make a great addition to your other toddler toys, and it promises several hours of play time and fun either in it or outside the playhouse.

The design of the cottage is smart, compact, and is lightweight, which makes it highly portable and versatile, for use both indoors and outdoors.

Although it doesn’t come with a kitchenette or many accessories, this Little Tikes Cape Cottage, Red resembles a real house with the walls painted red and with a structure, which mimics real bricks.

It comes with two windows with white shutters, and two functional doors of the same color. Also, it includes a mail slot, and a flag holder to make it even more attractive.

With a beautiful tile-like roof that elegantly accents the red color, the whole unit gives an experience of a lush and contemporary cottage.

Specifications

  • Age: 24 months to 5 years
  • Dimensions: 42.8 by 35 by 49 inches
  • Weight: 31.2 pounds

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Versatile and can be used both indoors and outdoors
  • Has an elegant design that blends well with the backyard

Cons

  • Its plastic construction has questionable durability
  • Doesn’t have many features
  • It’s a bit smaller than the other types

08. Little Tikes Picnic on the Patio

Unlike some of the units that require proprietary accessories for play, the Little Tikes Picnic on the Patio has everything a child needs for play.

upon opening it, you will find that it has many fixtures that say everything about entertainment and fun. Comes with a cottage feel and a red roof, which is tile-like.

The walls mimic exactly those of a cottage made of bricks and logs. Set in your backyard, it will give your children a feeling like they are in a rural backyard.

The doors are Dutch and backing them up are multiple windows that will make interaction with outside of the playhouse easier.

Other details include a red doorbell, two chairs that incredibly complement the picnic table attached to one of the walls, faux burners, oven, and shelves in the inside kitchen.

Now all that is remaining is for your children to bring their play and have fun. The table can be used for drawing, writing, eating, or even placing other toys or foods like snacks.

Specifications

  • Age: 18 months to 4 years
  • Dimensions: 45.3 by 15.4 by 47.9 inches
  • Weight: 72.8 pounds

Pros

  • Cottage-inspired for beauty
  • Easy to maintain and clean
  • Comes with chairs and a table
  • Open design to keep an eye on the little ones

Cons

  • Requires some assembly, which is a bit tricky especially when attaching with screws

09. Little Tikes Cape Cottage, Tan

You want a suitable toddler playhouse that you can move around with ease, I recommend the Little Tikes Cape Cottage. It is beautiful, light, and excellent for play.

It features a contemporary design that incorporates a red painted brick roof with a tan siding to fit your backyard perfectly.

Entry can be made through the two Dutch doors, and the two windows with brown shutters allow the toddlers to open and close them as they role play.

This particular unit also has flag holders, and a mail slot at the front to pass small items like notes or artworks. It is made of a durable plastic that doesn’t easily fade or succumb to wear and tear easily.

Also included are accent stickers that consist of house numbers, a door lock as well as a mailbox sign. These add the wow factor to the whole unit.

Specifications

  • Age: 24 months to 5 years
  • Dimensions: 42.8 by 35 by 49 inches
  • Weight: 31.2 pounds

Pros

  • Easy assembly and setup
  • Portable
  • Versatile and can be used for other functions

Cons

  • Some users think it is a bit too flimsy because of its weight
  • Smaller than other playhouses
  • No accessories like the kitchenette and other house fixtures

10. Backyard Discovery Summer Cottage Wooden Playhouse

Away from the plastic makes, this particular playhouse has everything you need for your outdoors to have a vintage charm of a wooden summer cottage.

It comes with real cedar wood paneling, a chimney-like fixture as well as flower boxes.

It also has some beautiful stairs that carry the same concept as that of many homes, with real doors and windows. The door has a magnetic latch that children will love.

With the authentic kitchenette and the exterior side station with a bench, it will make the ideal place for your kids to sit down and snack.

This charming real wood playhouse is weatherproof and versatile enough to be used indoors apart from the outdoor use. 

Its kitchen comes equipped with a sink and a stove that looks real, all which will guarantee that the “make believe” games your toddlers will have, is as close to reality as possible.

Specifications

  • Age: 36 months to 10 years
  • Dimensions: 58 by 72 by 66 inches
  • Weight: 170 pounds

Pros

  • Magnetic door latch
  • Outdoor bench and snack window
  • Has a tall center peak that fits adults too
  • Real wood and weatherproof

Cons

  • No floor
  • Being wooden, it may cause potential splinters

Outdoor Playhouse for Toddlers – Buyer’s Guide

There are lots of considerations you should make before deciding on a particular playhouse for your toddler. Among them includes:

1. Safety

Keeping your children safe should come first above everything else. Over the past few years, toy safety regulationsin the United States and the United Kingdom have become even stricter.

This is why it is important that you stay ahead of the new standards as well as any recalls for the safety of your children.

Some of these best outdoor playhouses come with a ladder, a slide or a jungle gym. They offer a fun way for your children to stay always active both indoors and outdoors.

In fact, it impacts positively on the academic performance of the child. Nevertheless, you want to choose a playhouse that has a strong construction, and if it is made of plastic, it should be durable enough after assembling it correctly.

Be sure to go through many kids playhouse reviews of the kind of unit you want and after the purchase, check the inside before letting the kids play in it. Ensure that the company complies with the industrial safety standards.

2. Size

Size is an important factor to look at depending on the space available outdoors. Choose a unit that is spacious enough to fit your outdoor space.

It shouldn’t take much of the space that it looks like a giant playhouse that you can hardly get some space to keep your other things. Also, consider the type of fun your child should have. It should be big enough for your kid to play happily.

Map out the area outdoors that you are going to install the unit. This will give you an idea of how big a playhouse you will get. Other factors to consider while determining the size of the playhouse include the possibility of having other children playing with your toddlers.

If you can’t keep an eye on the young ones, it is important that you have other older kids playing with the toddlers.

3. Material

The material make of the playhouse in another choice you are burdened with. Many people often disregard it, but it sure plays a role in durability and safety of the child.

The two broad categories of materials used to make these units are plastic and wood. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Plastic playhouses are light, portable, and easy to assemble.

Similarly, they are easy to maintain and clean. They can withstand several weather conditions as well. Perhaps one of the impressive features about the plastic types is how it doesn’t require a base to be built on.

They can be simply placed on the floor or the grass with a mat to protect the young from dirt. Toddlers aren’t at any risk of splinters with this type of playhouse.

They are also small and more suitable for the young. On the other hand, wooden units are a bit bulky, but ideal for other fixtures to be added such as swings, slides, and ladders.

It blends well with your outdoors and is less likely to succumb to wear and tear. Eventually, what matters here will be the kind of games your children play.

4. Window

These playhouses are for little kids. What this means is that you always need to keep an eye on them while they are playing. For this reason, you need a unit that has sizeable window.

Look for a playhouse that comes with large and wide cut outs. They should be low enough that you can get a glimpse of what the child is doing. That being said, an open model with windows and doors that open and shut are suitable.

Children like the feel of their own personal space. Some even come with picnic tables and chairs or benches that doubles as kid’s tables or seats during family events. 

Other Considerations

• Budget – The amount of money you want to spend also determines the type of playhouse you will get. Plastic or mesh types are fairly cheap, although larger types, which are fully-inclusive will usually cost more.

• Accessories – If you want to encourage your toddlers to have more play, fun, and academic activities, a unit with accessories like a schoolhouse, a sports wall, a kitchen with dishwashers, stoves, mailbox, doorbells, and other features will be the most suitable. Ensure that despite all these accessories, it leaves enough room for play.

• Assembly – How much assembly does the unit require? Some of the playhouses come partially assembled while others need a complete setup. It varies with the type and the material used to make. Unless you are a DIY enthusiast, you should go for a playhouse that comes almost fully assembled.

• A number of kids – This will largely determine the size of the playhouse you will get as well as the necessary accessories. Some children would love to have their own unit for playing, and if you want to give them each what they want, this is why the number of kids you have will influence your buying decision.

• Durability – Largely, how long the playhouse will last depends on the material it is constructed with. Some plastic units are incredibly durable and will not easily succumb to wear and tear. How it can withstand weather elements also tells how long it will last. On the other hand, wooden ones are durable, waterproof, and strong enough.

Conclusion

If you have made it through this review and guide, it is apparent for you to tell that playhouses come in different sizes, materials, dimensions, and shapes.

They aren’t short of configurations and amazing features. As such, everyone will get exactly what they are looking for, but the question is, what’s the best kids playhouse for you?

It all narrows down to the above considerations. The space you have, how much you are willing to spend, the number of kids you have, and its durability among others will help you decide.

Always keep in mind that children are small, fragile, and their systems are weaker than your own. Keep this in mind when you get a wooden playhouse as it attracts wasps and other insects.

Only a few stings can cause so much harm than it would for a grownup. Keep safety a priority. I will advise you to keep the unit away from direct sunlight as some can get too hot in the summer and it may harm the kids.

Never allow them to crawl on the playhouse if their play is too intense. That said, the above-reviewed products have everything you need for your toddlers to have fun and exercise their mental imaginations.

Don't let them be among the 10 percent who spend time indoors. It will help them develop, coordinate with others, and most importantly, have fun. 

I hope that one of them will satisfy everything you are looking for, and if it doesn’t, the guide will give you the necessary insight you need to make an informed choice on the exact type of playhouse that your little ones will enjoy.

Angelica Murdock
 

I'm a mother of two and loves being a parent. I run WelcomeParenthood blog to make parenting easier. Keeping this motto in mind, my aim to publish all sorts of tips, tricks, and guideline related to parenting. I provide a hands-on review of various baby gears to add a new dimension to your parenting experience.

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