Children often need their own space to grow and develop; of course, they need parents or guardians to help nurture them along the way, but all children enjoy some semblance of independence. Why not secure that by building them their very own treehouse! Full of wonders and excitement, a house in the trees fuels a child’s imagination and fosters interpersonal relationships.
The fun is all in the fantasy: you can make your treehouse be your imagination hub. Or you could use it as a place to escape home life and pressures from the outside. Whatever your reason for building a treehouse, now comes the time to choose what to include in the structure. Here is a list of some nifty ideas that could elevate your child’s treehouse to the next level.
The Classic Swing
Who doesn’t love having a swing? It seems to be one of the pieces of equipment at the playground that is always full. So why not add one to a treehouse? You have different styles to choose from, from the all too familiar park-style swing to a more dramatic tire swing. Whatever the final decision may be, be sure that your child will find endless hours of entertainment in the play equipment.
While this may seem a little more in-depth than the previous example, a deck could still raise the level and fun of your treehouse. Building a deck helps with the imagination play: suddenly, the children are transported to a pirate ship or the top of a mountain. This feature may also lure mom and dad up into the heights: adding a deck could provide space to relax and unwind. While it may seem daunting, a deck is not all too difficult to assemble: buy the material, establish a platform, and go from there!
While this add on may not be for every parent or every yard, it is an option to look into. While the zip line can be for everyone in the family, make sure to keep safety in mind when it comes to the younger children: they should always wear a helmet when taking a trip down the zip line. It is also a good idea to either provide a harness or a seat and handle for the children to latch onto or into for the duration of the ride. It might be a good idea to consult a zip line specialist before making any decisions on which materials to buy and how to construct the course.
Want to make your treehouse more comfortable? Why not spruce it up with a few fluffed cushions. Better yet, why not add some simple furniture that children would enjoy using, such as a small table and chairs. It may be worth it to invest in furniture that will stand up to the elements: while some trees may cover the furniture overhead, there is no way to keep everything safe from the weather. Better to be safe than sorry!
There is no better way to fuel the imagination of children than by creating a space for them to be creative. This can be done with a treehouse just as it is done with a nursery or playroom. How is this achieved? By adding elements to the structure that will bring out the child’s imagination, such as a telescope or a crow’s nest for a pirate-themed ship. You might also try hanging some ivy to create a jungle environment. Or maybe try some sand and a camel to travel the high desert. It only takes a few simple props to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.
If you plan on having a few platforms for your child’s treehouse, it may not be a bad idea to consider adding a bridge to the mix. A rope bridge can add enjoyment to playtime but be warned: installing one incorrectly can be dangerous, and the rope bridge, in particular, should not be played on windy days because they sway quite readily. You do have more options to choose from: if a rope bridge sounds too risky for you, you may want to try solid bridging or a Burma bridge.
Spruce the treehouse atmosphere up by hanging some lights! Stringed lights work the best for creating a magical atmosphere for the kiddos. If you would like to put in a little more work for more reliable light, there is the option of adding actual light fixtures into the structure. Do the kids play up in the trees once the sun sets? Installing a few low voltage outdoor light fixtures is an inexpensive option to add some safety to the fun. Just be sure to turn the lights off when no one is home!
Want to create a fun and challenging way for the kids to enter their magical haven? Deviate from the norm of a ladder and try going for a tree climbing system. Plus, if you love being Earth-friendly, this option is much more eco-friendly compared to a conventional ladder. How is this accomplished? No permanent installation or nails are required, which ensures the health of the tree. There are tree climbing systems that are interchangeable, which only enhances the fun! This means that the pattern and direction of the climbing route can be changed on a whim.
Want the option of adding natural light to your house in the trees? Consider this: a retractable roof. Understand that the cover will be made to fit the treehouse exactly, and so it cannot be removed once it is installed and stable. This enhancement will also help to keep your tree house safe from the elements: close the roof during the winter months to keep the weather out and the warmth in and reopen in the warmer months. The retractable roof would most likely be made out of the canvas, as they have been used in the past and seem to hold up well.
When the sun goes down and the kids whine about having to come inside, it might be worth it to invest in a treehouse inspired bed! The perfect setup would be a bunk bed, equipped with a ladder for easy access to the top bunk. It can even be outfitted with a slide! What a fun way to get up and going in the morning! Curtains may also be installed to give the kiddos a sense of privacy; this makes it easier to pretend they are still in the tree.
If you have a pool, this treehouse addition is perfect for you! If you do not have a pool, it is quite possible to add a slide that does not end in a splash! It depends on how practical you want this feature to be: if the slide is connected to a pool, then it could only be used in the warmer months. But if you added a regular slide, it could be used year-round. While it is not the most accessible feature to install, it will add countless hours of entertainment for the children. Even if you don’t have a pool, you could always douse the slide with a hose to make your water slide!
Another great feature to add countless hours of fun to the treehouse. A cargo net is a fun alternative to a ladder to gain access to the higher platforms up in the tree. Cargo nets come in all shapes and sizes, so you can easily customize it to the skill of the kids using the treehouse. You also do not have to make it a simple path to follow: cargo nets can be set up in dizzying patterns to make access to the treehouse challenging and fun.
Not only can you play around with the features of the playhouse, but you can also decide how you want to design the actual house. One option is to layout the treehouse like a gazebo. This may be the better option if you have older kids who still want a place to escape but aren’t necessarily keen on using their imagination. A treehouse in this style might also be a beautiful place for a romantic evening for the parents: being high up in the trees with an uninhibited view of the stars; sounds like the perfect date night!
Want to bring your treehouse to the next level? Simply add a level! If you have multiple children or your children have many friends who enjoy coming over, this may be the perfect idea for you. You could make a two or three-story treehouse equipped with an observation tower so the children’s imagination can run rampant. Multiple stories for multiple kids also allows them to have their own space for creating memories. Connect the levels with ladders, cargo nets, or a bridge to help everything flow together.
Using a pulley system is quite common to treehouses. This system is generally used to bring fun into the playhouse. Say you forgot your favorite toy in the house: call Mom on over and have her put your playthings in the bucket and hoist it up to continue the fun. This is a money-conscious addition that is usually hassle-free to install. There is also a practical sense to the rope and bucket system: it allows the children to keep their hands free while climbing their way into the trees. If you are worried about objects falling out of the bucket, it is possible to install a counterweight system.
If the gazebo design is not your style, a fairy tale theme may just hit the spot. This style may be more appropriate for younger children, helping them to expand their imagination. Model your treehouse after a woodland cottage to reinvent Hansel and Gretel. Or you could try building your castle, complete with a tower and a spiral staircase. String up some lights to create a magical atmosphere. Your imagination defines the limit: let yourself be inspired before beginning any work.
More ways to navigate the treehouse, a fire pole is a simple way to enhance the current structure. Allow imaginations to run rampant as the children imagine themselves as firefighters when exiting the tree. Watch as your kids try to race each other down the pole and run back into the house for another go. Countless hours of fun can be had by merely adding a fire pole to your treehouse set up! With this quick escape available, you should never again wonder why the kids are late for the dinner bell.
A rock climbing wall can be the splash of adventure your treehouse is lacking. Though it may not be the most comfortable feature to navigate, it can be the most rewarding once you reach the top. The sky’s the limit with this project: you can make your rock wall out of virtually any material, but plywood is the best to use for smaller projects. To keep the wood from rotting, make sure you coat it with paint, stain, or polyurethane. Create a simple or challenging climb based on how far apart you place the hand-holds. This can be changed out at any time as the child grows, and the course becomes less challenging.
What can be better than one treehouse? Two connected! You can choose any style of bridge to combine the two, but we recommend a suspension bridge. Outfit both tree homes with some of the ideas listed above to create endless combinations of houses. Connect two castle towers to assemble a fort for your kids to play through. Give your two kids their own separate space for creating and imagining. Or, if you feel like joining in the fun, make the second treehouse for yourself!
Want to be unique? Try using recycled materials in the construction of your treehouse. Reclaimed wood is just one of the materials you could use to create your fantasy house. Usually, some can be found around the property, so no need to look far! Pick mismatched pieces to create a mosaic of wood of all different shapes and sizes. Another option open to you is using newspaper and glass bottles as bricks, an unusual yet unique way to repurpose materials for better uses. This is an excellent opportunity to teach children about recycling and how important it is in the preservation of Earth’s resources.
There are so many ways an elevator can be constructed; the imagination is the limit. One of the most ingenious ideas comes in the form of using a bicycle as a way to reach the top of the trees. Another design that may be more practical for younger children is using a stable platform and a pulley system. The system works by the child using their leverage to pull themselves up or down; this may help to develop strength and coordination. Remember to anchor down the platform to provide extra stability.
Fairy tale houses, not your forte? Maybe you have a little girl who wants to pretend she is a pretty princess in a castle tower? Or a son that wants to command an army from behind his castle walls? Then why not model your treehouse after a caste? Add some ambient lighting to create that other-worldly feel; try putting up a ladder your princess can lead her prince up for her rescue. Add windows your son can look through to assess the threat from the army below. Maybe even add a drawbridge if that is in the budget.
Want more thrill out of your treehouse? Look no further! A free fall device safely allows children (and adults) the ability to jump from the treehouse and experience a free fall without leaving the comfort of the backyard. Some of the most sophisticated devices allow users to jump from heights of up to 27 feet! This is the closest to actual flying your children can get while being safe at home. Just like with the zip line mentioned earlier, most free fall devices use eddy current technology so that children and adults of all shapes and sizes can safely experience the ride.
What a fun addition to a treehouse! Want to hide from intruders? Plan your sneaky escape from mom and dad? Try installing a trap door! Other than providing endless hours of fun, a trap door can help maximize the use of floor space and is quite easy to install. Some tips and tricks for construction: it may be a good idea to employ a spring hinge or a counterweight system to help the trap door function at its best. Add a rope ladder below the trap door to make escaping from heights even easier!
Treehouses are a way to delve into the deepest recesses of the mind, to explore the imagination, and to rekindle childishness. Whether for you or the kids, it would be nice to have a view to look at to help foster the creativity. Before the construction of the house should begin, make sure you pick a magical spot: a spot where an unhindered view stretches as far as the eye can see. Maybe try facing the treehouse towards the west so that every night, the family can come together and watch the sunset. A view can help inspire children in their play for days to come: what’s not to like about it?
Want to give some control over to your kids as to who can enter the playing realm in the trees? Then consider giving them a drawbridge! Although this feature is not for every tree house, it can take your construction to the next level: drawbridges work best on a steep hill or if the treehouse has an adjacent structure to connect to. Maybe even consider adding a moat to the mix to make the castle look all that more authentic.
Also known as tight ropes, this is another fun activity that can be added to an existing treehouse to make the experience even better. If you are worried about safety, this may be an addition for you: since the ropes can be attached to trees closer to the ground, a fall off the tightrope can be short and sweet, causing relatively no damage to the child. It is also a cost-efficient method of providing countless hours of entertainment for the little ones. Adults can even enjoy it: adjust the height of the rope to make it more challenging and a little more frightening if you happen to fall off.
Don’t have any trees to put an actual treehouse in? Consider placing a house on stilts. Remember to secure a view before deciding where to place the treehouse. Maybe a wooden hut style house would look quaint up on stilts. Make a homey interior by adding furniture, cushions, and possibly some stained glass windows. If heights are not your thing, but you have always craved an escape, this may be the best option for you. Also, if you have smaller children, this may be an in-between step before graduating to a traditional treehouse.
If a pirate theme is imminent, consider adding a crow’s nest to the apex of the structure. Think of a crow’s nest as an extension of your treehouse: it is practically like adding a second story. This feature requires a lot of thought and attention to detail, just like when building the original house in the trees. This could be the perfect spot to start the zip line as the crow’s nest would be higher than the unique treehouse. Think about making the crow’s nest authentic by adding telescopes, pirate wheels, bells, a rope ladder, and a trap door.
An easy and inexpensive addition to the treehouse, bells can transport children to a myriad of different worlds. The signal could be a warning bell on a pirate ship, there to inform sailors of unwelcome company. It could even be a fireman’s bell, clanging continuously to alert someone to fire. It might also be used just to grab the attention of an adult since it is so much easier to ring a bell than to run inside. Give your daughter a fairy tale wedding in a castle tower, ringing the bell to signal true love has been found.
This is another option for those parents who are a little nervous about letting their children play up high in the trees. This house is raised off the ground, just like the house on stilts discussed earlier. The asking price for a home like this is around $2300 and is entirely customizable. Add features such as flower boxes, curtains, and cushions, a slide, sandbox, skylight, and ladder. The Little Squirt House is perfect for children of all ages, as long as they have a working imagination! This is also a good alternative if you lack any sturdy trees in the yard.
Another playground classic, monkey bars, can be a fun way for kids to exit the playhouse or travel from platform to platform. One of everyone’s favorite obstacle courses, everyone can enjoy this simple feature. Did you know that monkey bars have been providing entertainment for children everywhere for 100 years? Someone is on to something here. Not only will everyone enjoy themselves, but they will also be working on their cardiovascular health and upper body strength, in addition to coordination and balance. Do not just limit yourself to monkey bars: you may also choose from monkey rings, trapezes, and shimmy bars.
A wheel is such an easy addition that can add countless hours of imagination fueled the fun. If you already have a crow’s nest in the works, this would be the perfect add on to complete the pirate ship look. Kids can pretend they are driving a bus, racing a car, flying an airplane, or directing a boat through the high seas.
If complicated houses are not your deal and carpentry is not your skill, constructing a simple treehouse might be in your future. What does a simple treehouse look like? It is just a platform built up in the trees; no other structures or features to be found. Of course, you will need a way to reach the platform, such as stairs or a ladder. While this may not be the option the kids are looking for, it is a great way to get yourself outdoors. Set up some furniture and lights and enjoy your night star gazing.
Want to bring your treehouse up to the next level? Try installing a hot tub or jacuzzi to add layers of fun to the house high in the sky. Add a romantic element for you and your partner. This may not be the best option if the treehouse is being used regularly by little ones: it is quite possible they could accidentally turn on the hot tub and fall in, potentially harming or drowning themselves. Build windows on all sides of the container to get a great view with a great soak.
Complete the pirate look of the treehouse by adding a pirate flag to the top of the crow’s nest! Your child can act out the life of a captain of a pirate ship for days to come, spending extended periods up in the crow’s nest. You may want to think about adding a few more pirate touches, such as painting a pirate map next to the wheel or possibly bringing a treasure chest on deck to make playing that more authentic.
Chalkboards can add a level of secrecy to the treehouse: it allows you to leave secret messages for your friends or family. Let your friends know when you will be back from dinner or simply have fun drawing endless pictures on the erasable surface. Kids could even pretend they are back in the classroom, giving each other school lessons for the fun of it. Play tic-tac-toe or hang-man, old school games that used to provide us with countless hours of entertainment. Just be careful where you place the chalkboard as it could get damaged if exposed to the elements.
Completing the pirate apparel is the telescope, which kids can use to watch the whole neighborhood pass them by from the height of their tower. Telescopes are not the only option here: parents have the choice between binoculars and a periscope as well. It really just depends on the overall atmosphere of the treehouse: binoculars could be used for any situation while a periscope brings to mind a submarine atmosphere. Choosing a magnifying device all depends on how mobile you want your child to be: binoculars are movable while a periscope and telescope would be fixed in place.
While this feature may not be for the kids’ sake, it is an excellent way to spruce up the treehouse. Bring a pop of color and a splash of design by adding flower boxes under windows in the treehouse. That way, they are out of the way of children’s play. However, be cautious because flowers will attract bees. Try to research which ones are less prone to these little stingers.
Create natural melodies by hanging a pair of wind chimes up in the trees. You have many options here, including buying a set of pre-made wind chimes or making your own by utilizing old glass bottles of varying shapes and sizes. If you live in an especially windy area, it may be best to buy a wind chime, so you don’t risk creating a mess with broken bottles.