If you have clicked onto this article then you have probably decided that a plastic playhouse is right for you and your garden – instead of using other materials. Plastic playhouses are practical, relatively cost effective and low maintenance – a perfect choice for a family garden.
Experts believe that children should spend at least three hours outside every day and should be getting around an hour of exercise a day! Research also suggests that playhouses can help support children’s social skills, develop their imagination and will encourage exercise and outdoor play! Plus, the more a child plays outside – the more tired they’re going to be when it comes to bedtime!
Whether buying your first plastic playhouse, or looking to upgrade, read on for all the information you need to know before making your purchase.
Things To Consider
Large or small? Regular or occasional use? Adventure den or playing “house”? There are many things that you need to consider before purchasing a plastic playhouse that is going to take up residence in your garden!
- Size (of both your garden and the playhouse).
- Maintenance – although plastic playhouses are probably the least high maintenance, there are things that we need to do to keep them looking their best!
- Assembly – will you need any tools? Someone to help you? How long will it take?
- How old are the children that the playhouse is going to be for? Different playhouses will be suitable for different ages so it is important to check this before purchasing.
- Budget – playhouses vary in price massively from around £70 to in excess of £800! People can often assume that the more you spend, the better the product that you get, however this can be far from the truth! It may not be necessary to spend such a large amount of money to find the right plastic playhouse for you and your family.
- Safety Features – All plastic playhouses will have been created with children in mind, so should be safe for children to play in. However, different models will have different things to consider. Things that could be safe for a 7/8 year old child may not be safe for a 3/4 year old child.
Keep reading for all you need to know about these points and more!
Making the Right Purchase
Size and Shape!
There’s no doubt that the bigger the plastic playhouse, the more space there will be for children to play inside and the more options they will have for how they use their playhouse. However, if the playhouse is too big for your garden then it will leave little room for any other activities – let alone space for you to enjoy the garden as well.
When looking at the measurements of different playhouses available to you, mark these out in the place in the garden that you are thinking of putting the playhouse. That way you will be able to see if it is going to impact on your use of the garden once it is built.
It is also important to consider the shape of your playhouse, some come with two-storeys or a loft area – fantastic for older children but causing a safety issue for younger children. Equally the shape of the room can make a difference for the age of children that the plastic playhouse is likely to be suitable for. Flat roofs will take up less space in your garden but an apex roof will leave more height for older children – and possibly for you!
TOP TIP: Depending on your garden size, it is always better if you can leave some space (approx 3ft) around the plastic playhouse. This allows for you to “add on” to the playhouse if you so wish, or to “blend” your playhouse into the garden by placing plants etc around the playhouse.
All playhouses will be different in their assembly, however most come in large pieces that require slotting/securing together. All models will come with instructions on how to build, and most will give details of how long assembly will take and what you will need so that you can consider if this is going to be suitable for you before getting the flatpack home.
Make sure to think about what tools you have available to you, is there anyone that can help you if the build requires two people, and also if the company offer an installation service – as it may be that this is a relatively cheap option that could save you a considerable amount of time!
TOP TIP: Always assemble the plastic playhouse as close to where you are wanting to situate it after the build! This saves any loose parts coming undone during the move and adding to your workload. The parts are also going to be much easier to move separately than when they are all attached!
Maintaining plastic playhouses is much easier than maintaining other models. It is a good idea to regularly wipe down your playhouse to stop it being stained in the garden. You can also buy special paint for if your playhouse is starting to look rather worn – which will give it a completely new lease of life!
TOP TIP: Many plastic playhouses now come with the optional additional purchase of a playhouse cover. These are perfect for if your playhouse is going to be situated under trees where it is likely to get more dirty, or in direct sunlight where it could get discoloured from the sun. However, consider that every time your children are wanting to play in the playhouse, this will need removing, instead of them having the freedom to go in as they choose!
Budget and Age Suitability
As we mentioned briefly before – prices range from around £70 to £800 for plastic playhouses – although you can sometimes find models cheaper at certain times of year (towards the end of summer, for example). Consider what is important to you, and the children that are going to be using the playhouse!
Cheaper models tend to be a more simple design of “windows and door”, whereas more expensive models may offer plastic kitchens inside, outside benches and the option to extend! Although this all sounds very exciting – if your plastic playhouse is for a younger child then it is quite possible something with so many features is completely unnecessary!
If you have a number of children of varying ages that are going to be using the plastic playhouse then try to find a model with a more basic floor design that the younger children are going to be able to go in without you worrying about their safety, but that is big enough for the older children to enjoy as well.
TOP TIP: To save having to make additional purchases shortly after – always consider the age range that the manufacturer suggests each model is suitable for, and how this relates to your child. It may be that you are better getting a model that is suited for a slightly older child, as this will then last longer and still be relevant and exciting for your children after a couple of years.
As mentioned above – all models will have been created with children in mind – therefore you should have little reason to worry about the security of the playhouse themselves. However, it is important to consider things like windows, doors and cupboards that might come with the plastic playhouse and whether these are going to be suitable for the children that will be playing in the playhouse. Always make sure that the manufacturer complies with UK Safety Standards for outdoor toys.
TOP TIP: If you are unsure then most manufacturers have customer service lines who will discuss the different models with you and whether they are right for your child.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a plastic playhouse a better purchase than a wooden playhouse?
All playhouses have different benefits and negatives so it really depends on what is right for you and your home. The benefits of plastic playhouses is that they are considerably less maintenance than their wooden counterparts, and usually easier to break down and move if required – leaving more chance for actual playtime!
Do I need to build any foundations for my plastic playhouse?
No – but you do need to consider where you are going to put your plastic playhouse. Choose somewhere that the ground is not too damp underneath and that is level to ensure the playhouse will be secure and safe. It is always better if your plastic playhouse can be positioned on a hard surface, however plenty of playhouses live on grass perfectly well providing the ground has good drainage underneath. Consider moving your playhouse around the garden, if possible, to stop the grass being damaged beyond repair underneath.