A Little Tikes playhouse for kids is a timeless children’s toy and activity. Every little kid should have one. There are many different playhouses available today, especially by Little Tikes. It is a well-known fact that playhouses are great for the development of young children as it allows them to interact with their environment in a different way. When young children have a playhouse to play in, they often mimic what happens in real life such as cleaning the house, cooking, building things such as furniture, planting things outside the home, and more. This is a great place for kids to use their eager imaginations to create their own little world which is highly important for cognitive development.
As we have had five children of our own, we know what playhouses are good and which aren’t. Little Tikes is our favorite brand by far as we have not purchased a product from them that we have been unhappy with. Little Tikes products are great for imaginative minds, keep our kids busy for hours on end (we can’t seem to get them out into the real house sometimes!) and not to mention they are always safe and easy to put together. Below are our recommendations of the best playhouses.
|Step2 Welcome Home Playhouse||(5 / 5)||$$$|
|Little Tikes Endless Adventures Tikes Town||(4.5 / 5)||$$|
|Little Tikes Picnic N Playhouse||(4.5 / 5)||$$|
|Little Tikes Race 'n Re-Fuel Pit Stop Playhouse||(4.3 / 5)|| |
|Little Tikes Picnic on the Patio Playhouse||(4 / 5)||$$|
|Little Tikes Secret Garden Playhouse||(4 / 5)||$|
|Little Tikes Lalaloopsy Sew Cute Playhouse||(4 / 5)||$|
Our Favorite Features
There are many playhouses on the market (Little Tikes and some other brands such as Step2) and many brands to choose from, but there some specific features that are typical that our kids really enjoy.
Slides & Climbing Walls
The first feature of a playhouse by Little Tikes our kids really like is things they can climb on. We have a couple of little climbers in the family so they really love the ones with a rock climbing wall. Our kids have become great climbers over the years so they rarely hurt themselves as their coordination is great and they are quite strong. They also love slides. It doesn’t matter how big the slide is, they just love the idea and will go down the slide again and again. Our girls take their dolls down the slides and our boys like to drive their toy cars on them. Not only do they go down the slide, but they also enjoy breaking the rules and climbing up the slide! We have had many a playhouse but their favorites always have something to climb on and something to slide down. Little Tikes has a great playhouse just for this purpose (see the picture on the left).
Different Walls & Quantity of Features
While some brands simply make playhouses, Little Tikes creates something that is so much more than a playhouse; it’s a place to make memories. Don’t let those precious moments slip by. Our kids love Little Tikes because they frequently make each wall unique. This playhouse has four different walls/themes in the playhouse so they literally never get bored. When they get tired of playing with the chalkboard, they then switch to driving their cars around, using the gas pump and going by the drive through window which they use for role playing opportunities such as ordering food. They also like that this one has a basketball hoop. Can you believe it? One playhouse has a basketball hoop, a drive through window, a gas pump, a chalkboard, an inside, an outside, a phone, an ATM machine, doors, windows, and more.
As I mentioned in the intro article, there are many benefits of playhouses for children. We are conservative in the number of toys we buy for our children as toy-buying can get excessive not to mention that our kids get bored of toys quickly. However, they never get bored of their playhouses even though it’s where they spend most of their time. We have seen a number of benefits though from them playing in their playhouses.
Early childhood (especially ages birth to 6 years old) is a huge time for growth and we want our kids to learn as much as possible in these stages of their lives. Not only do they have a lot of physical growth (we are so grateful for hand-me-downs!) but they have a lot of mental growth as well. Cognitive development includes language processing, intelligence, reasoning, memory, problem-solving, remembering, decision making and more. While this is not something we can sit down and teach our kids, they often develop through interacting with their environment so we like to give them all the opportunities we can to develop their skills.
We all know that kids like to model our behavior, which is one reason we shouldn’t use bad language around our kids because if you’ve ever slipped up, you know that little Johnny heard you and will repeat what he heard! However, there are some good behaviors we want out kids to learn how to model so they can do themselves one day. Some things are just activities we need to do around the house such as cooking, cleaning, building, repairing, running errands, doing chores, teaching each other, and even role playing such as playing mommy, daddy, teacher, police officer, and more. Our children take on a number of roles in any given day and we see them learning valuable skills such as how to take care of a family. While our kids aren’t always eager to help around the house, they are eager to do anything in THEIR house, even sweep the floor!
Use of Imagination
It is important that kids are encouraged to use their imagination as much as possible in the early stages of their lives. We all had great imaginations when we were kids and then as we get older our imagination fades and weakens, so we want to encourage our kids to use it as long as they can. When we buy our kids a playhouse, it’s a place where dreams come true and where they can be anyone they want to. Often our playhouses are turned into forts, castles, tents, school houses, you name it! They also have brought in a number of pops into their playhouses and have made a lot of interesting dishes with their play food! We love to see the many ways they can use their imagination to grow, learn and interact with the environment around them.
Best Places to Put Your Playhouse
So now that you have decided to buy one, where should you put it? The places to put your playhouse are endless. Our playhouses have been in a number of different locations that we would like to share.
An obvious place to put it is outside for the kids. All little kids need plenty of fresh air and sun! When the weather isn’t too hot, we put ours in the sun. Kids need plenty of vitamin D. Sometimes we put it in the grass if it’s relatively dry and sometimes on the cement. We put it within eyesight of the kitchen where I spend a lot of time so I can make sure that they are staying safe. If it’s really hot, I’ll move it to a shady spot under the tree so they don’t burn. Sometimes kids play too hard and aren’t aware of they are getting too much sun.
Sometimes, situations or weather means it should go indoors. If you live in an apartment, outside may not be an option as there is no good supervised place to put it. We have had playhouses in our kids rooms. This is always a good place as we can close the door and don’t see little kid messes! However, they have made their way out into the family room or living room so they can play and be close to family rather than stuck in their rooms. Be careful, if you put a playhouse in the living room your kids may want to turn the entire living room into a fort! We let our kids do this on occasion… usually a rainy day activity when they are stuck inside and are dying to do something exciting! We have built some pretty cool forts together.
Playhouses often last longer when they are used indoors, but they are often enjoyed to their fullest outside. When they are outside, they often fade faster, stickers are lost faster due to weather, and you get the occasional spider hiding in the corner which our kids never enjoy, but outside they can be much more loud and imaginative.
Why You Should Buy a New Playhouse Instead of Used
Some people are hesitant to buy playhouses because the really fun ones can cost a few hundred dollars. I have looked on Craigslist before but honestly, Little Tikes creates playhouses of such high quality that people rarely get rid of them and if they do, they usually have a lot of sun damage, sticker damage, are really dirty, etc. We usually just splurge and buy new ones because our kids get so much use out of them that when we think about what we spend monthly, it’s pennies for the use they get out of it! If we buy our kids a quality house, we often don’t need to spend money on other toys or forms of entertainment as this keeps them happy, outside exercising for hours, gives them plenty of fresh air, and endless uses for their imagination.
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