Backyard Discovery Blog

Fun Times in Your Wood Playhouse

We took our young son, Liam, to his friend Emma’s today. While she does not have a swing set, like Liam, she does have a wood playhouse. What a magical afternoon the kids had!

As far as Emma is concerned, her wood playhouse is her own personal space - her “special” area that she can think of as her own territory. Indeed, as the name suggests, it is a place where she can play house. Mommy and daddy have a house - Emma has her house too, that just happens to be out in her parents’ back garden.

It is indeed the kids’ home away from home. Emma can “entertain guests” at her “home” just like mommy and daddy entertain guests in their home. Liam loved every minute of it, as the visitor, too. In fact, it is quite funny to see the kids unconsciously mimicking us - is that truly what we are like when we entertain our visitors?

In many ways, the playhouse gives the kids a little getaway, where they can feel comfortable, with some element of control, yet where you fully know where they are and that they are safe. In Emma’s case, she has the Summer Cottage Wood Playhouse, which does indeed remind you of a quaint little home away from home. It is situated outside Emma's parents’ kitchen window so that the kids are never too far away.

Emma certainly has it looking the part. She had colorful flowers in the flower pot holders and made a point of watering them while we were there. She keeps the inside surprisingly clean. I think it was the first time I’ve ever seen Liam cleaning up after himself, rather than making a mess!

The kids were having fun times all afternoon. It gave a huge opportunity for the kids to let their imaginations flow, coming up with all sorts of amazing games and even their variety of role-playing. Emma may be young, but she enjoys playing Mom, even (pretend) making a meal for Liam, and he (pretend) did the dishes.

One of the nice things about the playhouse is that there are a serving station and a bench where the kids can have a rest and have a (real) refreshment break - not that we were able to convince Liam to do the (real) dishes!

We found that with the wood playhouse acting as a home away from home the kids were able to amuse themselves, which very much took the pressure off us. We were able to relax somewhat as the kids played their games. Imagination is a truly vital part of a child’s learning development, and it was great to see the kids in action.

In fact, it had me remembering back a generation to when I was a young boy and having fun times in my own wood playhouse … all right in my case it was more of a shack, but I still have many happy memories. My sister, cousins and I thought of it more like our personal clubhouse, where we could keep any invaders at bay - usually neighboring kids and their pet dogs, to be honest. We would be pirates, astronauts, gardeners, and cooks (yes, I still remember making mud pies). The girls would play with their dolls, the boys with their action figures and models (things were less gender-neutral back in those days). We may have gained inspiration for play from television - and I have tried teaching (brainwashing) Luka in recent times about the joys of Pokemon with some limited success  - but we certainly had no need to be sitting in front of the television all of the time. It was far more fun to be outside in and around our playhouse.

Returning my mind to modern times, I look into the garden and see that the kids (some of the neighbourhood kids have now joined Liam and Emma) have started to play some form of treasure hunt / quest centered around the playhouse. Judging by the sound of things, there must be pirates and treasure involved. I had better keep an eye out for the evil Captain Hook!

While our particular swing set does include a fort, and Liam and his friends do make good use of it, I am beginning to ponder. Should I also incorporate a wood playhouse into our backyard? We do have space. Maybe that can be my next project.

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