The minds of young children are free and open to endless possibilities. You only have to look at how they play to witness their creativity and wonderful ability to escape from reality to a world where anything is possible.
If your children or grandchildren have a playhouse to play and have fun with their friends, so much the better. In the old days, a playhouse was the cramped, leaky, old garden shed. Playhouses today come in many forms – rustic timber forts for the boys and cute Victorian playhouses with pink shutters and white picket fences for the girls.
But whatever type of playhouse you have chosen for your little ones, here are 4 great ways to help you personalise them so that they provide your children with a lifetime of happy memories.
- Define and Design
By its very name, a playhouse is a place for children to play. It’s where they spend time having fun in a safe environment. It can also be a place where their psychological development and characters can be further enhanced.
But remember, the playhouse should match up to the kind of place your child imagines in his or her head. Your son, for instance, may want to fight battles and take over the world, so why not paint the outside a military camouflage pattern and replace the traditional sloped roof with a second storey lookout tower. Or you could even go with the look and feel of a tropical jungle warfare hut. And if your daughter fancies herself as a princess, then why not let her playhouse resemble a castle right out of a Grimm Brothers fairy tale.
There are also some themes your children might like – a log cabin or a grand country home, and you could fit monkey bars or swings to the sides, or even have a slide fitted if there’s a ladder to the roof. The options are endless.
- Add Some Colour
A splash of colour can brighten up any playhouse. Transform a bland shed-type building into a military fort or a dream castle, a bright little garden house or fairy hideaway and see your children’s imagination blossom alongside.
Remember to let your children choose the colours they see inside their heads and also let them help with the painting and the cleaning up!
- Give It A Name
Now that you’ve brought the playhouse to life with design, colour and embellishments, your son or daughter are bound to have some ideas for a name. If you let them choose it, this will give them a sense of ownership and will also foster a sense of responsibility. If they name the playhouse like they would a brother or sister, or a pet, they’ll feel more responsible and will be more likely take better care of it.
Once the name has been decided on, it’s a good idea to paint it on the door or have it carved or painted on a piece of wood and hung up above the door. Whether the playhouse is christened ‘Olivia’s Castle’, ‘Fort Freddy’ or ‘The Magic Kingdom’, a name on the door helps to remind your child that he or she needs to take care of the house and be responsible for it.
- Fit Out The Interior
OK, so the theme of the playhouse is sorted and the outside’s been painted. Now it’s time to step through the door and do a little interior decorating. The playhouse will almost certainly have been determined by your child’s age. If he or she is between 2 and 5 years of age, then to them the playhouse will feel just like an actual house. So why not add some soft furnishings, playmats and curtains, as these will encourage natural roleplay and help them with their games.
If you have a girl, then pay attention to the kitchen area, as young girls tend to play the ‘mother’ role by cooking and taking tea with their dolls. The inside of a boy’s playhouse could look like a workshop with shelves and tools, or an armoury filled with toy guns and camouflage kit. You could also throw a few playmats on the floor and equip the interior with other accessories like flags, hats and costumes.
However, be careful, as your children may not like all your ideas. Your daughter may want the interior of her playhouse to look like a ballroom or a secret treasure cave. Indeed she may want to have a workshop just like her brother. Listen to your children’s ideas and help them put together the kind of playhouse they’ll really enjoy and look after.
This article was written by Dakota Murphey.