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7 Dream Playhouses Any Kid Would Love

Family Handyman readers know a thing or two about building fun hangouts for their kids and grandkids! Check out some of the projects they've shared with us. (Plus get free plans for a classic playhouse.)

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Exterior of large playhouse

Playhouse That Grows with Kids

Reader Dave Mensch built this playhouse for his daughters with the thought that they could use it for studying and for sleepovers with friends as they got older. Now that they’re grown, Dave’s hoping his future grandchildren can enjoy the playhouse, too!

Most playhouses stand empty after the kids get older. But this one won’t. Dave Mensch made it large enough for big kids (or even adults) and finished the interior like a house. Complete with insulation and electricity, it will evolve from a playhouse into a place for sleepovers or a quiet homework spot as his girls grow up.

“Our daughters can use it as they get older—and hopefully grandchildren will use it someday too.” — Dave Mensch

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The story behind the photo goes like this: Many years ago, my son and I built a brick barbecue. Over time, the bricks along the upper portion of the structure, and especially in the fire pit area, disintegrated. In the process of knocking down the barbecue, I realized that I had eight steel 1/2-in.-dia. bars that held a screen and the briquettes that were still in good shape. I had an idea.

I thought I could build a wooden structure on top of the good brick foundation and asked my 7-year-old grandson, “What do you want me to build for you, a playhouse or a pretend jail?” His response lies in the photo. — Frank Smola

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Five dollar log cabin playhouse

Log Cabin

Champion “dumpster diver” Ted Shumaker spent just $4.86 building this playhouse for his granddaughter. The logs, tossed out by a local home center, were too warped and twisted to sell. But not too warped for Ted to use. All the other materials-plywood, shingles, even the roofing nails-came out of trash bins at a building site. The only thing Ted bought was a box of screws, which he used to screw the logs to a 2×4 framework from inside the cabin.

“One man’s junk is another man’s gift from the Great Provider.” — Ted Shumaker

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log siding playhousePhoto: Courtesy of Sam Wiza

Homegrown Playhouse

Sam Wiza’s lumberyard is a stretch of woods on his own property. To build this playhouse for his grandkids, he felled trees and had them milled into lumber, including log siding for the exterior and tongue-and-groove boards for the interior. It worked out so well that Sam bought a portable sawmill for himself. Next up: new cedar siding for his home.

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Tree house and deck

Envious Tree House

This tree house created by reader Tom Beerley features a deck addition fit for a small home! Find out how he built it here.
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reader tree house

Pirate Ship Tree House

This pirate ship-inspired tree house must be the talk of reader Douglas Goble’s neighborhood! It’s amazingly executed—from the pretend cannon to the sail to the helm that spins. It provides his kids with hours of outdoor fun.
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Classic Playhouse Project Plans

I designed this playhouse so it can be built as quickly as possible. Two beginners could put it together in a couple of weekends, including the painting, and an experienced do-it-yourselfer could build it alone in about the same time. It’s a no-worry type of project, too, with few chances to screw up, and without much need for precision—a perfect project to get the kids to help on! Get the full plans to build it yourself here.