DIY building a kids playhouse

I don't have any outdoor play equipment for my son at the moment. This is because I'm renting and, one, couldn't fit most of it in either of my two small courtyards, and secondly those things are ridiculously expensive! I'm talking min $1000 for a slide and two swings. I don't need two swings and they are all too big to fit regardless. So i jumped on Pinterest (of course) and started trying to find one. The best one I found was the one below but the reviews all said it was poorly made and frankly its also very expensive. 

So then I went searching on Youtube to see what other people have done. Well, I tell you what, most of those "simple" playhouses are built better than my own home! They have shingles for crying out loud. I'm sure they cost far more than even the simplest ones I was looking at and are about three times as large as i wanted. So i found a few inspiration images and headed to bunnings with very little idea of what i wanted to do. 

Simple right? All i wanted was a slide, a platform and something to climb up. If it had some kind of cubby that would be cool. I did find a super cool hobbit house but the more I thought about it the more i realised it would be really hard to move later on (See: rental). I also couldn't have anything that needed to be cemented in which alot of oven the metal cheapo ones needed. 

After standing in the isles of Bunnings for 2hrs (yes I got many concerned looks) I actually found this picture:

Cool right? Simple, box, ladder and i can chuck a slide off one side. I loved that its got actual branches as rails which besides looking cool are also free. It didn't look like it needs extra support in the form of concrete but i can always brace it against a fence anyway. Now my son is 6. I have no doubt that this would only last maybe a year or two before he out grows it both in size and reason to play with it. So i figured it is ok to be less than engineered as long as no one falls through the top floor. 

After perusing the isles for longer and debating over price vs timber thickness I came upon a plan and $200 later have most of the materials (this included a level, screws, a set square and a tape measure). I didn't end out getting the ply for the outside because i'm not sure what the finished size is and i would most likely have to get it delivered as it wont fit in my car (should be about $100). I also did not get the top rails yet, but it will be a work in progress. 

So roughly my plan is this. Four sturdy supports in each corner. One board along each of the bottom and tops and one down each side of the supports. Get that? Black are the supports. Blue are the main frame and orange is the added support to stop it sagging.

Cube tastic! I will do as the pic did and cut a round hole for inserting children. Then I think the top deck will be cheapo 2x4 at $2 each for the rails. Now before you talk about safety of the top deck and the whole thing falling over, my cube is only 1.2mx1.2m. He wont be able to stand up but should be able to sit comfortably, its more a hidey hole on which to attach other stuff. Might chuck a serving window in one side, could work well as a nerf war barracks, who knows. Will coat the whole thing in some sealant to protect from the weather. I shall keep you all updated on how this pans out, it may be a huge failure, and I will have wasted $300 but hey, it's a good woodworking project.


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