By Michelle Kulas
Childhood is a time filled with imagination, adventure, and exploration. A treehouse provides a child with a safe place to explore and spend time alone or with others. These special playhouses can be as simple as a box-shaped structure or as elaborate as a multi-level house with a theme and some fun extras, such as a zipline or a spiral slide.
The best tree to choose to support a treehouse is a hardwood tree with branches at least eight inches in diameter. If you choose a softwood tree, you’ll need thicker branches. Of course, you can also build your treehouse around the tree (rather than in the tree) if you don’t have one that is suitable. As with anything else you may build on your property, be sure to check with the local authorities to find out whether you need a permit to build or install your treehouse.
Here are some of our best cool treehouse ideas for kids or kids-at-heart!
- Log Cabin Treehouse
- Treehouse with Porch.
- Pirate Ship Treehouse.
- Treehouse with Slide.
- Castle Treehouse.
- Multilevel Treehouse.
- Jungle Treehouse.
- Treehouse with a Zipline.
- Observation Treehouse.
- And lots more!
Log Cabin Treehouse
Create the look of a log cabin with a gorgeous treehouse reminiscent of the “olden days.” You can go as far as cutting your own logs if you have access to a supply of fresh hardwood, or you can purchase a treehouse kit. Consider decorating the inside with rustic elements like quilts or wooden toys. You might even want to include a bed or a place for your child to hold a sleepover inside of a sturdy log treehouse.
Treehouse With Porch
Teach your child about the value of sitting on a front porch early when you give them their very own. Keep it rustic or make it a bit fancier with a scalloped handrail. Just remember safety first: Be sure the rail is tall enough to hold your child in and make sure the slats are close enough that your child will not be able to slip through or get their head stuck. Add a small rocking chair or a beanbag chair for fun seating options!
Pirate Ship Treehouse
Argh! A pirate ship treehouse will appeal to children from toddlerhood on up through their teens. You’ll want to include elements made of rope and wood for the most authenticity. A telescope makes for an extra-fun activity, day or night. And no pirate ship adventure would be complete without eye patches and maybe a stuffed parrot or two, so be creative!
Treehouse With Slide
A slide makes having to get out of the treehouse a bit sweeter. You can add a spiral slide like the one pictured here, or look for a straight slide that’s more reminiscent of the playgrounds of the late 20th century. There are also bumpy slides and other types of slides to choose from.
While a traditional backyard treehouse is in a tree, there’s no rule that says you can’t use one of the treehouse designs that are made for use on the ground, under the trees. These are great for young children or those who simply prefer to have their feet at ground level rather than high above.
Does your little prince or princess dream of overlooking their property from the turret of a castle? You can make that happen! Look for a treehouse kit that has royal features, or do it yourself by adding a tower to a homemade treehouse. Consider adding a flag and painting a drawbridge on the front. Perhaps a fire-breathing dragon painted on the roof will be the finishing touch?
Let young climbers enjoy the thrill of having their very own multi-level treehouse. This is going to be a bit more work than a simple rectangular treehouse, but it will be worth it to see not only your children but also your future grandchildren enjoying this fun playhouse high up in the sky.
If you have a property covered in trees or if you are fortunate enough to live near the woods, you can create a jungle-themed getaway for your little (or big) ones. They can pretend to be Tarzan and Jane as they enjoy the sights and sounds of their pretend Amazon. If you are feeling artistic, try painting monkeys, colorful birds, and sloths on the outside of the house.
If you don’t have trees in your yard, no worries: You can give your kids a perfectly good “treehouse” without the need for trees at all. As long as they can climb up and get a birds’ eye view of what’s going on in the rest of the yard, they’ll probably find that just fine. This one has a playground underneath, but you can make it simpler if you want.
Treehouse With Zipline
What child would not love to leave their treehouse via a thrilling (but safe) zipline? Run your line from the treehouse to a point that will allow your child to touch the ground with his or her feet before jumping off. Of course, you won’t want to do this if your treehouse is very high up, but as long as it’s a safe distance from the top of the line to the ground, let your little one experience flying through the air.
Reading Nook Treehouse
Treehouses give children a place to dream and read where they won’t be disturbed by the grownups in their lives. Set up a space where you can store some books and games to encourage quiet play. This would be an excellent place to spend a rainy afternoon while still enjoying nature and fresh air.
A treehouse doesn’t have to be an actual house at all. Instead, consider building an observation tower in a tree in your yard. This will be less expensive than a full project with all of the treehouse accessories. Your kids will still get the experience of running up and down the stairs and they’ll have a great view of the yard, the surrounding property, and the sky.
Keep things simple with a rustic treehouse. As long as it is sturdy and safe, the outside doesn’t have to look fancy. In fact, if your children are used to rustic or country decor inside your house, this type of simple treehouse might feel just like home to them.
Do you have a pool or swimming hole on your property? If so, what about setting up your treehouse in such a way that the kids can slide down right into the water? Building a treehouse waterslide is sure to draw all of the neighborhood children to your yard, and your kids will have a blast playing with their friends at their very own waterpark!
Fairy Door Treehouse
Here’s a unique treehouse idea: If you have a large hollow tree nearby, simply cut out a rough frame and add a fairy door. If you do not have this type of tree, no worries: Stringing up tulle around a tree and adding some twinkling lights will have just as magical an effect. Let your little ones’ imaginations run wild by adding garden gnomes, sprites, and other types of folklore.
Do you have a big family or do the neighborhood children congregate at your house? Lucky you! If you have the space, consider building more than one treehouse and connecting them with bridges and walkways. If they’re spaced just right and your children are old enough, you could even connect them with a rope swing!
Treehouse With Swing
When little legs are tired from climbing, they might like to relax by swinging on their own swingset. Underneath a treehouse is a great place for a swing or two. Children will be protected from light rain and they’ll be able to scramble back up as soon as they’re ready.
Is it stormy outside and playing in the treehouse is not possible? A Lego treehouse is the next best thing. You can purchase the treehouse kit directly from any store carrying Lego brand products, or buy the pieces in small groups and put it together yourself without directions. Building it is a project that your children will enjoy even before it’s ready to play with.
Treehouse With Hammock
Installing a hammock inside or underneath your child’s treehouse is a wonderful way to encourage him or her to enjoy relaxation during or after playtime. Whether used for napping, reading, or daydreaming, a hammock is a wonderful place for little ones to enjoy the quiet of nature.
If you don’t have space outdoors for a treehouse, try building something indoors. You can make it as elaborate as you wish; build a small treehouse in a closet, or transform an entire sunroom or guest room into a huge indoor treehouse for your child and all of his or her friends. Adding a loft or a climbing wall will add to the appeal and authenticity.
As you can see, there are many, many ideas for creating the treehouse of your child’s dreams! You can make your own simple DIY treehouse with just some wood and nails, or you can purchase a treehouse kit. This project can really be as elaborate as you want it to be. Costs for building a treehouse start at several hundred dollars for all of the equipment required and will go into the tens of thousands of dollars if you are hiring someone to do it for you or if you want
About The Author
Michelle Kulas has been writing professionally since 2008 in a variety of niches. She is a gardener and enjoys spending time with her family and her dog in her sunny Southwest Florida backyard. When she's not writing or in the garden, you can find her cooking or volunteer with foreign exchange students.