The 8 Best Playhouses for Toddlers of 2021

A space for imagination

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Little Tikes Deluxe Home and Garden Playhouse at Walmart

"With this playhouse, your tot gets a kitchen, mailbox, workbench, and a combination sand and water table. "

Best Budget: Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse at Amazon

"Designed with two windows with frames that open out, a swinging door, and even a little mail slot. "

Best Wooden: Backyard Discovery Scenic Heights All Cedar Playhouse at Amazon

"This is the kind of playhouse that will remain a fixture in a backyard for years and years."

Best Plastic: Step2 Neat & Tidy Cottage at Wayfair

"Toddlers 18-months-old and up will enjoy all of the fun features of this playhouse including a mailbox, play phone, and doorbell."

Best Realistic: Backyard Discovery Timberlake Cedar Wooden Playhouse at Walmart

"All of the parts come with predrilled holes and it comes with a clear instruction guide to make assembly quick and easy. "

Best for Multiples: KidKraft Forestview II Playhouse at Walmart

"For little ones between 3 and 8 years old and comes complete with chalkboard walls, a working doorbell, and a clock. "

Best Indoor: Palm Springs Playhouse at crateandbarrel.com

"Kids as young as 3 years old will love the simple, but colorful design and all of the imaginative play that comes with it. "

Best Outdoor: KidKraft Modern Outdoor Playhouse at Wayfair

"With an attached picnic table and working mailbox, kids 3 years old and up will have endless fun with this wooden playhouse. "

Whether your toddler uses it as a pretend home, a secret hideaway, a clubhouse, or a castle, few toys are as exciting and open-ended as a playhouse. With their own playhouse, toddlers get the opportunity to do all of the things they see their caregivers doing on a regular basis, but on their own terms and in a space that’s just the right size for them.

If you’re in the market for a new playhouse for your tot, here are some of the best options out there. 

Best Overall: Little Tikes Deluxe Home and Garden Playhouse

Little Tikes Deluxe Home and Garden Playhouse
Courtesy of Walmart.

With this playhouse, your tot gets a kitchen, mailbox, workbench, and a sand and water table combo. It includes a set of toy tools that your toddler can use to “fix” things around the house and the kitchen is equipped with a sink, stove, and a working clicker.

When it’s not in use, there is a cover to protect the sand and water table, which also turns it into more activity space. This playhouse is safe for kids as young as 2 years old, it’s made of plastic, and it is great for indoor or outdoor use. 

Dimensions: 36.80 x 80.30 x 52.75 inches | Weight: 48 pounds | Age Range: 2 years and up | Indoor/Outdoor: Both | Material: Plastic | Assembly Required: Yes

Best Budget: Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly playhouse, this adorable little cottage is perfect. It can be set up inside or outside and it’s designed with two windows with frames that open out, a swinging door, and even a little mail slot.

The inside of the house has an open space for kids between 2 and 6 years old to dream up different play scenarios. While the playhouse does require some assembly, the process is straightforward and typically quick.

Dimensions: 42.75 x 35 x 49 inches | Weight: 34.3 pounds | Age Range: 2 to 6 years | Indoor/Outdoor: Both | Material: Plastic | Assembly Required: Yes

Best Wooden: Backyard Discovery Scenic Heights All Cedar Playhouse

This playhouse was definitely designed for fun and longevity because it’s packed with great activities and plenty of space for play. The playhouse is raised and accessed by either a ladder or a set of stairs and is complete with saloon-style doors, windows, and a play kitchen.

It also comes with two wooden toy storage boxes and includes a little wooden bench with a cushion. This is the kind of playhouse that will remain a fixture in a backyard for years and years because it’s designed for kids between 3 and 10 years old.

Dimensions: 77 x 77 x 91 inches | Weight: 256 pounds | Age Range: 2 to 10 years | Indoor/Outdoor: Both | Material: Cedar Wood | Assembly Required: Yes

What Our Experts Say

“Parents can engage in imaginative play with children and even encourage it by allowing their children to lead the way," –Lacey Fisher LPC-S, RPT-S, Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor.

Best Plastic: Step2 Neat & Tidy Cottage

Step2 Neat & Tidy Cottage
Courtesy of Wayfair.

Toddlers 18-months-old and up will enjoy all of the fun features of this playhouse including a mailbox, play phone, and a doorbell that actually rings (batteries required). Inside the house is a little play kitchen complete with a faucet and counter space, two seats, and a grill that pokes out through a window.

The dutch door and window shutters open and close and there are little decorative details all over to make the playhouse feel like a perfect kid-size home.

Dimensions: 46.5 x 51.0 x 35.0 inches | Weight: 50 pounds | Age Range: 18 months and up | Indoor/Outdoor: Outdoor | Material: Plastic | Assembly Required: Yes

Best Realistic: Backyard Discovery Timberlake Cedar Wooden Playhouse

Backyard Discovery Timberlake Cedar Wooden Playhouse
Courtesy of Walmart.

This playhouse is safe for kids between 2 and 10 years old, has a realistic design, and is downright adorable. With several windows along the perimeter, this playhouse features a swinging dutch door for entry and flower planters under the two front windows.

Kids will love cooking up make-believe food in the pretend kitchen on the stove. They can pretend to clean up in the play sink and chat with their friends on the cordless phone, which is great for imaginative play. The best part about this playhouse is that all of the parts come with predrilled holes and it comes with a clear instruction guide to make assembly quick and easy.

Dimensions: 37 x 37 inches | Weight: Approximately 80 pounds | Age Range: 2 to 10 years | Indoor/Outdoor: Both | Material: Wood | Assembly Required: Yes

What Our Experts Say

“Realistic toys are things that toddlers are being exposed to in their environment so they can easily identify with them and practice using their imagination," –Lacey Fisher LPC-S, RPT-S, Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor.

Best for Multiples: KidKraft Forestview II Playhouse

KidKraft Forestview II Playhouse
Courtesy of Walmart.

Measuring 66 x 50 x 69 inches, there is more than enough space for multiple kids to fit in this wooden playhouse. It’s designed for little ones between 3 and 8 years old and comes complete with chalkboard walls, a working doorbell, and a clock with movable hands.

There is also a movable bench that is just the right size to prop up under the house’s serving window. Inside the playhouse is a pretend kitchen that comes complete with a cordless phone, two pans, and a spatula. This playhouse is full of fun details that kids will absolutely love.

Dimensions: 66 x 50 x 69 inches | Weight: N/A | Age Range: 3 to 8 years | Indoor/Outdoor: Both | Material: Wood | Assembly Required: Yes

Best Indoor: Palm Springs Playhouse

Palm Springs Playhouse
Courtesy of Crate and Barrel.

If you’re on the hunt for an indoor playhouse, it doesn’t get much cuter than this one which is designed to have a Palm Springs, California look and vibe. It stands just over 51 inches high and features a 100 percent cotton canvas with whimsical art, a mailbox (with a flap and slot), and a skylight on the roof to keep the playhouse bright and airy.

The door to the playhouse can be rolled up to stay open or rolled down for when your little one needs privacy. Kids as young as 3 years old will love the simple, but colorful design and all of the imaginative play that comes with it. 

Dimensions: 59 x 37 x 49.7 inches | Weight: N/A | Age Range: 2 years and up | Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor | Material: 100 percent cotton canvas fabric, metal poles, plastic pole connectors | Assembly Required: Yes

What Our Experts Say

Imaginative play provides many benefits including language, social, emotional, physical and cognitive development. This allows a child to make sense of the world around them and can even help them self-regulate their emotions or process things that are scary to them. They can even learn empathy for others through imaginative play with others," —Lacey Fisher LPC-S, RPT-S, Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor

Best Outdoor: KidKraft Modern Outdoor Playhouse

KidKraft Modern Outdoor Playhouse
Courtesy of KidKraft.

Complete with an attached picnic table and working mailbox, kids 3 years old and up will have endless fun with this wooden playhouse. It has a modern design with a slanted roof as well as a full-size door that kids can easily open and close for privacy.

There is also a serving window with a little outdoor grill and a grill cover for your little chef to whip up a pretend meal. Inside is a counter with a sink and faucet, and there’s even a chalkboard that’s perfect for little ones to doodle on. 

Dimensions: 62.25 x 70.9 x 48.9 inches | Weight: 125 pounds | Age Range: 3 years and up | Indoor/Outdoor: Outdoor | Material: Wood | Assembly Required: Yes

Final Verdict

Honestly, your toddler will love the playhouse you get them, no matter what it looks like or which bells and whistles it includes. That being said, the Little Tikes Deluxe Home and Garden Playhouse (view at Walmart) stands out to us because of its overall design and versatility with the attached sand and water table.

What to Look for When Buying a Playhouse for Toddlers

Safety

First and foremost, you’ll want to be sure the playhouse you purchase is safe for your child. After checking the suggested age range, take a look at the design to ensure there aren’t obvious hazards for pinching, scraping, or otherwise injuring your child. If it is a wooden playhouse, run your hands along the wood to check for rough spots which may cause splinters (you may be able to easily fix this by sanding the space down, depending on the wood).

Additionally, if it is an outdoor playhouse, check the structure’s weight and see if there is any way to anchor it to the ground to avoid damage during bad weather. 

Design & Extras

Consider how your child likes to play when picking out a playhouse for them, and look for one with features or add-ons that would appeal to them. Don’t feel like you need to get one with all of the “extras”, though, because the playhouse itself is a toy.

Lacey Fisher LPC-S, RPT-S, Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor, tells Verywell Family, “Any playhouse can have some toys added to it that will encourage imaginative play, but there is no need to get too many toys. In fact, too many toys can be overwhelming for some children so smaller amounts can be sufficient.” 

Durability & Longevity

This is especially important if you’re getting an outdoor playhouse, because the last thing you want to do is spend a lot of money, only for the toy to be destroyed after one season of weather. When purchasing a playhouse, think about the climate you live in and which materials will hold up the best. 

Regardless of whether you’re putting it inside or outside, invest in a playhouse that your toddler can safely have fun with now but also won’t grow out of too quickly. Thankfully, kids enjoy imaginative play for a long time, but you’ll increase your chances of longevity if you purchase a playhouse with some room to grow. 

Why Trust Verywell Family?

Ashley Ziegler is a full-time parenting writer and mom to a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old.She has personal experience in researching and purchasing a variety of children’s products, including playhouses. Key considerations she used when selecting these recommendations include expert advice, age appropriateness, and user reviews. 

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