The 8 Best Playhouses for Toddlers of 2022

A space for imagination

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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.

Here, our picks for the best playhouses for toddlers, to prompt hours of pretend play.

Best Overall: Little Tikes Deluxe Home and Garden Playhouse

5
Little Tikes Deluxe Home and Garden Playhouse
Courtesy of Walmart.
Pros
  • Little assembly required

  • Includes 11 accessories

Cons
  • Mailbox does not have a back

  • Only one side on water table has drain plug

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

Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Durable

  • Two working doors and windows

  • Affordable

Cons
  • No doorbell

  • No shelves inside

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

Backyard Discovery Scenic Heights All Cedar Playhouse

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Saloon doors and 3-foot deck

  • Play kitchen with mounted sink

  • Two wooden toy storage boxes

Cons
  • Heavy

  • Costly

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; 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, professional counselor and registered play therapist

Best Plastic: Step2 Step2 Neat & Tidy Cottage

Step2 Neat & Tidy Cottage
Courtesy of Wayfair.
Pros
  • Easy to clean

  • Encourages outdoor imaginative play

Cons
  • Doorbell requires batteries

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 for Multiples: KidKraft KidKraft Forestview II Playhouse

KidKraft Forestview II Playhouse
Courtesy of Walmart.
Pros
  • Plenty of space for multiple children

  • Two vinyl chalkboard walls

Cons
  • Costly

  • Assembly required

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: Crate & Kids Palm Springs Playhouse

Palm Springs Playhouse
Courtesy of Crate and Barrel.
Pros
  • 100 percent cotton canvas

  • Skylight

Cons
  • Material can snag easily

  • Roof is large

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 100% 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 if your little one wants 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

Best Outdoor: KidKraft Modern Outdoor Playhouse

KidKraft Modern Outdoor Playhouse
Courtesy of KidKraft.
Pros
  • Picnic table and benches attached

  • Full-size door

Cons
  • Costly

  • Heavy

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

Best Realistic: Backyard Discovery Sweetwater Wooden Playhouse

Backyard Discovery Sweetwater Wooden Playhouse

Walmart

Pros
  • Flowerpot holders

  • More than five accessories includes

Cons
  • Heavy

  • Anchors not included

Designed for children ages 2 to 6 years old, this playhouse is made from cedar wood that’s been pre-stained, pre-cut, and pre-drilled. On the outside, kids will find flower pot holders, a snack tray window, a half-sized door, more windows, and an adorable, working doorbell. When kids step inside, they’ll be greeted with many different accessories perfect for playtime, such as a sink, cordless phone, and stove–all perfect for imaginative play.

Dimensions: 46.06 x 42.13 x 55.12 inches | Weight: 88 pounds | Age Range: 2 to 6 years old | Indoor/Outdoor: Both | Material: Cedar 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

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 in 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 and Features

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, a registered play therapist based in Texas, 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

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. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What should I put in my toddler's playhouse?

    Any toys or furnishings that make your toddler’s playhouse feel more “real” can enhance their make-believe play sessions. In outdoor playhouses, try stringing solar-powered lights, painting a chalkboard wall, hanging a homemade canvas painting, or laying down an outdoor rug. If space allows, a small plastic table and chairs can also inspire pretend play. In indoor playhouses where all toys are fair game to be dragged inside, stash play cleaning supplies (like a child-sized broom and dustpan) and furniture like a bean bag chair. You can also use the playhouse to store games, pretend food, or dress-up clothes. A welcome mat and holiday decorations can also jazz up an inside or outdoor playhouse.

  • What do you put under a playhouse?

    Many playhouse owners prefer to place the structures on concrete, gravel, sand, rubber mulch, or poured rubber rather than directly on a grassy surface to reduce water damage and ensure the structure sits evenly. The manufacturer of your playhouse will likely have recommendations for the best way to install it.

  • How do I protect my outdoor playhouse?

    Applying a water sealant every year can protect a wooden playhouse from the elements. Alternatively or in addition, you can cover it with a tarp during the winter months.

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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