The best kids summer house for encouraging role play and imagination

summer houses

by Rosie Floyd |
Updated on

There is something about a kids’ summer house that encourages imagination. Where else can your little one be a cook in a kitchen? A prince or princess in a tower? Or teach in a school all under one roof? Quite simply, a summerhouse presents children with endless opportunities for adventure.

Some may call it a summerhouse for kids, others a wendy house or a playhouse. Whatever your name for one, they all provide your children with the same thing – a retreat of their own where they’re free to be whoever they want to be and a classic outdoor toy.

The best kids’ summer house 2022

If you’re looking for children’s summerhouse ideas, you’ve come to the right place. We have put together our plastic and wooden kids’ summer house top picks - these lot will give your children a dedicated space to hang out or engage in role-playing.

Plastic Kids Summer house

Brightly coloured kids’ summer house

This summer house is designed for indoor and outdoor play. It is set up as a café and comes with 37 different kitchen items so your children can pretend to cook up a storm in the kitchen and hand food to you through the opening swing shutters.

Material: Plastic
Dimensions: 120 x 50 x 92cm
Weight 25.6kg

Review: “This was bought for our 3-year-old grandson. He absolutely loves it. It is very well made, very solid. He loves all the additions you get with this - the door, the different windows, you can write your menu, charge for the food with the till and card reader. Totally captured his imagination to play.”

Best for unicorn fanatics

If your little ones love all things unicorns and rainbows, this summerhouse will be an ideal choice. It has a purple roof, pink walls and blue shutters on the windows which open and close. No tools are required for assembly, which is a win in our eyes.

Material: Polypropylene plastic

Dimensions: 109 x 90 x 102cm

Weight: 10.3kg

Review: “My daughter absolutely loved this! Easy to put together, and it’s lasted through the horrific winds we’ve had. Sturdy and great fun.”

Best for the mini car fans

Calling all mini car fans - the Cars Garage Playset would be the ideal summer house. The fabric door is secured with Velcro, so little ones can easily store their bike, scooter, or mini car inside. It has an additional side door with a latch and a post box that kids can send letters through.

Material: Plastic

Dimensions: 111 x 108 x 127cm

Weight: 12kg

Review: “Nice size to keep inside or use outside, and my son can fit his ride on cars in. Easy to put together, which is always a bonus! Great product.”

Best for year-round fun

Do you want to build your kids a treehouse but simply don’t have the space? The Smoby House on Stilts is a great alternative. The summer house sits on a 70cm platform that kids can climb up and slide down. In the warmer months, you can turn the slide into a waterslide by connecting a hosepipe. The plastic is UV-treated for durability, so your little ones can enjoy it for years to come.

Material: plastic
Dimensions: 200 x 50 x 101cm
Weight: 40kg

Review: “Instructions are ok, if you're used to the sort you get with flat-pack stuff. Takes quite a while to put together for one person but not difficult. All plastic parts slot together pretty well with no dangerous sharp edges. Daughter loves it and can see her playing in it for a good few years.”

Wooden kids’ summer house

Best for own personalisation

Perfect for all garden sizes, this summer house is crafted from smooth and thick fir wood panels that simply slot together. It is glazed with two child-safe windows that are Georgian in style, which will let in lots of natural light. It comes unpainted so you can paint it yourself in your little one’s favourite colour.

Material: Wood
Dimensions: 95 x 105 x 126cm
Weight: 26.5kg

Review: “I hardly ever write reviews, but this is a brilliant little bit of kit. Yes, it’s on the small side, but for a 2/3-year-old, it’s perfect. Want something bigger, then pay double the price. It took me 1 hour to assemble on my own with a drill. Instructions are pretty clear, and the parts are labelled. If you want it to last longer than a year, it’s definitely worth painting and felting the roof. I also added a sliding lock to stop the door from blowing in the wind and keep unwanted animals out. For the money, it’s a very capable playhouse - my daughter loves it.”

Best kids’ summer house and climbing frame combined

You will need some DIY knowledge to put this nautical-themed summer house together, but it promises hours of fun once complete. It comes with a slide, swing, rope ladder and integrated sandbox, so there are lots to keep your little ones occupied. The summer house section is sheltered with a weather-proof roof covering. And the solid-wood frame is pressure-treated, so painting isn’t necessary.

Material: Wood
Dimensions: 4.61 x 3.89 x 2.6m
Weight: 156kg

Review: “Easy to assemble. Very sturdy item. My kids love it. My son has ADHD and loves being outside. This gives him something to do to keep him playing and exploring while still being safe. Best money I have spent!”

Encourages learning and creative play

This inviting summerhouse has a slated roof and a blue-hued font door. Inside, you will find a pretend kitchen stove and a sink where children can ‘cook and wash up’, play with toys and hang pegs to hold the plastic gardening tools and caddy. This kids’ summer house encourages hand-on learning and creativity with its moveable clock for telling time and a chalkboard for writing and drawing.

Material: Wood
Dimensions: 184 x 117 x 150cm
Weight: 41kg

Review: “Good quality and meets all requirements.”

Best for long-lasting fun

With 12mm shiplap cladding, glazed windows, and a felted apex roof, the Shire 8x9 Lodge Playhouse is built to last. The interior is mezzanine in style so kiddies can have multi-level fun. This wooden summerhouse is a big-ticket item; however, it has a 10-year guarantee so your youngsters can enjoy it for most of their childhood. Delivery and installation are also included, so you can leave the DIY to someone else. Once installed, you may just want to add a splash of colour to it yourself, as it comes unpainted as standard.

Material: Wood
Dimensions: 269 x 239 x 268cm

Review: “Love the design. Good quality and it is durable. I just love it.”


Plastic vs Wooden Kids Summer House

Choosing which kids summer house is right for you and your family can be a hard choice as there are benefits to both. A plastic summerhouse is more lightweight and isn’t fixed to one location, so you can easily move it around with you. A wooden summerhouse would be a more permanent feature in your garden as they often have to be fixed to the ground.

What are the benefits?

A wooden summerhouse is designed to withstand the elements whereas a plastic summerhouse will deteriorate more quickly. Plastic is suspectable to discolouration when exposed to the sun and can be moved around your garden during high winds.

The biggest benefit of a plastic summer house for children is that it takes very little time and DIY knowledge to put together. A wooden summerhouse will require tools to put together and could take many hours, or even days to put together. However, once built, a wooden kids summer house will be a very solid structure and built to last for years.

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