Imaginative play is a great way for kids to develop social skills, experiment with “real life” problems and come up with their own solutions. It’s also great fun, but not if your children's playhouse is filled with cobwebs and dilapidated. Here’s how to give your wooden wendy house a once over to get it ready for the summer.
1. Keep your playhouse fresh
Wait for a fine day, prop the door open and remove everything from your playhouse. Once it’s completely empty, give it a thorough sweep with a stiff bristle brush, removing all the dust and cobwebs. Now fill a bucket with warm soapy water and give the interior a good scrub. A great tip for removing damp smells and deterring insects is to add a few drops of essential oil to the water – try lavender, tea tree, or bergamot.
To clean your playhouse’s shatterproof styrene windows simply wipe them over with a wet cloth soaked in warm water containing a mild detergent. Buff with a dry cloth to return them to a good shine.
While cleaning your playhouse, it’s a great idea to check it over for damage or deterioration. Regular maintenance stops problems from getting worse and will help to make sure your kids get the most from their playhouse.
2. Treat your playhouse with wood stain
We recommend that you apply wood stain once each year to prevent rot and water damage. Use a quality product manufactured for outdoor applications. Wood stains are either oil or water based – water-based stains dry quickly and emit less toxic fumes than oil-based stains. It’s also far less flammable than oil and you can paint it over wood that’s been treated with oil-based stain in the past. Oil-based stains are more durable than water-based, offer better protection from the elements and give a more even finish.
Either type of stain is available in a wide range of colours – now could be a great opportunity to ‘reinvent’ your playhouse by giving it a whole new colour and theme. Your kids will get more use out of their playhouse if you reinvent it each year as they grow.
3. Plan your playhouse makeover
If your children seem to have lost interest in their playhouse, it’s probably time to give it a makeover. Call a family meeting and brainstorm decorating ideas. Will the playhouse transform into a pirate ship? A cake shop? A secret den or an art room?
Once you agree on a theme, make sure you involve the children in each step of the makeover. Prepare and paint the exterior, tidy the garden surrounding the playhouse and start to think about accessories.
4. Add some playhouse furniture
Your children’s new playhouse theme will need some help to bring it to life. You’ll need to add new furniture and plan a layout that works. For things like shops, cafes, police stations or post offices you might need to get creative with furniture. Wooden storage cubes are incredibly versatile and can be rearranged into a whole range of scenarios.
If your kids prefer somewhere cosy to hang out, simply add beanbags, floor cushions and blankets to encourage them to feel at home. Put up shelves or cupboards to store toys or art supplies within easy reach, and don’t forget to hang curtains for a bit of style.
Car boot sales and charity shops are good places to pick up bargain furniture that can be up-cycled for your playhouse. And remember that kids find the process of setting up the new playhouse just as exciting as the finished product.
5. Trade up your playhouse
If your playhouse is beyond repair and you’re in need of a new one, do take a look at our wide range of children’s playhouses. We stock a variety of styles from tower playhouses with slides to double-storey cottages.
Is your little boy or girl an aspiring farmer? Check out our Dutch barn playhouse. Is he or she a dab hand with a lasso? Our wild west sheriff playhouse won’t collect tumbleweed! We have loads of themes from which to choose – we’re sure we’ll have something to delight and inspire.
Alternatively, if your kids are approaching their teens, why not upgrade to a summerhouse or log cabin where you can install wifi and other creature comforts – the perfect space for homework, music, sleepovers and more.
Lead image: Waltons 6 x 6 Dutch Barn Playhouse