15 Best Outdoor Playhouses for Pretend Play

Kids playing in an outdoor playhouse in a backyard

A playhouse helps draw kids outside and away from screens, giving them the opportunity to learn, discover and use their imaginations. Playing pretend is especially important between the ages of two to seven, where kids are learning and developing social skills like communication, problem-solving and empathy. Not surprisingly, it also helps foster creativity. (Is it a house, a café, a pirate ship or perhaps all three?!)

The best outdoor playhouse is one that will encourage both physical play (think swings, slides and climbing) and pretend play. We’ve rounded up our favourite kids’ playhouses for your family and yard.

In this guide
1. Wooden playhouses
$ 269.97

Big Game Hunters Café/Shop

The sky’s the limit when it comes to this versatile outdoor play centre. Kids can use the large chalkboards to customize the space and express their artistic side. Young tykes might turn it into a pretend shop or café, while older, entrepreneurial-minded kids might make it a neighbourhood lemonade stand. It comes with prefabricated panels, plus all the screws and fixings required, and needs substantial assembly.

$ 348

Ahoy Wooden Play Boat

Your little one is the captain now! Perfect for imaginative play and kids who have a flair for the dramatic, this kids’ playhouse is an adventure-seeking boat plus sandbox where friendly pirates will have fun digging for buried treasure! The boat’s sail doubles as a UV-resistant sunshade, which helps extend playtime during peak sun hours.

$ 399.94

TP Wooden Cubby House

The minimalist design of this wooden playhouse makes it easy for kids to decorate their home the way they’d like. The window boxes can be filled with real or faux flowers—or your little one’s imagination might find another creative use for them. Thanks to its open concept, you’ll be able to keep a close eye on your child while still giving them the freedom to play independently. Looking for more ways to keep them busy? Check out these 25 summer activities they’ll love.

$ 329

Backyard Discovery Timberlake Playhouse

This affordable wooden clubhouse will no doubt become your kid’s favourite clubhouse for creating summer memories—with up to five friends. It includes flowerpot holders, a side window for serving up snacks and drinks, plus play accessories inside like a sink, stove and cordless phone. Good luck getting them to come inside for bedtime!

$ 548

KidKraft Forestview II Wooden Playhouse with EZ Kraft Assembly

Kids will want to live full-time in this kitted out wooden playhouse. With so many realistic features like a working doorbell, a clock with moveable hands, a phone and even a full kitchen with a sink and cooking accessories, it’ll inspire hours of imaginative play. It even comes with a bench so kids can entertain others through the large serving window. It’s made from 100-per-cent cedar and treated with a child-friendly water-based stain for durability and longevity.

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2. Plastic playhouses
$ 149.97

Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse

This quaint cottage playhouse offers all the essentials at a great price, making it the perfect starter home for little kids. With two working doors, two windows with working shutters and an adorable mail slot, this house will encourage your child’s imagination to transport them to the countryside. It’s suitable for both indoors and outdoors and you’ll love the minimal and easy assembly!

$ 209.97

L.O.L. Surprise! Cottage Playhouse with Glitter

Young L.O.L. Surprise! fans will be obsessed with this themed kids’ playhouse. It has features similar to the Cottage Playhouse (working doors, windows and a mail slot), but the exterior is in L.O.L. signature bright pink. It’s also covered in decal stickers featuring favourite L.O.L. Surprise! characters.

$ 239.97

Little Tikes Deluxe Home & Garden Playhouse

This all-in-one outdoor playhouse comes with many fun and entertaining play stations, including a sand and water table, fix-it workshop bench and even a kitchenette with a pretend stove and faucet. There’s plenty of room for multiple kids and the included accessories encourage physical and imaginative play.

$ 248

Little Tikes Build-a-House

This customizable plastic playhouse gets kids involved with the assembly! All you’ll have to do is build the frame and then sit back and watch as your little builder gets creative with interchangeable panels and easy-to-use, kid-friendly tools. With over 25 different panels, they can build it, take it apart and rebuild it for endless variations.

$ 299.97

Step2 Neat & Tidy Cottage Homestyle Edition

The taller and wider design of this cottage playhouse allows space for multiple kids to play together. Little ones will get a kick out of playing peek-a-boo through the window shutters while preschoolers will love pretend playing with realistic features like a working doorbell, mailbox, sink and grill.

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3. Playhouses with slides or swings
$ 428

Saddlebrook Cedar Swing Set

This playhouse swing set is the whole package at an incredible value. Kids can climb a rock wall or step ladder to get to the top before they speed back down the eight-foot slide (which is long enough for bigger kids to enjoy, too!). At the other end of the playhouse, two swings and a trapeze bar will entertain the gymnast in your family.

$ 649.99

ECR4Kids Activity Park Playhouse for Kids, Indoor Outdoor Play House with Slide or Climb Stairs

This vibrantly coloured playhouse is perfect for toddlers, creating a safe place for them to climb and slide that’s not too high off the ground. The durable design and weather- and fade-resistant structure make it an ideal backyard playhouse. Plus, assembly is easy with no tools required. The pieces simply click into place and can be quickly disassembled for easy storage.

$ 898

KidKraft Windale Wooden Swing Set/Playset

The vertical design of this two-story kids’ playhouse makes it a smart choice for smaller yards. It’s made of 100-per-cent premium cedar, so it’s durable enough to withstand both energetic kids and Canadian winters, while also being aesthetically pleasing for parents. Love entertaining other families during the summer? This playhouse can house up to nine kids at a time.

$ 899.98

Step2 Woodland Adventure Playhouse & Slide

As the name implies, this playhouse is a great next step if your little one is too big for a basic toddler playhouse but not yet ready for a big-kid jungle gym. A unique storage drawer that slides under the base of the playhouse makes clean-up easy and keeps toys protected from the outdoor elements.

$ 1679.99

Creative Cedar Designs Sky View Playset

If you’re looking for an all-in-one backyard playhouse with swings, a slide and more, then you’ve found it. This one also features a 15-square-foot sandbox as well as a children’s picnic table. It’s the most expensive playhouse on our list and assembly will take some time, but it’ll provide years of entertainment.

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Melissa is a freelance lifestyle journalist and mama to one. She has written about everything from beauty and health to finance and food for national brands such as Best Health, CBC, Reader's Digest and Refinery 29. When she's not parked in front of her laptop, she can be found playing with her four-year-old daughter, training for a 10K or nurturing her veggie garden (a newfound passion!).

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