How To Build A Kid’s Playhouse

How to build a kids' playhouse

Photo: Sam Pullara

When you build an outdoor kid’s playhouse, you’re creating  a fun and exciting place for children to play. But, you’re helping to create a space for kids that they can call their own, giving them a sense of ownership that they can carry with them into adulthood. There are several options to consider as you plan your design, but mostly you should view this as constructing a little home of which the children themselves can feel proud.

Making the plan before building a kid’s playhouse

Making a plan or design before starting construction ensures that the process of putting together the clubhouse goes as smoothly as possible. A plan is also necessary so that you can get a good idea of what will be required, the size of the structure, how to make it stable, and if you want the clubhouse to be stationary or able to move. These are key considerations prior to beginning work, because once the little house it completed, it will be hard to change certain aspects.

The different types of kid’s playhouses

There are different types of clubhouses that can be made for children. The first is the type that can breakdown and collapse if you wish to move it in pieces at a later date. This type can be purchased in kits, which can save a lot of time when it comes to construction. But, often, it results in a less sturdy clubhouse

The second type is stationary and set to remain on the property. This style requires a concrete slab, and like a home, the walls are attached to the slab. The final type is the most popular, and the style that will be discussed. It has a false floor, or raised foundation that is propped up on 2 x 6 pieces of wood (or concrete blocks, as pictured). This type of clubhouse can be moved, but will require help.

Photo: cwwycoff1

Tools & Materials

After making the initial plan, there will be a list of materials that you will need in order to construct the kid’s clubhouse. Below is a list of suggested items, not accounting for a specific design. You may find that you don’t use some listed, or that you need additional items.

  • Enough lumber for the base of the floor, and for framing
  • Enough lumber and shingle material to create the roof , factoring in the roof pitch
  • Enough plywood to cover the floor, walls, and roof (1/4 inch to 1/2 thickness is more than enough for this project)
  • Moisture barriers for the floor
  • Carpenter nails and/or screws
  • Hammer
  • Saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Saw horses
  • Miter box
  • 90 degree bracket to attach the walls to the floor – enough to space them out every four inches
  • Truss brackets

Get ready, set, build!


Now that you have your design and supplies, you’re ready to build. Follow these general steps to make this a great weekend project:

Step One:

Lay out wood blocks on their widest point where you want the foundation of the clubhouse to be and space them 12 inches apart. The house will only be raised two inches off the ground if done properly.

Step Two:

Attach the plywood floor to the strips with carpenter nails or screws over the plastic sheeting moisture barrier.

Step Three:

Construct one wall at a time. Make the walls using the 2 x 2 strips in the same way as the floor, spaced 12 inches apart. Secure the walls to the floor using the 90 degree brackets. This is a great time to figure out where windows and doors should be placed.

Step Four:

Complete step number three for all four walls, then join the walls together with brackets in the corners, spaced six inches apart.

Step Five:

Complete the truss of the roof using 2 x 4 strips of wood. Cut the pieces to the angle you prefer, then join them by truss brackets. This step can also be eliminated if a pitch free roof is preferred. In that case, simply fasten plywood to the top of the clubhouse. This will give a box appearance to the structure.

Step Six:

Once the trusses are complete, place plywood over the wood strips to cover the framing.

Step Seven:

Decorate, paint, and personalize with optional finish molding, or a real door.

Kid’s playhouses are great projects to start after projects at your main property, where leftover tile, laminate flooring, and other home improvement projects have been completed. Using leftover building materials can reduce waste, as well as tying your kid’s playhouse to the look and feel of your main home.

Let’s play!

Children will be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor with activities that will stimulate their imagination and creativity. This is a fun way to allow kids to have a little independence, and to communicate the idea of ownership, and of a sense of space that they can feel a sense of responsibility toward.

So, this is not just about playtime – a kid’s playhouse can help to provide a precursor to taking care of their own space once they reach adulthood.

For more detailed information about a project like this, check out this article on how to build a children’s clubhouse.

And for you visual learners, check out Ron Hazelton’s site for step-by-step video instructions on how to make your own kids playhouse.

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