Kids today spend more than 7 hours per day in front of some type of screen, be it computer, TV or gaming. Regardless of what the gadget of choice is, the point is they’re not slapping on some sunscreen and playing outside. If you’re trying to figure out a way to get your kids away from technology and into some fresh air and using their imaginations, try a family project they can be involved in.
Building a tree house can be the perfect family project and it leaves them with somewhere to go later that isn’t in front of the television. Get them involved in the project right from the start, picking the right tree and listing the features they want to incorporate into the design. This should be a fun project so let your imagination run wild. If you’re stuck for ideas on how to best your tree house fun and engaging here are 7 design ideas to build into your tree house.
Every tree house needs a ladder. You can use an old fashioned wooden ladder, or you can choose a rope ladder instead. If you’re skilled in construction you can even put in a staircase instead.
Add a quick exit with a fireman’s pole. Kids will love this is like having a cool playground feature right in their backyard. Make sure the pole is properly installed and secured, use a concrete base for the bottom of the pole and make sure the concrete is completely dry before the kids start sliding down.
Build a rope bridge to a nearby tree. Rope bridges add some adventure to the tree house so connect it from the tree house to another about 10 feet or so away. For safety leave a small gap of just an inch or so between the slats of the bridge and make sure the ropes acting as rails are firmly secured.
Put in a zip line. Children love feeling like they are flying and would love a small zip line. Take safety into consideration and instead of just using a set of handle bars to ‘zip’ down you can install a seat with some handles. It will cut down on the chance of any falls.
Add some playground features. Swings and slides can be easily added to any tree house. You can use the branches to add wooden swings or a tire swing. Slides are available in a bunch of different shapes and sizes and can be easily added to the side of the tree house. Kids will love a fast exit!
Build a trap door into the tree house floor. Having a trap door lets their imaginations run wild, it can be a portal to another world or an exit for a super spy. It also works well with the fireman’s pole. Encourage the child’s sense of adventure.
Add a crow’s nest so they can survey their domain. If you have a castle or pirate themed tree house, these are great additions. A cheap and easy way to build a crow’s nest is to use half of an old wine barrel, put it on a sturdy platform with a small ladder attached for safety. The kids will love it.
Every kid dreams of having their own tree house and if you’re fortunate enough to have the space and trees kids will often try and build one on their own. It’s a childhood milestone that sticks with you forever. As a parent you can make special memories with you children by helping them build a tree house. Here are some ideas to take your tree house from the idea stage to a backyard hideaway for your kids.
Like anything you need to have a plan in place. You need to find a tree that will support your tree house. Grab some graph paper and roughly sketch out the design and square footage of the house. Figure out the materials and tools you will need, often tree house are made with scrap lumber and things you may even have lying around in the garage. It really depends on how sophisticated you want the tree house to be. What kind of furniture if any will you put in the tree house? All of this you should have planned out before you grab your hammer. Here’s a video on how to build a simple tree house.
Pick the Right Tree
This is where your kids will be playing so you want it to be strong and safe for them, so it all begins with a sturdy tree. You need a mature and strong tree, maple trees work very well. The tree should be able to hold the house well even during the winter months. Make sure there are no insect nests or snakes living nearby either.
Sit down and grab your rough sketches from earlier and make them into an actual design. Proper sketches with the right measurements will make building a whole lot easier. You need to figure out the size of the house and how many rooms it will have. Most of this will be determined by the tree you have chosen. Before you start building you need to have the design with the rooms mapped out along with the right measurements.
When you figure out what you need look for what you might have around your home already. Most people have leftover wood and tools from other projects that you can use to build the tree house. It will save you some time and money before you head off to the hardware store. Use strong materials to build your tree house, a solidly built tree house can last for generations.
Paint and Color
If you opt for painting the tree house then try and pick some colors that won’t fade too soon with the weather. Get the kids involved in picking out the color, give them some choices to work with. Encourage them to help you paint or even paint it on their own. They love to help with the construction and it’s a great way to get them involved in the whole process. This is going to be their tree house so let them have some choices and invest some sweat equity.
This part really should be left to your kids. Let them choose from the old chairs and cushions you may have taking up space in storage. They will figure out how to make it comfortable and cozy for themselves.
So now that you have an idea where to begin it’s time to start picking the right tree to start building.