I was a child of the 80s, I have such vivid memories of marching up the cul-de-sac I grew up on, to my friend Laura’s house, my little wendy house tucked under my arm, all set for another long summer day of setting up camp.
This week my 6yo was gutted to discover I had given our wendy house away. I’m first to admit my attempts to clear the clutter of long forgotten toys are occasionally premature, and result in pangs of guilt and replacement purchases. As I type this, he is camped out in the garden in the pop up tent we found to replace it. You really can’t beat a tent, a den or a hideout to prolong kid’s outdoor play, but you can think outside the toy box a little….
A long term investment
i remember reading once that rather than buying a playhouse, you should buy a shed, kids quickly outgrow playhouses, but they don’t outgrow wanting a den, a space to chill, or craving privacy from the rest of the family. A summer house is a multi functional space that many members of the family can use over time. A wise investment. Wayfair have a fab range of styles of shed. I love this one.
The real deal
For slightly older kids a real tent is the perfect solution. It is something to grow up with, giving them a more independent experience when you camp as a family and a tent to use when they are old enough to camp alone, meanwhile they also get to play out the authentic camping experience at home. You can get a 2 man pop up tent for only £23 currently, easy enough for a 6 year old to put up alone, or pictured above is a slightly larger 4 man tent.
For the playhouse purist
I love this little wigwam, it is just one of many I have eyed up at Wayfair. It makes me terribly nostalgic for my childhood, I think it reminds me of an old duvet or pyjamas, I think many a happy childhood memory could be made here.
For the Modernist
At £692 the Hobikken playhouse is an investment, but if you want to retain a stylish modern home, whilst gaining the largest floorspace on the indoor playhouse market, this could be your ideal play home.
For those with a wild imagination
I love this play garage playhouse, the attention to detail and fabric make it so pleasing to the eye, unlike the polyester one I had as a kid. There are all sorts of lovely themes, I picked out garage, but what about pirates, fairy princesses, a barn or a beach shack?
Another way to incorporate a den into the garden is to buy a trampoline tent, they make less of an eye sore of trampolines, provide shade and double up as a den. Drag some cushions and sleeping bags out and camp out on your very own bouncy bed!
And of course, you can’t beat a blanket over the washing airer, washing line, picnic table, or whatever you have to hand.
When did you last play in a den?