5 Treehouse Alternatives For Kids

Fulfill your child's play fantasies and allow them to dream and explore even without a treehouse by providing them play opportunities with these treehouse alternatives for kids.
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Indoor playroom for kids.

No matter the design, treehouses are a guaranteed hit for the children. They’re also beneficial as a natural playground since they don’t just provide kids a place to call their own where they can freely run and play but treehouses also help develop a child’s gross motor skills, social skills, cooperation, problem-solving skills, stimulate their imagination and creativity, and teach them to learn about and appreciate nature and their environment.

On the other hand, not everyone has extra space in their rooms or backyards to build a treehouse. Building one can be costly and can easily set you back more than a thousand dollars. It can also be labor intensive.

If you have a treehouse, you need to perform regular safety inspections to ensure that the surfaces are still safe, intact, and stable. Other parents are also more concerned about the risks of injury.

So if you have similar concerns as well as space and financial constraints, there’s no reason to worry since there are other alternatives to treehouses for kids that will be just as beneficial for them but safer and friendlier on your budget.

1. Outdoor Clubhouse

A rustic outdoor clubhouse surrounded by tall trees.

Sometimes people want to avoid building their children treehouses. This could be due to concerns about their safety, as a fall from such a height could wind up being very dangerous. Other times, people will avoid building treehouses because they are not handy enough to make it happen. If you do have the carpentry skills, but you just think that treehouses are unsafe, then you could build an outdoor clubhouse instead.

An outdoor clubhouse will essentially be a little treehouse that isn’t in the trees. It will be a small structure where your kids can play to their heart’s content. They will get to enjoy having their own little house, and you won’t have to worry about them being up in a tree. If you are nervous about the treehouse idea, but you still want your kids to be able to have fun outdoors, this is a great solution.

Pros:

This is going to be a much safer method than allowing your children to play in a treehouse. Parents who are worried about their kids falling out of a tree will feel more comfortable with the outdoor clubhouse idea. It will take a similar amount of work to build an outdoor clubhouse, but it might wind up being a little easier due to not having to climb. If you have the carpentry skills to make this happen, then it is something that your children will truly appreciate.

Cons:

Building an outdoor clubhouse is not going to be an easy feat. Even if you have the carpentry skills to pull it off, it will still take a fair bit of time. It isn’t always easy to make the time to build something like this. If you are looking for a simple alternative that won’t take so much effort, then you’re going to need to look elsewhere.

2. Indoor Playroom

Indoor playroom furnished with low shelves, kid-sized table and chairs, and various toys.

Some people are lucky enough to have extra rooms in their house. If you have extra space that is not being used very often, then your children would appreciate being able to turn that space into a play area. Not everyone is going to have a spacious enough home for this method, but it can still be a good idea to consider this if you do. The old exercise room that you don’t use any longer could wind up making a great playroom for your kids.

By making a few modifications to the room, you could completely transform it into a fun indoor playroom. A fresh coat of paint and a few pieces of kid-friendly furniture can really do wonders. Your kids will be able to enjoy spending time in the room. It will be fun for them because they will know that this room is completely theirs and that they can always use it to let out their imaginations.

Pros:

This is an excellent idea for those who have extra rooms in their homes. If you can’t provide a nice treehouse for your children, then you could at least give them a fun indoor playroom. This should be fairly easy to accomplish, and it won’t take a lot of work to get it set up. Most of the desirable aspects of having a treehouse can be replicated in an indoor playroom. If you decorate things properly and add in the right furniture, then it will truly be a room that your children will create cherished memories in.

Cons:

There are many people who will not have any extra rooms in the house to do something like this. Those who are living in smaller environments have to efficiently use all of their available space. Even if you do have an extra room, you may wind up needing it for storage purposes. This idea is largely dependent on you having the correct situation to be able to take advantage of it.

3. Basement Playroom

Mother and son playing Lego toys in the basement playroom.


If you have a finished basement that isn’t used for much besides storage, then it could wind up being the solution that you need. Your children want a treehouse because they need a private space where they can play away from the rest of the family. A basement playroom can potentially provide this for them. Setting the room up with some furniture and toys that your children like will work out well.

This idea is best for children who are old enough to play without too much supervision. It might be something that appeals to kids who are between ten and thirteen more than it would the younger crowd. If your child is into video games, then you could set up their consoles in the basement so that they can play down there. It all comes down to what you are comfortable with letting them do without supervision, so be sure to use your parental discretion.

Pros:

This could be an excellent solution if you have a finished basement that is largely unused. It can work great as a treehouse alternative because it provides most of the important things that a treehouse does. It gives your child a place to play without having the rest of the family around. They will be free to enjoy themselves and have adventures.

Cons:

You will need to have a finished basement in order for this idea to work out. Some people don’t even have basements, as they aren’t common in the southern parts of the United States. It may wind up being a bit expensive to get furniture for a basement playroom too. It will depend on what you want to do and how much money you can comfortably spend.

4. Pillow Fort

Pillow fort built in the living room.

Pillow forts are something that children absolutely love to build. You may even remember building pillow forts yourself when you were a young child. Sometimes, when children have friends come over to stay the night, they like to build pillow forts. It is something special that can make the night seem more adventurous, and it is a fun outlet for young imaginations.

If you cannot provide a treehouse for your child, then you could try to set up an area of your home where they can conveniently make pillow forts. This will give them their own little area where they can play games and generally enjoy being children. It won’t take too much space to make a decent pillow fort, so if there is an unused portion of a room in your home, this could be a good option. Your child is really just looking for a fun place to play and let his or her imagination run wild.

The biggest downside of this pillow fort idea is that these are not permanent structures. In some ways, this can work to your advantage. You will be able to take it down when they aren’t using it and then allow them to build it up again when they are feeling adventurous. If you are willing to keep a dedicated space in your home for your child to build these pillow forts, then it can work as an alternative to a treehouse.

Pros:

It isn’t going to be too difficult to find the space for your child to build a pillow fort. This isn’t going to be expensive either. You may need to buy some extra pillows and a few throw blankets, but that cost will be very small. You’ll be able to enjoy seeing the smile on your child’s face when they are enjoying the pillow fort to the fullest.

Cons:

Your children may not like that they don’t have a permanent structure of their own. It really depends on what your children’s expectations are. If they understand that they can build a pillow fort whenever they want, then it might work out just fine. It is something that can provide them with similar feelings to a treehouse, even if it isn’t quite the same.

5. Modifying the Child’s Bedroom

A modified kid's bedroom with a teepee tent.

A final good idea for making things fun for your children is to modify their bedrooms. If your children have been wanting to have their own treehouse, it is likely because they enjoy the idea of having their own space to enjoy adventures. If you are able to modify their bedroom area to be more fun, then it will be able to work as a good treehouse alternative. Figure out what types of games they like to play and incorporate their favorite things into the theme of the bedroom.

Some children who play in treehouses like to pretend to be pirates. Other kids may enjoy imagining that they are in the jungle and going out on expeditions. Whatever it is that your child likes to imagine can be incorporated into their room. Making their bedroom as fun as possible will allow them to play indoors where it is safe and where you can more easily keep an eye on them.

Of course, this method is going to involve putting in a bit more work. If you need to modify your child’s bedroom significantly, then this could wind up being a costly method. Sometimes simply adding some new decorations and some fun toys can make the difference. Consider upgrading your child’s bedroom if the idea of a treehouse is something that you are wary of.

Pros:

If you modify your child’s bedroom, then it is going to be easier to keep an eye on him or her. You’ll be able to change the bedroom significantly enough to make it more fun for your children to play. They will be able to go on adventures inside of the house and can generally have a good time. You’ll feel more at ease with them playing in the bedroom, and it will work out fine.

Cons:

If your child’s bedroom is very small, then this idea may not work out quite as nicely as you would hope. This can be an idea that will either work brilliantly or fail completely. Making your child’s bedroom more fun will definitely provide an alternative playing area for them to enjoy. It just depends on how much you can change the bedroom to meet your child’s desires.








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