How to Play Safely Around the Playhouse

It’s always delightful sending our children outdoors to play and socialize. For those who built an outdoor playhouse, it provides kids with a safe haven. A place where kids can be themselves and experiment with nature. But that doesn’t stop us from keeping an eye on our beloved children. As parents, we do our best to encourage safety especially around the outdoor playhouse. That’s why we put together this guide for safety while still having fun on the outside.

Assembly

One of the safest precautions you could take is having a stable wooden playhouse. During assembly, make sure your playhouse is built on a flat area that keeps the playhouse levelled. A level surface will ensure that your playhouse will be durable for years to come. When the playhouse is on a sloped foundation, it may be wobbly and unstable. Not only is it uncomfortable, but kids might trip and fall due to the unbalance. If the floors aren't flush to the ground, then it leaves openings from underneath the playhouse. This invites rodents and bug nests at the bottom along with weeds which are all undesirable.

If you want the playhouse to be stable, consider investing a bit of your time in a base before playhouse installation. Bases are made of solid, flat material such as paving slabs, wooden planks or concrete. But you can also make your playhouse base with levelled gravel, wooden planks or just by leveling the ground very carefully. Using a base solid material base for your playhouse is easier as you will know that the base is smooth and does not need to be smoothened out (compared to a gravel base). Nonetheless, you should still make sure that the solid base is perfectly levelled and not tilted before you install your wooden playhouse on it.

"The child supplies the power but the parents have to do the steering."
- Benjamin Spock

Before Playtime

Once your outdoor playhouse is up, it’s a new thrill to your kids. They most likely will be eager to jump right in and take over their new hangout spot. Before playing, it’s important to do an inspection around the playhouse and the playhouse area with your children. First, you can encourage them to tell you if anything doesn’t seem right. If anything ever breaks or becomes loose, let them know they should tell you so you can fix it right away. If another child gets injured, tell them to find you immediately so you can act quickly.

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After a long winter of inactivity, head outside for a look around your playhouse and the play area with your child. Harsh weather conditions may cause some wear overtime. Here’s a list of some things you could check outdoors to make sure everything is safe for the new season.

Trees: Look above your outdoor playhouse for any surrounding trees. Strong winds and snow could also wear down trees in the area. Check for dead tree branches that potentially could fall down near the playing area.

Windows: Even though the windows are strong on our outdoor playhouses it’s a great idea to make sure everything is still intact. Glass pieces are dangerous and hard to spot, so make sure nothing is cracked after the winter season.

Metal: While playhouse customization is up to you, look at your accessories. Metal objects like chairs, swings, or bars may develop rust over time. Rust leads to unwanted cuts and injuries and shows signs of wear. Nails or bolts could also rust which are also easier to replace.

Doors: Some wooden playhouses have a door for entering. Test the playhouse door and check it for full functionality. Look at the hinges and make sure they work fine. We don’t want children to use too much force opening a stuck or damaged door.

Ground: We never know what could pop up in our yards. You can check the ground for loose rocks or hard objects around. Roots and weeds also may sprout up that could cause tripping and falls. It’s also good to observe how the play area is after rainfall. Some yards soak in more moisture which could cause slippery spots or muddy areas.

Although it is a rare that something needs to be tended to before kids can start playing in and around their outdoor playhouse, it is always worth to do a full check. The half an hour that it requires is a small effort to make sure that your kids will have a splinter and accident-free playtime in your garden.

Behavior

As it is more difficult to watch out for dangers while having fun, it is a good idea to discuss behavior with kids before they start playing. You can teach them what it means to be safe while playing in the outdoor playhouse, with swings and in the garden in general. Here are behavior tips that you can guide kids with before playing outdoors.

Using equipment: A great rule is only one kid should be using equipment at a time. Ladders should be climbed by a single person at a time. Children should look below and make sure nobody else is at the bottom of the slide before using. There should never be two kids going down or up the slide at the same time. While swings, ladders and climbing ropes are fun, it is easy to fall on top of each other or to forget to let others have a go on it as well. To make sure that all kids can have fun, it can be a good idea to remind them of safety and kindness before heading into the garden.

Play nice: There’s an endless number of games we could come up with for kids. All games could follow some similar basic principles that demonstrate kindness towards each other. Show kids how to play fair and cooperate even with simple games like tag around the outdoor playhouse. Any aggressive behavior with pushing, shoving, hair-pulling or kicking is strongly discouraged.

Empathy: While empathy isn’t exactly a playhouse safety measure, it’s an amazing skill to have. Empathy could be taught at early ages when kids start to socialize. Show them by example how to listen to what the other person is saying. Children are going to experience all sorts of emotions both good and bad. But a child with great listening skills will be better at resolving issues and preventing arguments during playtime.

Additional Playhouse Safety Tips

Even though our wooden playhouses are designed for safe but exciting activities, children do need as much guidance as possible. Proper use of the outdoor playhouse is pretty straight-forward and easy to explain to younger ones. The roof of the playhouse is not meant to be climbed. Climbing the playhouse roof not only could scuff and damage the exterior, but is a safety risk. As the playhouse roof is diagonal and can be slippery, balancing oneself on it is very dangerous and can end with a painful fall.

Wooden playhouses with slides are a thrilling but please use them feet first while going down. Going head first down the slide could cause a hazardous landing with head bumps or scrapes. The swings are always meant for securely sitting rather than standing or climbing. To make sure that friends do not hurt each other by accident, it is good to show kids how far the swings move – making sure that they do not step into the swinging range when their sibling or friend is mid-swing.

As a parents, we want what’s best for your kids which usually requires supervision. It’s good practice to check on them and observe their playing behavior every now and then. You can always give them friendly reminders in case they forget your safety rules over time.

If your wooden playhouse does have additional equipment like swings, ladders, and slides, keep it in your view from the regular home. Sometimes it’s nice to simply look out of your window and make sure everything is fine while the kids play.

Safety Matters

It’s amazing watching our kids grow, develop, and have a great time doing so. We hope you learned some great new tips on keeping your kids safe while they have fun. Playing with safety around the playhouse is easy enough for children to understand. The important part is guiding them in the right direction before developing unsafe habits over time.

"It’s the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives."
-Fred Rogers

Written by WholeWoodPlayhouses

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