With our modern day living unfortunately our kids as well as us have gotten away from the simple things in life which includes the beauty and gifts of nature. For many of us in our childhood a simple tree fort would bring many hours of joy. Now unless the fort is constructed like a mini lodge it holds no meaning.

As parent’s perhaps we can turn this around by building a playhouse from nature that will not only provide some wonderful interaction as we go about building it, but show the kids that fun doesn’t have to have a huge price tag attached to it.

willow play house


Making a willow den is a cheap, affordable and sustainable way of making an outdoor playhouse in the garden.  And what’s more they are heaps of fun to make!

Children will develop all sorts of skills in the process from problem solving, creative design, resourcefulness and learning about plant propagation.

A willow den can last for years, but if the elements should take their toll they are much easier to patch up than bought playhouses.  Living willow dens are best made in Spring.  You can leave it to grow really wild or prune it to keep it in shape.

For your willow den you will need:

  • Willow whips -Salix Viminalis is the best variety if buying. (See below)
  • String
  • Digging implements

For the full and very informative instructions go here

The sunflower playhouse:

sunflower playhouseimage source:rootsandwings

Now for this sunflower version of a playhouse it is going to take some patience while waiting for the sunflowers to grow and fill in, but what fun this will be as the children are filled with anticipation as the weeks go by and each day their new abode seems to fill in just a little bit more…

String Bean Tee Pee

stringbean playhouse

image source;rootsandwings

This tee pee version playhouse will fill in a little faster as the bean plants tend to grow quite fast. For full instructions click on the image source.

woodtwig playhouseimage source:letthechildrenplay

It doesn’t just have to be twigs and vines that you can turn into a outdoor getaway. Gather up some of those old logs and tree stumps and let your imagination go to work for you.


If you just don’t have access to the trees and vines, then consider building a elf cave out of cement.

If you are going to take on this project then you want to be sure that you do safely and here are the complete instructions to help you with that.
Now while we think about outdoor forts and playhouses for the summer, we need to include some winter fun too. What would be more fun than a snow fort or igloo!. This one is pretty elaborate…

If the block cutting is a little bit too much work for you then think about a snow fort:


While building any of these different types of forts and playhouses can be fun, be absolutely sure that you do so safely. Children can get buried easily under melting snow, or heavy brush that has collapsed. Make sure that you follow all of the safety precautions and that the children are supervised when playing with the diy living playhouses.


If you have enjoyed these living playhouse ideas, but perhaps want something not quite so rustic yet still within the keeping of DIY then check out of great post on DIY Playhouses the Kids Will Go Crazy Over

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