Head Judge: Andrew Wilcox
Channel 4’s Head Judge & Founder of Shed of the Year Andrew Wilcox has worked to help design an impartial judging system for WhatShed. The judging system uses many different parameters to help give a large degree of impartiality to the way we select products for each of the league tables we do. You can read more about the system here.
A toddler playhouse isn’t just a way to show your children that you love them, it’s an investment in their future. High quality playhouses help youngsters keep fit and expand their horizons, as well as helping them develop the social skills that will be so important in their later life. With a large number on the market, it can seem difficult deciding which model is ideal for you and your little ones. That’s why WhatShed have created this handy guide to help you find the best toddler playhouse available to buy online in the UK today.
At WhatShed we’ve reviewed all kinds of garden building, so we know what makes one toddler playhouse shine more brightly than another. We also wanted to make sure that each playhouse in our league table was easy to find and buy, so we’ve only considered playhouses that are sold by the UK’s ten leading garden building retailers who between them account for more than 95% of the online market today. more...
When researching toddler playhouses, we managed to find 15 high quality models deserving a place in our league table. We differentiated them based upon price and value, durability, looks, and how useful they are for young children.
Our first task when compiling this league table was to decide just what a toddler playhouse was. Safety was the first concern of course, so we only considered playhouses built on one level. We also favoured those with simple entrances that young hands can operate, rather than stable type doors that we often find used on playhouses for slightly older children. Styrene rather than glass was a must of course, and we ensured that all entries met the appropriate European safety standards.
This criteria reduced the pool of playhouses that could be chosen from, but we were pleased to find fifteen playhouses very deserving of their place. In a very diverse and competitive league table, it’s well done to the five foot by five foot Buttercup playhouse, which thanks to its great value for money, attractive wooden design, long warranty period and accommodating dimensions is named the number one toddler playhouse that can be bought online in the UK right now. From playhouses to summer houses, WhatShed bring you the in depth reviews that can help you make an ideal purchase.
Adley 5' x 5' Jellytot Buttercup Playhouse
A high quality toddler playhouse should be a great place for your children or grandchildren to play and relax in, but it’s even better when it enhances your garden as well. That’s just what this buttercup playhouse achieves, bringing benefits for the whole family. Made out of of smooth planed tongue and groove timber, it is styled like a small chalet or summer house, and it caught our eye from the moment we saw it. When it’s painted or stained, as we recommend with any wooden garden building, it should look just as attractive to young eyes as well. We were also pleased to find that it comes with a long 10 year warranty against rot as well, and this winning combination of looks and durability make this an obvious choice to top our league table.
This is also the second largest toddler playhouse in our list, with a base area of 1.57 x 1.56m, so the youngsters will still have lots of room to play in it even when they’re a little older. A flower pattern on the door is a nice decorative touch that we imagine will be particularly appreciated by toddlers, and there are two large square windows so that it’s easy to see what your youngster is up to inside the playhouse. Another feature we especially liked is the overhanging apex roof, as it creates a nicely shaded area outside the doorway.
4 x 4 Waltons Honeypot Bluebell Toddler Playhouse
This is similar in some ways to the excellent toddler playhouse that took the number one position in our league table, but for the fact that it has a slightly smaller base area, with a width of 1.66m and a depth of 1.27. There’s still more than enough room for a toddler to have fun in, however, and they could even fit a friend or two inside. Also missing, when compared to the version we looked at earlier, is the overhanging roof canopy, but this helps to keep the cost down. At a price of less than a hundred and forty pounds, we feel this represents outstanding value for money, and it’s this that helps it gain our league table’s runner up spot.
Once again we were impressed by the high standard components used. The tongue and groove cladding is 12mm thick, which is as thick as we find on many high end garden sheds. This makes this toddler playhouse very strong and sturdy, and we were pleased to find a 10 year warranty included as well, creating even more value for money. It was also good to see that floor bearers had been integrated, lifting the floor above ground level and therefore protecting the playhouse as a whole from the rot-causing threat of ground moisture.
4x4 Rowlinson Little Lodge Traditional Kids Wooden Playhouse
When we review Rowlinson garden buildings we invariably find that they are attractive and durable, with a reasonable price tag attached too. We were very pleased then to find that these same qualities applied to their toddler playhouse, which is why it gains a place within the top three of our league table. Once again this is a very attractive building in its own right, this time taking its inspiration, it seems to us, from Victorian or Edwardian garden buildings. That’s because it has a plethora of glazing across the front, including a half glazed single wooden door.
With glazing running across the full width of this toddler playhouse, which is 1.16m as opposed to the 1.12m depth, you won’t have to worry about being able to see what your child is doing. It also means that they’ll be able to look out at the wonderful scenes of the garden around them, from butterflies to birds hopping along the lawn. Inculcating a love of nature is just one thing that this well built playhouse can do, as there’s also more than enough room inside for a good selection of games to be stored. We were impressed with the 10 year guarantee supplied by the manufacturer as well, as this is an indication of the quality of materials that they’ve used throughout.
BillyOh Lollipop Junior Playhouse
The BillyOh range of garden buildings includes lots of playhouses, but this is the only one which we feel is particularly suitable for the youngest children. We were pleased to find however, that it demonstrates the high build and design quality that we’ve come to expect from this manufacturer, which is why it gains the privileged position of being the fourth toddler playhouse within our league table.
We were pleased to find that tongue and groove cladding had been used for the walls, as it locks tightly together and therefore ensures that rainwater is kept out. Precipitation is also carried away by the relatively tall apex roof, so you won’t have to worry about keeping any toys inside this spacious toddler playhouse dry. This is also the largest playhouse in our top fifteen list, with a base area of 1.62 x 1.73m. That means there’s enough room for children up to six years of age to play in, making this a playhouse that your children and grandchildren can grow into over the years. It comes with a five year warranty, and although we would have liked this to be even longer as those given with our top three playhouses are, we still feel it represents very good value for money at less than two hundred pounds, especially as it also has a fun lollipop stick style picket fence.
4x4 Forest Charlie Traditional Kids Playhouse With Stable Door
This is the first toddler playhouse in our league table to be made of moulded plastic rather than wood, and whilst it may lack the sophistication and elegance of those above it in our list, it scores very highly in another extremely important area – fun. It’s not only the design of the playhouse itself, which is designed to look like an attractive and colourful house, which we liked, but also the fact that it comes with lots of additional extras that the youngsters in your family are sure to enjoy.
Based upon a picnic theme, it comes with an attractive and sturdy table underneath one of the windows. There are also nineteen different accessories, from frying pans and cutlery, to corn on the cobs and hot dogs. It brought a smile to our face, and little ones will hours of fun as they play at cooking and eating meals in and around their toddler playhouse. This also encourages sharing with friends, of course, and with base dimensions of 1.68 x 0.93m there’s enough room for two or three toddlers. There’s also a doorbell that plays six fun sounds, and although you will need to buy batteries separately for this, we feel the asking price of not much more than two hundred pounds is more than reasonable considering all that comes with it.
Forest 4x4 Charlie Playhouse
This isn’t the most complex or intricately designed timber toddler playhouse, which is why it doesn’t feature as high up the league table as some of its wooden counterparts. It has a square design around a base size of approximately four foot by four foot, with one square window alongside a single hinged door. Its simplicity does bring with it some advantages however, as it is in effect a blank canvas that you can paint, stain and shape however you want, and for that reason it’s suitable for both boys and girls.
We feel that a good window is essential for a good toddler playhouse, as it ensures that the interior is well illuminated, as well as allowing children to see outside and parents to see in. That’s why we were pleased to find that even though this playhouse has only one window, it is generously sized. It was also reassuring to see that styrene had been used for the glazing, as this is a tough and shatter resistant material, as well as being a cost effective glazing choice that helps to keep the asking price for customers down. With a 10 year warranty included as well, this has a lot to recommend it, even though we were a little disappointed to see that the floor had to be purchased as an optional extra for a further twenty pounds.
4x4 Forest Charlie Traditional Kids Playhouse With Stable Door
To a young child’s eyes, a well designed and colourful toddler playhouse must seem to be one of the most attractive things of all, and this particular playhouse is one of the most colourful and alluring of them all thanks to its pre-painted plastic construction. What makes this different from any other plastic playhouse we’ve reviewed, and it’s a fun feature that helps cement its place within the top half of our league table, is that it also has an easy to fit extension with a roll up canopy door, and an eye catching garden design on the outside.
In effect this means that there are two exciting play areas for the price of one in this toddler playhouse, as well as a variety of textures and colours that will intrigue developing minds. The main body of the playhouse itself is constructed from blow moulded plastic, making it sturdy and resilient, and it’s pink colour scheme is sure to appeal to the Disney loving princess in your life. As is common with many plastic playhouses we review, there is no extended warranty period, but as we found the components used to be tough and well constructed you shouldn’t let this put you off adding this to your girl’s playhouse shortlist.
Feber Fantasy House
This plastic toddler playhouse brings with it two features that help it gain a deserved place in the middle of our top fifteen list. Firstly, it’s the second least expensive of all the playhouses to feature within our league table, meaning that your toddler can have a play area of their very own to enjoy for an outlay of only around eighty pounds. This also includes a two year guarantee, which may not sound a lot but it’s double the warranty period we find on most plastic playhouses that have higher asking prices.
The other unique benefit of this toddler playhouse is that it’s foldable. We all know how messy having a toddler in our lives can be, so it was good to find that this red, green and blue playhouse can simply be folded down and then stored away until it’s called into action again. We were also pleased to find that this toddler playhouse was larger than we would ordinarily have expected at such a low and affordable price, with a base area of 1.02 x 0.90m, and a peak height of 1.11m. Made of tough and weather resistant polypropylene it’s suitable for use indoors or out, and being lightweight it’s easy to transport in or out of the house depending upon the weather.
LittleTom Childrens Playhouse
Little Tikes are a big name in the toddler playhouse market, and we fully understand why. We’ve reviewed lots of their plastic playhouses, and whilst they have a very diverse range they all feature exciting, colourful and vibrant designs that are specially designed to appeal to youngsters. This is a perfect example of what they do best, as whilst it has a house like shape, every wall has its own particular colour and design. It’s a simple and effective idea that we really liked, as it means that your toddlers can have four times the fun without getting bored.
This toddler playhouse is made of moulded plastic, and that brings with it two very important benefits. Firstly it’s very strong, stable and weather resistant, and secondly it’s very quick and easy to assemble. If you’re not too sure of your DIY skills this could be a great choice, as it can take only an hour or two to put together and install and of course you won’t have to paint it as you would if you purchased one of the wooden toddler playhouses in our league table. There are lots of openings and windows as well, which is a feature we always appreciate as it gives constant reassurance to parents looking on. It’s not cheap, which accounts for its lower positioning than some plastic playhouses, but it does have a lot to offer.
4x4 Windsor Snug Childrens/ Kids Wooden Garden Playhouse
Rounding off the top ten of this WhatShed toddler playhouse league table is this wooden model made by Windsor, and which has a base area of approximately four foot by four foot. It’s the lowest placed timber playhouse in our list, but that’s purely because it is the only wooden building here without an extended warranty added on to the statutory one year guarantee. If you don’t mind adding annual coatings of wood preserver therefore to keep the threat of wet rot at bay, you may want to move this further up your shortlist.
One unique feature of this toddler playhouse, and it’s one that we found both fun and useful, is that the flower design on the door has a clear round porthole in its centre. Little ones will love standing behind to the door and looking out at their surroundings, and with a felt covered apex roof and tightly interlocking tongue and groove timber cladding, this can be an ideal all weather play area for your young children or grandchildren to enjoy. There are three further windows as well, in larger square shaped designs, so the interior will be flooded with light and warmth on a sunny day, and we were pleased to find that once again tough and safe styrene glazing had been used.
Keter Holiday Playhouse
We’ve always been impressed when we review Keter sheds and workshops, and we’re just as impressed with this, their toddler playhouse as well. They’ve turned away of course from the contemporary styling that they’re famous for, but have instead come up with something that’s bright and eye catching, and lots of fun. It’s also by far the cheapest playhouse in our league table, with a price tag of just over seventy pounds which we feel represents excellent value for money considering that it comes from such a reputable manufacturer, and considering that it has an accommodating base area of 1.18 x 0.99m.
The main body of this toddler playhouse is white, but it has detailing that’s picked out in vibrant, almost luminous colours. For example, there’s a bright blue roof, an orange door, and lime green ledges underneath the open windows. It was good to see that the moulded plastic also had extra detailing on it to add to the fun, including tulips growing up from the ground and a mailbox. If you want a durable toddler playhouse, and this one comes with a two year guarantee rather than the one year that we usually see with plastic models, at a very affordable price, then this could be your perfect purchase.
4x4 Forest Charlie Traditional Kids Playhouse With Stable Door
If you have a log cabin in your garden, and young children or grandchildren, then this toddler playhouse is a perfect and low cost accessory. Like all within the Little Tikes range is built from tough moulded plastic, but on this occasion it’s been given a log cabin like design that will allow your little ones to enjoy a stylish garden building of their very own. With a base area of 1.45 x 1.22m as well, there’s more than enough room to accommodate a couple of friends or siblings as well.
The plastic logs themselves look quite realistic but we were pleased to see that there were also brightly coloured windows and a bright green apex roof that’s sure to catch the eye and fire the imagination of little ones. Another fun feature which we liked was the inclusion of a yellow coloured play phone, so that little ones can pretend to be having a conversation with their friends. This is not only highly enjoyable for them, it also helps to build confidence and those all important communication skills. This is the most expensive playhouse in our league table, which accounts for its position in the final third, but it’s very well designed and built, so we feel it should prove to be very durable, and therefore good value for money.
Indoor & Outdoor Summer Garden Happy House Kids Fun Playhouse
This is one of the smaller playhouses from Little Tikes to feature within our league table, with a 1.28 x 0.94m base area, but that’s because it has been designed especially to appeal to toddlers who are only just gaining their feet and beginning to explore their surroundings. For that reason this is a toddler playhouse that has quite a simple design, which is one of the reasons why it has a relatively low position within our list, but we still liked the vibrant yellow of the house and the contrasting red and green areas.
This toddler playhouse is designed to stimulate the senses, and one way it does this is through different textures on the blow moulded plastic, with a cobble styled relief at the bottom giving way to an imitation wooden plank effect. What we liked most about it however is the ‘magic doorbell’ that gives it its name. Push the button, and one of six fun sounds will be played. We’d recommend having some spare ‘AA’ batteries to hand, because it’s sure to get used over and over again. We also liked the plastic shutters next to one of the two windows, which can be used to add shade or simply as an extra fun and yet educational element as your toddlers play at having their own house.
4x4 Forest Charlie Traditional Kids Playhouse With Stable Door
This is the fifth toddler playhouse from Little Tikes to gain a spot in our top fifteen league table, which just goes to show not only how wide their range is but also how high quality their products are. If they only provided an extended warranty as well then many of their playhouses, including this one, would have gained an even higher position. As it is, the one year warranty and above average price tag of almost three hundred pounds sees this claim the penultimate spot, but we still found a lot to like about it.
This particular toddler playhouse has been designed with little girls in mind, as the predominant colour used is a very vibrant pink. It really caught our eye, so we feel sure it will do the same for any young girls in your family. We were glad to see that it also includes accessories in the shape of a play phone, as well as a sink and stove unit. If your toddlers love to watch you at work in the kitchen, or like to play at preparing and serving meals, then this could be their perfect playhouse, and it’s large enough to accommodate up to three toddlers in comfort at any one time.
Kiddiewinkles Rose Cottage and Tea Shop Playhouse, Small
The final toddler playhouse in our WhatShed guide to the very best young children’s playhouses, is like no other entry. That’s because it’s made of neither timber nor plastic, but instead has a fabric covering. This brings with it the advantages of a plastic substrate in that it can’t rot or rust, and yet it’s even more lightweight and is very easy to assemble.
We are sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how tough this toddler playhouse is, and that’s because the fabric covering is supported by a strong metal frame. We also found it very attractive, from the pink and white gingham roof in an apex design to the two scenes depicted on the front and back: one depicting a garden full of flowers and butterflies, and the other a tea shop complete with pictures of a tea pot, cups and cakes. That means there’s two scenarios to engage the minds of your youngsters, and with a base area of 1.34 x 1.10m they can bring a friend or two along to their tea shop or garden as well. We also liked the way that there are pretty white curtains inside, and that the two doors can be safely tied up to make entering and exiting easy. It’s only the relatively high price tag that sees this innovative toddler playhouse occupy the foot of our league table.