Of Tents and Tree Houses: Why Kids Love a Second Home

Eliza Clark
July 7, 2008

Does summertime make you dream of a second home? A getaway ever at the ready, a place for relaxing and dreaming, for hiding from the world, located in a beautiful spot and full of your favorite things....

Well, you are not the only one. Your children want one too -- one of their very own. To get away from what? From you, of course!

Shel Silverstein says it best in his poem "Tree House" --

"A tree house, a free house,
A secret you and me house,
A high up in the leafy branches
Cozy as can be house.

A street house, a neat house,
Be sure and wipe your feet house
Is not my kind of house at all--
Let's go live in a tree house."

Your child's hideaway doesn't have to be a tree house, however (probably safer for preschoolers anyway...). In fact, it doesn't even need to be outside. A tent or any other sort of play-space will do nicely at this age, whether it be out on the lawn, or in a corner of the living room.

The good news is that there are many delightful play tents to choose from, and most are reasonably priced. For your perusal, may we suggest the Thomas the Tank Train Engine Tent (a sure hit with the train-obsessed), the adorable Cottage House Tent, the Little Red School House Tent, or if you want to go all out with tunnels and interconnected play tents, the Playhut Mega Land.

Another idea is the Fortamajig -- a fabulous solution to the vexing, age-old problem of collapsing homemade forts (blankets slipping off chairs). The Fortamajig is a thingamajig that helps kids builds forts (of course it is!). Velcro loops (24 in total) are sewn at well-positioned points on this 8x8 foot square of brightly colored nylon rip-stop. Attach the loops to any stable objects (table, railing, tree) and presto - your child's new play space is ready. It's durable, versatile, washable, easily storable, and nothing short of ingenious.

So there you have it. Bet you never figured that a second home was so easy to come by.

p.s. If you're still dreaming about a tree house (we certainly are), take a look at the portfolio of the TreeHouse Workshop which custom designs and builds the most astonishing tree houses we've ever seen. Or if anyone in your family is a serious do-it-yourself type, you'll want a copy of Treehouses and Playhouses You Can Build.

From the Parents

  • Parent # 1

    If you have an Ikea near you, they sell an igloo facade blue tent for kids - it's exceptionally roomy [even I fit in with the kids to read and wrestle] inside. $10. And yes, the quality is great! Easy to take down and put up. Add a matching tunnel, for $18 is even more fun!

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 2

    The Fortamajig has won awards from Parents Choice and Dr. Toy, so we think it must be pretty great. -- Being Savvy

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 3

    The Fortamajig looks so fun! My daughters love building forts with blankets but get frustrated when they inevitably fall apart as the blankets slip. Has anybody tried this? I'd love to hear personal experience before buying it, and there weren't any reviews on Amazon.

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 4

    Well I wood like one of those treehouses myself, they are nicer than some homes I've seen.

    over a year ago


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