We built this clubhouse for the kids in the late spring, but we started thinking about it, planning it and talking to the kids about their ideas a couple months before. And if you are planning ahead now, you might be able to take your time to watch prices on some of the supplies and score some great deals.
Since my husband was pretty much building this by himself (I would do the gardening and watch the kids, but was free to offer management and ideas) it was not a quick build. And because we wanted quality piece of play equipment that would last through the years and grow with the children, it wasn’t a cheap build. Sometimes you do need to invest money in something for it to last a long time and in the long run you will get your money out of it.
Building a clubhouse with a wooden platform on bottom and top, as well as 4 solid walls can cost a lot more than building a simple playset. I had been researching playsets and frankly, the reviews on the ones we could afford made them seen questionable. We did not want to throw away money. Also many of the “affordable” build-it-yourself playsets are smaller in scale and I was afraid that my kids would outgrow it too quickly, not to mention that we only have a 1/2 mile walk to the park where we can use all this equipment and we go have a couple good trees in the backyard to hang swings and rings from.
We had decided on a clubhouse because long after my daughter is done wanting to swing and slide, she will still appreciate a place go hide out and read. We also wanted a place with a “stage” and an “outdoor puppet theater”, as well as a place for the kids to climb and hangout on top and feel like they have a tree house or that they are defending their castle.
I admit that my role was more supervisory & budgetary and my husband did pretty much all the physical work.
We did run in to a hiccup when we thought about putting a slide at the top and realized that the platform for the slide meant we would have to invest in a $550 tube slide, which was not in the budget. So, we change our plans and sought suggestions from my daughter regarding what type of accessories she would like. We decided to add a monkey bars set, purchase a trapeze bar & rings to hang from the tree and move the swing to hang from one section of the beam supporting the monkey bars. Attached to the other section is this cool homemade standing skateboard swing that my husband came up with using thick, sturdy rope and a skateboard deck he found in a rummage sale free box.
We also added several accessory toys to the top level of the clubhouse that included a telescope, periscope and steering wheel. I was able to buy some these items and the poles for monkey bars and handle bars by using Amazon gift certificates that I earned from Swagbucks. So, that helped offset the bottom line cost.
For seating inside & on the top level of the clubhouse we used some outdoor tables and chairs that were not really being used.
We do have plans to add shutters to the windows and some sort of door, but that will wait until next year. Also, I do have plans to use a leftover crib mattress to make a small day bed that the kids can use to lay on and relax when they want to read outdoors. I am sure we will come up with other ideas for additions as we see how our children and their friends play with it. My daughter has already suggested a pulley of some sorts to send things from the bottom level to the top level.
They have had a good time playing with it and already I can see that the investment of time and money in making this was worth it.