Kids love to play outside, so an outside playroom full of toys and equipment can double the fun. When planning your design, ask the kids what kind of features they would like, and let them help with steps like painting and decorating.
Step One - Choose an Area
Find an area in your yard that is flat, without dips or large rocks. Pick a spot that a parent could watch from a window inside the house. Also, try to choose one that has very good drainage—it should not be close to a swimming pool.
For safety, keep the playroom away from the view of the street. Choose a cool location, either in a shaded spot in the yard or on the north side of the home where the sun doesn’t shine all day.
Think about the landscaping around the playroom, and be sure there are no valuable or important plants nearby. You can create a functional and attractive landscape around the playroom while putting in plants that won’t be harmed by running feet and balls that have gone astray.
Step Two - Determine the Dimensions of Your New Outside Playroom
Once you have chosen a spot to place your new outdoor playroom, you'll need to decide what size you would like to make it. Choose a size that is big enough for the kids to enjoy themselves, but will also fit within your budget as far as materials are concerned.
Keep in mind that a standard sized bedroom in an average home is about 12 feet by 12 feet. Do you want the feel of small playhouse? Or do you want to create a large outdoor play space?
Step Three - Building the Frame
Next, construct a wooden frame for a single level playroom using 2x4 lumber pieces. Then, use ¾-inch plywood and attach it to the frame to make the exterior walls. Be sure to leave openings for windows and a door. Instead of using glass in the windows, you may consider using acrylic or plexi-glass as they are much safer. Also consider using screens or no windows— just open spaces. This is an outdoor playroom, and you want to protect from the weather but still give the feel of outdoors.
Step Four - The Floor and Roof
The next step is to install the flooring. Use sheets of ¾-inch plywood over the flooring studs (2x6 or 2x8 boards). Optionally, you could install a concrete foundation, though this would be much more expensive and take a lot more time to complete. Concrete would create a permanent rather than a temporary room.
A peaked roof will last longer than a flat roof. Add shingles for insulation and durability.
Step Five - Installing the Door
Choose a door that is light and inexpensive. Bedroom or bathroom doors are great for this purpose. Optionally, you can choose not to install any door at all, or use a modified Dutch door (half door). This will make it easy for you to see inside the room while your children are playing. The ideal outdoor playroom will be easy to monitor from the house.
Step Six - Finishing Up
Finally, paint the outdoor children's play room to match the color and style of your home. For durability, you can install vinyl siding instead of painting.
Use your imagination while furnishing the interior of the playroom. You can fill it with exercise or small playground equipment. Try rubber activity mats on the floor for a safe and easy to clean surface.
Since the room is outdoors and can be cleaned easily, you could add play spaces for water or sand. Try a sand table with colored sand or a tub with rice for hours of creative play.
You can create a small loft for older children, with a ladder, railing and a gate that can be locked to keep younger children safe.
Furnish the room with easy-to-clean plastic furniture, or add some fun, overstuffed furniture in bright kid-friendly colors to create a retreat they will love.
Consider dividing the room into different spaces, such as an area for active play, an area for dress up and make-believe, and an area for a hideout. Use blankets, sheets or large pillows to make a “fort” area for pretend play.
With a little work and imagination, you can create an outdoor playroom that will delight your children and help you maintain order inside your home.