One of the best toys I bought for my kids when they were small was…
Ask any child psychologist and they will tell you that a child needs to have their own personal space in their home, a sanctuary if you will, and a place that they can call their own. If you have several children and they are sharing bedrooms this becomes even more important. Thus, one of the best things that you can do for them, especially the younger ones, is to give them some type of Playhouse.
One of the reasons that this is so important is that children, even from the age of 1 year, are already beginning to build their ‘sense of self’. They realize that they are a separate person and begin to develop a sense of independence. While this might induce them to start saying ‘no’ to everything you say it also means that they will be exploring their new skills and testing their limits. Thus, giving them a small place to call their own is of great importance.
A playhouse can do just that by giving them a space that is completely theirs and has a door on it that they can ‘close’ to the outside world. This will be their ‘retreat’ and give them a place to go when they need quiet time or want to enter into their own little world, even if it’s only to take a nap. Giving them the freedom to do this at any time they please will boost their self-esteem greatly and assure them that they always have a place where they can go and be in control.
Not only are playhouses excellent retreats but they are also a place where your child’s imagination can be let free and where their creativity can take flight. Once they organise their playhouse they will suddenly become the king or queen of their own kingdom or anything or anyone else they might imagine themselves being. This imagination and creation time is invaluable to their growth as human beings.
Many people think that play houses are just for girls but in fact they are quite valuable for boys as well. With a little imagination and the right playhouse and the boy can transport himself into outer space, the high seas as a pirate or to the scene of a fire as a fireman. Many pre-fabricated playhouses are made to look like space capsules, pirate ships and so forth and the realism that this adds can spur their imagination even further.
Depending on where in the country you live you can sometimes even put their playhouse outside or create a clubhouse or tree-house as well. In many cases these ‘homes away from home’ can be a great place for children to learn social skills that will be invaluable to do in the future. For mum and dad it can also be a great way to get the munchkins out of the house and out from under foot once in a while.
No matter what type of play house you choose, whether it’s a midsleeper bed with a playhouse beneath or something made from plastic or cardboard that stands on its own, the benefit that your child will receive from having one is immeasurable. Just as an adult feels safe and secure in their home a child will feel the same in their playhouse and the emotional maturity that this can bring can be a benefit later in life.