Those Andy and Terry Treehouse books have a lot to answer for. (If your kids or grandkids are too young to be into them yet, don’t worry, they will be in time.) With an ever-increasing number of wild and crazy levels (130 storeys at last count) they set the bar pretty high for what a kid can imagine a cubby to be.
While Andy and Terry’s bowling alley and see through swimming pool may not be achievable, it’s fun to let your mind loose on what can be created with a bit of imagination.
To get the ball rolling, why not get your little people to draw a picture of a cubby house for inspiration? It might not ‘translate’ to something you can actually build, but it might just get you thinking outside of the box and give you an insight into what little features you can add that they will love.
Don’t feel pressured to create the perfect, Instagram-worthy play paradise – unless, of course, you want to. The kids won’t care if it’s retro-cool, painted in this season’s hottest trend colour or filled with designer homewares. They’ll just be happy to have their very own place to hang out and play to their heart’s content.
The truth is, you can have a lot of fun creating something your kids will love with very little. And if you’re not in a position to build a permanent fixture or you don’t have a backyard, there are lots of portable or transient options that can be loads of fun for little people whether they are indoors or out. All you need is a big cardboard box and voila – you have a cubby.
If you’re thinking about creating a cubby house for your kids or grandkids, it will be way more fun if you get them involved in the planning and building or decorating stages. Yes, it might take three times as long as if you did it yourself, and yes, you will undeniably need plenty of patience and possibly band aids on hand, but it will be totally worth it. In the long run, what you’ll end up creating is a cubby that is truly theirs (which means they will love it even more), not to mention memories that will last a lifetime.
You can create a super-cute playland for your little people in the space of an afternoon by choosing ready-made or ready-to-assemble play equipment available from stores like Bunnings or Mr Toys Toyworld. Take a look at the fun play area created at Endeavour Foundation’s Prize Home at Peregian Springs on the Sunshine Coast for inspiration. By adding gorgeous finishing touches like flower pots and an outdoor table, you can create a space that will keep your little people busy for hours. Best of all, if you move (or win the Prize Home and decide to sell) you can take it all with you!
In the sustainable spirit of reusing and recycling, why not challenge yourself to build a cubby made from reclaimed materials? Not only will it be a whole lot cheaper than building with new materials, but it will also be a whole lot better for the environment. You can pick up free items on your local Buy Swap Sell page or scour your local demolition yard (that’s ‘demo yard’ for those in the know) for the bits you need. If you didn’t even know these places existed prepare to have your mind blown. Demo yards are filled with seemingly endless rows and piles of building materials pulled out of demolished buildings. You’ll find anything from timber, windows and doors to tiles, cupboards and kitchen sinks. Google ‘demolition yard’ or ask around to see if there’s one not far from you.
If you choose to go down this path, it’s easier, and more fun, to have an open mind and allow your cubby design to evolve from the materials you find rather than trying to find things to suit a pre-determined plan. This type of cubby building is definitely something kids can get into and you won’t have to worry if they’re doing it right. You’ll also be teaching them a valuable lesson for the future that making do with something that old can be even better than buying something new. With a bit of ingenuity and creativity the finished product is sure to be something that will fire your little person’s imagination and be the envy of all the kids that visit.
Adding some kind of lighting adds a whole other dimension to a cubby or treehouse and opens up wonderful opportunities for night time adventures. It could be as simple as screwing in a hook into the roof to hang a camp lantern (battery operated of course) or tent light. Or for a twinkly, magical touch, string up some solar-powered fairy lights.
Cubby’s aren’t only reserved for the outdoors. You can have fun helping your little people to create an awesome cubby in their bedroom, under the dining table or smack bang in the middle of your lounge room.
All you need is a couple of blankets and some chairs, stools or trestle legs, plus a few pegs to hold it all together. Your kids will love creating something spectacular and adjusting it until it’s just right. Line the floor with cushions and you can even add a little strand of battery-operated fairy lights (you can find them in Kmart) to make it extra special. If you set the kids up with books and snacks and you could lose them in there for hours. And don’t be surprised if they protest loudly when it’s time to pack it up.
For sweet dreams, you can even rig up a tent over the top of their beds or construct something more permanent from timber. If you’re not sure about doing it yourself, check out the cute cubby beds or ‘house’ beds that are available from furniture stores.
Of course, if you have the space, time, and inclination, don’t hold back with your cubby-building dreams.
Your only limitation is your imagination… and possibly your local council’s building regulations. If you are planning a backyard mini-mansion or epic sky-high treehouse, it could be a good idea to check if planning permission is required, or if there are any limitations or requirements for what you create.
It’s also important to consider your neighbours too. Funnily enough, they may not be thrilled about your bug-eyed little cherub looking down into their bedroom from the new treehouse lookout you’ve constructed.
For your chance to win the cute backyard cubby at our Peregian Springs Prize Home (not to mention the gorgeous home to go with it) make sure you grab a ticket in our Prize Home lottery. This beautiful home, overlooking the Peregian Springs Golf Course, is now open for inspection from 10am to 5pm daily until 3 September 2020. Find out more details and directions here. If you can’t get there in person, or you just can’t wait, take a virtual tour of this impressive home now.
When you buy a ticket in an Endeavour Foundation Lottery your support is helping to provide the care and resources needed to keep people with intellectual disability active, safe and connected during these uncertain times.