We can learn so much from children, especially the importance of running, jumping, and climbing. Children do these things naturally and as adults, many of us lose the ability to perform many of these functional movements.
Why Build a Treehouse?
Climbing is one of the most functional and useful movements we can do, but statistically, most adults can’t do these movements anymore. Could you climb a 20 foot rope right now? What about a 15 foot climbing wall or a fire pole?
My children are still naturally able to climb, and helping them keep and improve this ability was a priority for my husband and I. We saved up and build a treehouse that would provide a place for exercise, climbing, and creative play (the children know all of these activities as “play” or “fun”).
The result was a month-long project that involved the help of grandparents (and the kids), a lot of wood and natural wood stain, and the creation of a treehouse that the kids (and adults!) love. Every aspect of the treehouse, from the zip line to the slide to the monkey bars is strong enough for an adult to use.
Is it Risky?
Some aspects of our treehouse would be considered risky. The zipline starts at a height of 12 feet. The climbing wall is at least that high and they could potentially fall from 8 feet or higher in a number of places. We’ve minimized the potential for them to get seriously injured, but I don’t mind that there is some risk involved.
There is evidence that the over-safe playgrounds we’ve created have a negative effect on our children and that not having this risk is stunting their psychological development.
…the more risks you allow children to take, the better they learn to take care of themselves. If you never let them take any risks, then I believe they become very prone to injury. Boys should be allowed to climb tall trees and walk along the tops of high walls and dive into the sea from high rocks… The same with girls. I like the type of child who takes risks. Better by far than the one who never does so. -Roald Dahl
We consider this treehouse an investment in our children’s health and I love that it is a place where they can spend hours of quality time and make memories.
It wasn’t cheap to build but it was definitely in the same price range as buying a pre-made “safe” play structure that many families have in their backyards (but with a lot more features). We built it strong enough to hold all of our children even when they are teens (in fact, we’ve had 8+ adults up there at once).
The treehouse also encourages my kids to play with each other, and seeing them bond is priceless to me.
We saved and budgeted and made this a priority for them.
How to Build a Treehouse at Home
The deck of the treehouse is 9×16 and supported by a huge pine tree and six 6×6 boards. One side is a climbing wall and a climbing rope that goes to the top of the enclosed clubhouse inside. The deck of the treehouse is 7 feet tall.
On the deck, there is an open area with a railing where the children can play, and a 7×8 enclosed clubhouse area where they can build forts, have camp outs, and play outside even if it is raining. There is a 9 foot speed slide that comes out of the enclosed building.
The zip line attaches to the pine tree and goes to another tree that is over 150 feet away. To use the zip line, the children have to climb up, hold on to the zip line, ride it to the other tree, then run the 150+ feet back to the treehouse for the next person go. They typically do this for an hour or more a day (great exercise).
Under the deck of the treehouse are metal monkey bars, a set of rings/trapeze bar, a cargo net for climbing, two hanging chairs and a hammock. The kids spend time here relaxing and reading.
Treehouse Building Supplies
- six 6×6 boards
- tons of decking boards for the deck and the climbing wall
- wooden siding for the building
- translucent plastic for the roof
- 1 inch metal bars for monkey bars
- A long 2-inch metal pipe for fire pole
- A turbo slide
- 50 natural rock climbing holds
- A climbing rope
- A zip line
- two harnesses for the little kids to use the zipline
- A slack line
- Hammock Chairs
- Rings and Trapeze Combo
- A cargo net
- A simple hammock
- Natural Stain
Take the (virtual) tour here:
Do your kids have a treehouse? What physical activities do you encourage for them to stay fit and active? Share below!