Playhouses For Kids Through The Years
It is difficult to pinpoint when playhouses for kids were first invented. However, any child from any generation would likely remember that at some point in their life, they have played or been in a miniature home where everything was scaled down to child proportions.
Even very young kids can be expected to play house in any corner or small nook such as cupboards and closets with just some simple props and a lot of imagination. Many child behavior specialists attribute this to learning by imitation. A child's home is where they have their first social interaction and learn new things, and so they tend to imitate what they are exposed to in their homes during playtime. Eventually, this will likely evolve into playing shop or doctor or classroom as they grow older and have more social interactions.
The beautiful thing about playhouses is that they address a child's need for privacy and quiet playing. This gives them a sense of independence and responsibility as they can pretend to be little homeowners, shopkeepers, doctors, and other make believe occupations. They can even become educational tools in many preschool yards because they allow children to experience learning outside the classroom in a still-familiar set-up.
Many fond childhood memories typically involve a playhouse. They are considered staples in any youthful existence and have served as inspiration for many forms of literature, songs, and films through the years. Playhouses for kids have become favorite references in different types of media and even in the historical sense. Bart Simpson of The Simpsons cartoon fame has his own tree house which serves as his refuge whenever he is plotting something naughty. Pee-wee Herman hosted a children's show called Playhouse from 1986 to 1990. It was based on a fantasy house in a place called Puppetland, and was filled with talking furniture and amazing gadgets. Songwriter Kenny Loggins made a nostalgic reference to Winnie the Pooh's dwelling with "Return to Pooh Corner", citing playhouse-like details in the process:
So help me if you can Ive got to get
Back to the House At Pooh Corner by one
Youd be surprised theres so much to be done
Count all the bees in the hive
Chase all the clouds from the sky
Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh
Children's literature and theater are rife with playhouse allusions, as well. In the play Peter Pan written by JM Barrie, Wendy falls from the sky onto the ground after being shot by a Lost Boy. To keep her from being exposed in the cold and protect her from being found by Captain Hook, Peter and the Lost Boys built a small house around her on the space where she fell. Today, small playhouses that can accommodate a couple of children are commonly referred to as a Wendy House. They have become fixtures in many British yards and gardens up until today.
Playhouses for kids carry a rich history in different cultures for decades. From simple ones made of cardboard to wooden tree houses, through to more complex gingerbread or Victorian-styled ones complete with porches and flower beds, a playhouse opens its doors wide for a child's imaginative playtime.