After only two years of use, the playhouse in our children’s library finally broke. The door had fallen off the hinges, making it look more like a playshack than a playhouse.
We didn’t want to spend money on something that was just going to break again in a few years, so we weren’t sure how to replace it. But then I saw this viral video:
So I thought, instead of buying a new playhouse that’s just going to break, how about buy these giant blocks and kids can build their own playhouse! Or really–anything they want! Like these kids that made a car:
Using the site’s “3D Virtual Builder” I figured I would need about 70 blocks worth about $500 to start making a decent playhouse. In the end, the director decided to go with half that: 2 sets of 18 block pack for about $250, which was around the cost of our original playhouse. That ended up being the right call for our trial run.
Each block is made of heavy duty plastic and measures 6″ x 6″ x 12″.
When we got our two boxes, we were REALLY surprised by how heavy they were. Each box weighed about 40 lbs. and with 18 blocks in a box, that means each block is over 2 lbs. We should have realized they would have been heavy, since they can be used to build actual walls, like in the video. I became worried that a large tower, if knocked over, would equal A LOT of weigh and might hurt someone if they weren’t looking.
We tried posting a series of rules so that parents would know how to play with the blocks properly. But kids were still building too high. In the end I went with a more visual way to show how kids should play with the blocks.
The line is about three feet from the ground, so that’s six blocks high. Parents now understand the expectations a lot better and are much more likely to intervene. I’ve noticed that I’ve had to go over to the play corner a lot less and explain proper use of the blocks. And it’s now a lot easier to explain to people.
So the end result has been mostly positive. It promotes constructive play and family engagement, but it’s also much more cost effective than buying something that will just break again. Kids do miss having a playhouse, and some kids don’t really get the concept yet that they can now make their own.
But some kids have REALLY taken to the idea, and I’ve seen a few houses and castles pop up. Whatever gets built usually gets destroyed and rebuilt a different way in a matter of hours, so we are already getting our money’s worth I feel. And with the safety measures in place, I feel that kids will be enjoying these for years to come.
Here’s a few more of my favorite creations that kids made:
And this kid made a dog house!!