kids playhouse simple

DIY cubby house – Is it the right choice for me?

A cubby house is a perfect option if you’re looking for a fun and functional addition to your backyard. Not only will your kids love having their own space to play in, but a well-built cubby house can also provide storage space for toys and other items. To help you get started, I’ve put together my top tips for deciding whether a DIY or flat pack kids cubby house is the right choice for you.

A cubby house is a great way to get your kids out of the house and away from the screens.


Before you begin, it’s important to have a clear idea of what your finished product looks like. You could sketch out a plan on paper or have a go at some 3D rendering software. I’ve drawn up a few of my favourite projects using Sketchup (free version) to help me visualise my designs.

Look for some inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram to get a feel for what is possible and also realistic.

kids cubby playhouse and play area

There are some really elaborate designs out there but you need to stick within your skill and comfort zone. A cubby can also be so much more. Think about what your kids like about the local park play equipment. How can you integrate this into your design? Maybe you will add a few of these ideas to increase the playability of the cubby:

  • swing or swings
  • climbing wall
  • slide
  • fireman’s pole
  • lookout tower
  • ladder to a second level
  • climbing rope
  • monkey bars
  • sandpit
  • hammock
  • swinging egg seat

I’m sure you can think of some more but you can really make the cubby an adventure play area without too much difficulty.


Have a think about your budget as this will influence how far you can go with this project. A DIY cubby house is great for saving money but you will need to invest more time into the overall project. You can also use free and reclaimed materials if you take the time to look around. Just try not to fall into that trap of hoarding loads of materials that you simply don’t need. Go for the best of the best free stuff only if possible.

Flat pack kits will be available in many different sizes and shapes and the overall price will differ depending on what you want.

How long will it take to build my own kids cubby playhouse?

This can very much depend on the size and complexity of your DIY design. Smaller, simple designs can take a couple of days whereas a more elaborate one could take a couple of weeks. Most kids will find hours of outdoor entertainment in even the simplest of designs so don’t think you have to go overboard with your cubby unless you want to of course.

If you go down the pre-fabricated route and construct a flat-pack kit then you can expect to spend anywhere between 4 hours to a couple of days. There are some pretty amazing kits out there which can be delivered quickly. So if time is an issue you might decide to go down this route.

kids playhouse simple

Skill level required to build a DIY kids playhouse

If you’re building a store brought cubby and play set then you should only require the basic tools and skills. Constructing a metal and fabric set will be easier than a wooden set as it will only require a screwdriver or hex key to join all the parts. A wooden unit will probably require an electric drill/driver and a set of clamps will help if you’re building it on your own.

If you decide to go down the DIY route then you’ll need a selection of tools and should have some previous woodworking experience. Understanding basic wooden structures will be essential and common woodworking joinery practices will need to be applied to get the best results. As this will most likely be an outdoor structure you’ll need a good understanding of waterproofing these kinds of structures. Your kids will likely want to play in them during all seasons.


This should be a priority when constructing a cubby for your kids to play in. Solid construction will ensure it is safe to play in as well as on. Kids will like to explore every inch of their new playhouse which includes climbing on top of them. Making sure the roof is sturdy and can hold plenty of weight is imperative.

If you are new to DIY wooden structures make sure you do your homework and test each section thoroughly to ensure it is safe to climb on. Store purchased units will be designed with safety in mind and will have to meet certain standards. Your DIY cubby won’t so it’s worth taking a look and some of the regulations in place to help you design and build a safe playhouse.

kids playhouse thick timber

Building a DIY cubby house

Building a cubby house is a satisfying and enjoyable project that the entire family can participate in. Here are some basic steps to consider when build your own playhouse masterpiece.

Step One – Finding the right spot

Choose a level spot in your garden for the foundation of your cubby house. Your structure will be easier to manage on a flat surface. If you’re unsure where to start, consider the sun’s path throughout the day. You’ll want to ensure that your location gets plenty of natural light. Building in a wet, shady area will cause the structure to deteriorate quickly.

Step Two – The foundations

Once you’ve selected the perfect spot, it’s time to build the foundation. For this project, I’d recommend digging deep holes and filling them with Postcrete to support your wooden posts. Make sure any wooden elements are raised off the floor or protected so that they don’t rot.

Step Three – floor and walls

With the foundation in place, it’s time to start working on the floor and walls. Using plywood or OSB boards is a great way to create the floor. Aim for an 18mm thickness as this will provide plenty of support for a group of children. The walls can be constructed from a wooden timber frame and cladded for protection.

Step Four – The roof

The final step is to add a roof. For this, you can either use more wooden boards or more OSB boards. Once the roof is in place, you should add some roofing felt to protect against the weather. Now your cubby house is complete!

shed walls and roof

Accessories For Your Cubby House

Now that you know how to build a simple cubby house, it’s time to get accessories if you want to make it extra special. A few ideas include:

Paint or other finishes: Give your cubby house a personal touch by adding paint or different finishes. It is a great way to make the space feel like it’s truly your own.

Furniture: If you’re planning on using your cubby house as a play space for your kids, consider adding some furniture. Bean bag chairs, a small table, chairs, or even a few cushions can make the space more inviting and comfortable.

Storage: If you want to use your cubby house as storage space for outdoor toys or other items, consider adding shelving and cupboards. It will help keep the area organised and tidy.

kids playhouse field

What wood should I use?

When choosing the right wood for your project, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. First, consider the climate in your area. If you live in an area with extreme temperatures, you’ll want to choose a durable wood that can withstand the elements. Second, think about the overall look you want to achieve. If you want a natural look, cedar is a great option. However, for a more polished finish, pine or spruce may be better suited for your needs.

Additionally, think again about the budget for your project. Cedar is typically more expensive than other types of wood, but it’s also more durable. Pine or spruce may be better options if you’re working with a limited budget.

No matter what type of wood you choose, make sure that it is high quality and free of knots or other imperfections. It will ensure that your finished product is sturdy and looks great.

Final word

Building a simple cubby house can be a lot of fun. With a little planning and some basic materials, you can create a space that your kids will love. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!

Do you have any tips for building a simple cubby house? Share them in the comments below!

Thanks for reading. Take a look at some more of my outdoor building projects:

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