Build a Treehouse for a Kid

Keep it simple and sound with some help from the experts


Probably built with the help of grownups via Shutterstock     Photo: Kenneth William Caleno

Every kid needs a hideout where there are no grownups allowed. Except maybe to check for structural soundness. “There’s always a way to build a treehouse, even if there are no trees in the yard,” says Jeanie Stiles, author, along with her husband David, of Treehouses You Can Actually Build. “We’ve built treehouses on top of fences.” Here are a few tips on designing your treehouse from the Stiles:

  1. It doesn’t have to be really high. A six-foot tall treehouse can be just as much fun.
  2. Overlay a photo of the treehouse site with acetate and have your kid make design sketches of the treehouse. Have them make a list of features like a secret compartment or a fireman’s pole.
  3. Realize that the tree is going to grow and allow it some room.
  4. Have a porch or other un-enclosed area. Kids love to be able to see the ground and shout down orders.
  5. You’ll need a tree at least a foot in diameter to support the structure, or several trees at least eight inches in diameter.
  6. Don’t forget to let your neighbors know what you are up to.

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