Vintage play houses & forts: Old-fashioned fun for kids

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Vintage play houses and forts Old-fashioned fun for kids

Treehouse ‘ship’ with deck (1967)

Build a lot of enjoyment into your garden — a cozy, sheltered spot for yourself or a just-for-fun playhouse for the children. Here are some garden structures that can be the focal points of your family’s summer entertainment.

You can build your children a tree house even if there isn’t a tree in sight. This one takes the shape of a ship that floats in the sky to permit seaworthy chaps to become Admiral Nelson or Captain Kidd for endless hours of fun. Enclose the open deck with a sturdy, high railing for safety, and you’re ready for the first mutiny.

Deck treehouse ship play area for kids - Retro backyard idea


‘Small Fry’ drive-in restaurant play house (1957)

All children love playing store — think of the fun they’ll have with this miniature drive-in, complete with pass-through window, plastic-screened window and door. 

Retro Small Fry drive-in restaurant play house for kids from the 50s


Spaceship playhouse (1957)

Six-sided spaceship boasts bold colors all youngsters enjoy. See-through plastic top adds to the fun, is sure to appeal to imaginative little boys taking make-believe trips to the moon.

Bright new ideas in hot-weather housing promises hours of safe summer fun for children, cool comfort for grownups. All these streamlined summerhouses are sturdily built of lightweight materials, can be put up or down in minutes, on the lawn or on a concrete floor, as you prefer.

Sides are screened to let in breezes, keep out pesky insects. Tent cloth tops, in festive carnival colors, supply overhead protection. Playhouses fold conveniently flat into compact packages that are equally handy to store or take on trips

Spaceship fort - playhouse from 1957


Quilted playhouse (1979)

Here’s a delightful kid-sized cottage that’s a beauty to behold, and it’s flakeboard shell is designed for easy building and moving.

Quilt batting is glued to the shell with a layer of calico tacked on top. Each padded shingle is stitched separately, then stapled in place. Uncovered surfaces are painted with enamel.

Quilted playhouse idea from 1979


Toy House shed (1967)

A combination toy storage-play house keeps playthings out of the garden (and the house). Decorative trim, cupola, window boxes and shutters make the little house all the more enjoyable.

Toy storage playhouse idea from the sixties


2-story diamond-shaped play house (1967)

For the sub-ten homemaker, this little garden cottage is ideal. Here she can practice the rudiments of house keeping and have great fun in the process. House features second floor that extends across half the interior. Children especially like the candy-stripe exterior.

Vintage barn-style playhouse from the 1960s


A house to play in and a mountain to climb — all in your backyard (1961)

This playhouse is guaranteed to have a swarm of kids in, on, and around it all day long, every day.

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If you don’t have a saber saw, rent one for half a day to cut out this house. Clamp two sheets of 1/2-inch plywood together and cut both at once as shown in the cutting diagram.

Use a dowel to peg the circle cutout from the door over the peak of the house. Use loose pin hinges on all joints, including the four half panels.

Backyard climbing structure idea from 1961 (2)

Backyard climbing structure idea from 1961 (1)


Retro cardboard play house for kids (1967)

Retro cardboard play house for kids from 1967


A ride-on horse playhouse (1986)

A ride-on horse playhouse  (1986)


Wood stockade-style pup tent playhouse (1963)

Wood stockade-style pup tent playhouse from the 60s


Cute pink playhouse (1957)

1-2-3, and all children’s houses are ready for play!

Light framework of metal rods is basis of all little houses. No stakes are needed. so frame can be erected on concrete drive,in basement play area. Slim box in background holds whole unit when it’s folded.

Covers of children’s playhouses are tent canvas — slip over framework as easily as pillowcase. Screen is one side is transparent plastic mesh, sewed right to cloth. Scalloped awning turns rear into terrace.

Cute pink playhouse for kids from the 1950s

Just those two simple steps. and playhouse is ready for fun. The inside dimensions provide generous standing, sitting room for two youngsters.

Cute pink playhouse for kids from the 1950s (2)


Coleco ‘Cabbage Patch Kids’ Club House (1986)

The Cabbage Patch Kids Club House is big enough for the whole gang. Dutch door and side window shutters open and close. And inside there’s even a play phone, clock, and drop-leaf table.

Coleco Cabbage Patch Kids Club House (1986)


Fisher-Price Pop-Up Playhouse (1988)

Fisher-Price Pop-Up Playhouse (1988)


Gym-Dandy Scout walker command tower play set (1984)

Gym-Dandy Scout walker command tower with Speeder bike rider play set (1984)


Little Tikes Play House (1983)

Little Tikes Play House gives children a special place of their very own, as complete inside with a drop-leaf table and telephone as it is outside with a door and shutters that really work.

All to put big smiles on little faces. And you’ll smile at our sturdy double wall construction and our promise to stand behind it. At Little Tikes, we try to build smiles into all our toys. For the little people who play with them. For the big ones who buy them.

Little Tikes Play House (1983)


Meijer thrifty acres play house (1976)

Meijer thrifty acres play house (1976)


Playskool Sesame Street Clubhouse (1989)

Playskool Sesame Street Clubhouse (1989)


Winnie the Pooh playhouse (1973)

Red Winnie the Pooh tent (1973)


Child’s playhouse attached to home from the 1920s

Child's playhouse attached to home from the 1920s

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