Vintage playhouses & forts: Old-fashioned fun for kids

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Vintage play houses and forts Old-fashioned fun for kids
Remember having fun in vintage playhouses & forts like these? Take a look back at some of these retro play structures through the decades, from the ’50s through the ’80s!

‘Small Fry’ drive-in restaurant playhouse (1957)

Bright new ideas in hot-weather housing promises hours of safe summer fun for children. 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.

VINTAGE DRIVE-IN: 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. The see-through plastic top adds to the fun, is sure to appeal to imaginative little boys taking make-believe trips to the moon.

Spaceship fort - playhouse from 1957


Cute pink playhouse (1957)

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

Light framework of metal rods is the basis of all little houses. No stakes are needed, so the frame can be erected on a concrete drive or in a basement play area.

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

Cute pink playhouse for kids from the 1950s

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

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


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.

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)


Wood stockade-style pup tent playhouse (1963)

Sturdy shelter for youngster’s playtime. Kit includes fence sections, lumber, nails, instructions.

Wood stockade-style pup tent playhouse from the 60s


Toy House shed (1967)

Build a lot of enjoyment into your garden — a cozy, sheltered spot for 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.

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


Treehouse ‘ship’ with deck (1967)

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

MORE: See this adorable vintage-style two-story backyard playhouse from the ’60s


Retro cardboard playhouse/fort for kids (1967)

Retro cardboard play house for kids from 1967


Winnie the Pooh vinyl indoor playhouse (1973)

Red Winnie the Pooh tent (1973)


Backyard fort playhouse gym idea from 1975

Backyard fort playhouse gym idea from 1975


Holly Hobbie playhouse (1976)

MORE: Vintage Holly Hobbie toys, clothes, decor & more from the ’70s & ’80s

Holly Hobbie play house (1976)


Quilted playhouse/fort (1979)

Here’s a delightful kid-sized cottage that’s a beauty to behold, and its 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


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)

ALSO SEE: Vintage play kitchens: Toys for budding chefs from the ’80s & ’90s


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

Branded with “Return of the Jedi”

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


Rustic cedar fort-playhouse (1985)

Cozy playhouse is prefabricated in 6 easy-to-assemble sections of white cedarwood slabs. Wood floor. A hammer (not included) is the only tool needed for assembly.

Large cabin has door and window shutters, measures 7x5x6 feet high (350 pounds). Medium cabin has door and window openings, measures 5x4x5 feet high (200 pounds).

Rustic cedar wood fort - playhouse from 1985


A ride-on horse playhouse (1986)

MORE: Wonder horses! See vintage ride-on spring horse toys from the ’50s to the ’80s

A ride-on horse playhouse  (1986)


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)

Vintage Fisher-Price Pop-Up Playhouse (1988)


Playskool Sesame Street Clubhouse (1989)

ALSO SEE: Swinging Sesame Street debuted in 1969 – Here’s a look back!

Playskool Sesame Street Clubhouse (1989)


Throwback! A child’s playhouse beneath outdoor stairs (1920s)

This cozy little cabin was created under the landing of a wooden staircase.

MORE: 62 beautiful vintage home designs & floor plans from the 1920s

Child's playhouse attached to home from the 1920s


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