Every kid has experienced a cubby house or fort of some description growing up, and the ones who don’t have their own go over to their friend’s place to use theirs.
Cubbies are a part of our culture and a part of the Australian childhood experience and for good reason. They’re great for development – physical and mental and they’re a source of constant entertainment and most importantly they’re just great fun for the kids.
Kids can often be relied upon to create their own fun, but a life in the suburbs with endless electronic distractions can make it a bit difficult to get outside and create an awesome cubby house from scratch.
Where would you get the wood? Is there even a hammer in the garage? Luckily, there are many professionals who you can call on to assist. The good news is that just because the modern world has changed a bit, there’s no reason your kids have to do without the timeless fun of a cubby house.
Whether pre-built or a DIY cubby house kit, there are ways to get your hands on an awesome cubby house that the kids can enjoy and create memories in.
DIY Cubby House Buying Guide
Parenting ain’t easy, and it certainly isn’t our intention to tell anyone how far they should trust their kids with hammers, screws and other tools.
With that said, that’s the beauty of a DIY cubby house or cubby house kit – you can help your kids as much or as little as you deem fit for their level of maturity and experience.
They can get a real sense of involvement and satisfaction when building their own cubby house, however big or small their involvement, and after all, it is their cubby.
DIY kits are available from a range of retailers and are easy to transport to where they need to go and, depending on their complexity, usually quite easy to assemble.
The fact that a DIY cubby house kit requires construction might seem like a disadvantage but look a bit deeper and you might find that for certain situations, a bit of self-assembly is actually a good thing.
Basic construction skills such as how to safely use a hammer and nails are good things to know. The simple assembly of a cubby house is the perfect opportunity to give your kids some lifelong skills that will allow you to trust them with tools in the future, and maybe even kick off a lifelong love affair with DIY.
Pre-Made Cubby House
DIY is great, but it’s not the answer for everyone. Limited with time? Inexperienced with tools? Are your children too young to get involved?
That’s fine because there are plenty of pre-built cubby options and ideas that you can use instead. One of the great things about a pre-built cubby house is just how many awesome designs are out there.
It must be pretty great to have the job title ‘professional cubby house designer’, and it’s even better to be able to take that person’s ingenuity and turn it into your kid’s own awesome space.
What sort of design are you looking for? Miniature house? Pirate ship? Treehouse? They’re all out there and ready to go, and they’re all pretty awesome. But don’t skimp here, you’ll definitely pay more for better quality and it’s really worth it.
There is no better way to give your kids the old-fashioned experience of a cubby house, no matter if you have the supplies on hand or not.
Cubby House Providers
Castle and Cubby
A premium supplier of playhouses made for every imagination, Castle and Cubby offers an exquisite range of DIY cubby house kits and services for every Australian home.
With a wide range of top-quality collections available on their website, they are also able to deliver and install throughout the whole country thanks to their affiliate location-based teams.
The My Cubby website is very impressive. They build, stock and deliver a wide range of playful and versatile cubby houses, nationwide. From natural to more colourful kits, modern to more orthodox designs, they are a trustworthy supplier for any cubby house needs.
They also offer custom-built solutions and use only the best materials in their cubbies.
Australian-made with safe and organically treated timber, Cubby Kraft offers an impressive range of quality cubby houses and DIY solutions.
Catering to kids of all ages and with a very versatile selection of cubbies to choose from, you’re bound to find the perfect pick for your backyard.
Aarons Outdoor Cubbies
With over 25 years of experience, your kids are bound to love Aarons Cubbies. With a wide selection of pre-built DIY cubby house kits and also offering expertise with their custom-built options, these guys certainly know what they’re doing when it comes to all things ‘cubby house’.
You can quickly assemble and design your very own cubby house straight on the website and add attachments as you need.
Specialising in pre-built cubbies for any DIY cubby house needs, Lifespan offers tried and tested products for all budgets. There are many designs to choose from on their website that can each provide your kids with a unique experience for their outdoor play. They also cater to all ages and offer nationwide delivery.
Best DIY Cubby House Kits – Know Which is Right for Your Kids
Offering a wide range of DIY kits for any cubby house needs, you’ll also be able to find something for any budget with Catch.
Here are a few excellent cubby houses that they offer:
1. KidKraft Ainsley Outdoor Playset
Our top pick on Catch. An all-around fun playset for the kids.
2. Backyard Discovery Hillcrest Play Centre
A premium choice that features all the accessories your kids could possibly look for.
3. Solid Timber Classic Kids Cubby House
A classic feeling cubby house, this solid timber kit is our best value option.
Another very popular supplier for any DIY cubby house needs, Zanui offers a selection of quality cubby houses for any setting. From big to small, simple to more elaborate designs, they offer a selection of premium brands to choose from on their website.
Here are a few of our favourite picks:
4. Aspen Cubby Play House
Our top pick on Zanui. This adorable cubby house has a very cottage-like feel and offers the little ones a safe and secure environment for their outdoor play.
5. Bentley Cubby House
This simple yet stylish cubby is a premium option. Made from only the very best materials, this cubby also features a slide, sandbox and upstairs play area.
6. Teddy Cubby Play House
For the best value, look no further than the teddy cubby house. Coming in natural timber, you can also have some fun with the kids and add your own paint and decorations to the pre-finished product.
How to Build Your Own Cubby House
If you’re interested in building your own cubby house and you have the tools available to get the job done, this is an excellent option to closely control the design, quality and safety of your kid’s cubby.
While there are many excellent prefabricated options, sometimes building something from scratch is preferable for many parents. Whether you use hand tools or power tools, be sure to always consider appropriate safety precautions.
Here are some of our tips and guides to building your own DIY cubby house.
Choosing a Location
It is important to consider the position of your cubby house in the garden. Ideally, you want to be able to supervise adequately by having it somewhere within sight of the house but also position it in a way that gives your kids a sense of privacy to play.
Another thing to consider is how much light you want the area to get. If the kids intend on caring for a few plants or herbs, lighting will be important.
If your kids have fair skin, then maybe you would prefer a more shaded environment. Your chosen location will need to be able to accommodate the size and shape of your intended design.
Measuring Out & Choosing a Design
It is important to know the size of the space you’ll be working with before further planning. Using a tape measure, land meter or wheeled measuring tool, measure your area by taking note of each long side, the diameter and circumference of the location.
Jot your rough measurements down for future reference. Thereafter, you can start to plan your actual design based on these measurements. When choosing a design, there are many sources of inspiration online, from simple to elaborate.
Either way, be sure to stick with something that you can safely build and something that will give your kids the space they need when playing outdoors.
The beauty is that you can always revisit and expand on your initial design as time goes on so don’t feel overwhelmed to construct and design the perfect DIY cubby house the first time round.
Buying or Ordering Your Materials
Once you have an idea of what your final design will look like, you can start searching for the necessary materials needed to build. Most cubby houses consist of core materials like stumps, boards, frames, flooring and walling, nails, screws, hinges and roofing.
Depending on your design and desired features, you will need to chat to your local professional suppliers to find high-quality materials for you to get the job done.
Remember to consider pre-treatment of the raw materials as well as how organic and safe they are for extended periods of play.
Once you have your materials, you can now prepare your site by clearing it of any debris and marking out the area you’ll be building in. This will help to give you a clear sight of the final product while you construct.
Cubby House Building Tips
- Safety should always be the number one priority when building your DIY cubby house.
- Start with the floor - Start by building and laying your floor frame. A solid foundation is a key stage in building your cubby house.
- Next, make and assemble your wall frames. Be sure to consider your desired placement of windows and doors.
- Once your floor and wall frames are secure and well-positioned, you can connect your roof frame. This will give you your entire frame to expand on. The kids will probably already be getting very excited!
- Next, you can lay and fix your walls and roofing into position. If you intend on installing a verandah, you can also get this placed into position now.
- Once your shell is complete, you can start the final touches. Be sure to sand any rough areas away to avoid splinters and install any needed lining or extra support.
- Now comes the exciting part. You can now consider painting and furnishing your cubby house as necessary. Be sure to consider weather conditions when choosing the right paint and apply any needed coatings for extra protection.
- Lastly, you can accessorise your new DIY cubby house to make it a memorable and exciting adventure for your kids. Planter boxes, decorations or toys can help boost the spectacle of the space.
Refer to this article for an in-depth guide and diagram on building a simple cubby house.
Pros & Cons of Premade and DIY Cubby House
While these kits are convenient and easy to assemble most of the time, you do lose out on the opportunity to create something unique and special for the kids.
Premade kits are usually well developed and safe which is also an important consideration. However, they can often also be more expensive.
DIY Cubby House
By building your own cubby house, you can create exactly what you and your kids are looking for, meaning it will be a more memorable and impressionable experience overall.
The caveats are that it is a lot more labour and time-intensive. A certain level of skill is needed to build your own cubby, and tools can also be expensive investments in general.
Finding the Right Custom Cubby House Builder in Your Area
If you’re more interested in having a customised cubby house built, here are some of the best custom cubby house builders in your area.
Building a Fort
Every kid loves cubbies – every kid loves playground equipment. Why not combine the two into a fort? The term ‘fort’ is pretty broad, but generally, they involve a range of playground equipment (monkey bars, slide, swing, etc.) combined with a timber structure that can double as a clubhouse or cubby house.
Much like an ordinary cubby house, a fort can be self or pre-assembled. However, the added complications of playground equipment and the need to make sure they are completely safe (to no less than Australian Standards when it comes to kids) means you’re better off in most cases having a fort professionally assembled.
DIY Cubby House FAQs
What is the best age for a cubby house?
The best age for kids to experience a cubby house is 2 to 6 years old. Their imaginations, creative thinking and problem-solving skills are being developed most during these ages.
What do you put under a cubby house?
It is best to place some pavers or sleepers under the feet or floor. This will assist with leveling the cubby and will also help to keep it dry.
What kind of wood do you use to make a cubby house?
The most common wood types used when building cubby houses are fir and cedar species of timber. They are lightweight and safe for children.
Looking for more projects for your backyard but don't have the time to do it on your own? See our list below:
Create a Special Space for Your Children with a DIY Cubby House
Cubby houses have been and remain one of the staples of childhood throughout the world. The enclosing nature of suburbia and electronica may make indoor activities a more attractive option in a lot of cases.
However, there is still an awful lot to be said for the good old outdoors. DIY Cubby houses are one of the best ways to introduce your kids to the awesomeness of outdoor play.