Treehouses are play structures placed in trees. They can be simple platforms with ladders or elaborate houses with windows and doors.
Many famous story book and television characters have had treehouses. The Swiss Family Robinson lived in a treehouse ---you can visit a replica at Disney World. Tarzan lived in a tree house. Disneyland has also replica of this famous treehouse to explore. Episodes of cartoon shows, such as the Simpson's and Arthur, have featured treehouses. The Magic Tree House storybooks for young readers revolve around a time traveling treehouse.
Treehouses can have a variety of designs. A simple platform in the crook of the tree or a miniature house with windows and doors are both good treehouses. A treehouse can be supported by one tree or several. Safe treehouses for small children can be designed just a few feet off the ground. If there aren't any trees large enough to support a treehouse in the area, a platform can be built like a free standing deck surrounding a small tree as long as the tree has plenty of room to grow.
Treehouses are good for children because they promote imagination, adventure and outdoor play. They can be safe hide-outs from the prying eyes of Mom and Dad---even if they are in the backyard. Large tree houses can host many children and even be used for sleepovers.
Some older children may think they can build their own treehouse, but it's important for them to be built with adult supervision. Select a large tree with strong branches that form a wide V shape. Treehouses should always have safety rails and a sturdy ladder. Select a tree that is a safe distance from power lines, fences and streets.