Tree houses were all about a quick assembly of a simple little house where the kid could play with a bunch of friends and lead imaginary life. Today, tree houses are more of a complex building that includes certain luxuries unknown to the previous generations. Even so, this type of tree house building has a lot of benefits for the kids – a mutual work between the parents and the kids will bring out a lot of fun and educational experience.
The benefits of building a tree house
Building a modern tree house with your kids will take a couple of days, maybe more, but every step of the process will bring a teachable moment for the kids.
Physical activity – kids won’t even notice how hard they work while they are helping you build the tree house. This helps them be highly physically active, strengthening them and making them fit. It is an easier form of getting them active than forcing them to do regular exercises or a sport they don’t enjoy. Obesity is a frequent issue with kids of newer generations, and an outdoor project is what will entertain them and help them fight it.
Teamwork and problem-solving – the motto here is: the more, the merrier. Including the whole family will create team spirit and strengthen the bond between you. You will have a mutual goal you are aspiring to. And let’s not forget the problem-solving skills your kids will improve. Starting from calculating the size of the walls, the exterior look, the materials that have to be used and even the budget you need to stick to – your kids can be included in every step of the process, making their contribution, realizing what the limits are and how to overcome certain challenges. And all of that being done with close members of the family, figuring out the problems together.
Connecting with nature – spending too much time indoors separates children with natural processes around them, like changing seasons, leaves falling off, blooming of the flowers and lives of small animals around them. Building a tree house will expose your kids to the natural environment, and every day they spend outside working on the tree house (and later on, in the tree house that’s been completed) will show them what happens in the world around them, creating a strong connection with the living things in their backyard.
Sensitivity to risk – while building a tree house, there are certain things that can go wrong and endanger your kids’ safety, so it’s highly important to teach the kids about the necessity of taking precautions to avoid any injuries. Children learn from what they see, so make sure you are the role model demonstrating a cautious approach to work in order to protect yourself and others. It will prepare your kids for the potential risks in the future – they will learn to think in advance about possible dangers and they will know how to protect themselves.
Necessary tools for the construction
You don’t need a workshop to build a tree house, but here’s a list of the necessary equipment that will ensure quicker work, too.
Firstly, it’s important to note that angles and measurements stay accurate, so this is the part where your kids can help – but always double-check everything before you actually start cutting. A circular saw will save you a lot of time and effort here.
Next, as you will have to cut beams, studs and joists at a precise 90° so that they are connected firmly, a speed square is another useful tool for the precision.
A cordless and a corded drill are the next necessity, depending on the size of the hole you will need to drill.
Folding sawhorses are very stable even though they are really light. You can use them for cutting beams or to support a table with tools and smaller parts.
The safety gear you will need includes safety glasses to protect eyes from the dust and debris, cut-resistant gloves with a good grip. Earplugs to prevent hearing loss from loud noises, those power tools are sometimes just too noisy. And of course a pair of Australian work boots that provide protection and stability when doing any kind of handiwork around your house.
The most important parts
Supports is what you need to first decide on, and they include:
Posts – as they are inserted into the ground, they damage the tree the least.
Bolts – even though this is the traditional method, beams and platforms being inserted into the tree, this is very damaging to the tree.
Suspension – chains and ropes are what you use to suspend the house from bigger branches, but it isn’t appropriate for heavier constructions.
The platform and deck are the parts that need to be leveled and built as close to the trunk as possible, which could mean you will have to cut some holes if some branches get in the way. The deck should include railing so that no one falls off.
The access to the tree house – if the tree house is lower to the ground, it will be enough to put a rope ladder or the wooden one. But if the structure is high in the tree, a long wooden ladder with a handrail would be a better choice. If your kids enjoy adventures, you could even consider building a spiral ladder around the trunk.
Once you know the basic elements you need to have and to plan, they only thing left to do is to get on to work together, enjoy the learning process and everything that comes after it.