This structure (formerly a greenhouse and aviary) was in terrible disrepair but the homeowners hired architects to convert it to a spacious playhouse. Learn more at Sunset Magazine
Before the adult realities of keeping house set in, children love to play house. They enact the rituals they see their parents engaged in, they exert their otherwise limited power over their own domain and give their imaginations free reign. That's what's so special about play houses - their diminutive size inhibits too much adult oversight.
I sort of had a play house growing up - our garage was an old two-story barn that my sisters and I (and the neighborhood kids) had run of. We had a couch, fold out cots and metal cups and plates from an old picnic set. We didn't so much play "house" as Olympics dormitory - to each their own.
If you are considering a play house for your kids (or, like me, just enjoy fantasizing about one), here are twenty to browse through. They're all DIY to some extent. Some were made by parents wholly from scratch while others were bought second hand and totally spiffed up.
(Images: 1. Den Gode Feen 2. Christina Schmidhoffer/Sunset Magazine 3. Flickr member Cindy Funk licensed for use under Creative Commons 4. Todd Selby 5. Mousehouse by Megan 6. Saving4Six 7. Restyled Home 8. Atomic Ranch 9. Birdie Blue 10. Nathalie Bearden 11. reader Jill 12. Cutest Little Things 13. via Cookie Magazine 14. Joanna Gick 15. reader Lynne 16. Jenny Brandt/Dos Family 17. Belinda Graham/The Happy Home 18. The Germinatrix 19. Fifi Mandirac 20. Kelle/Nest of Posies)