If you have young children then you will know how difficult it can be to keep their mess contained. How much easier would it be if they had an outdoors area that they could play in, whatever the weather? A fully insulated garden building would be wonderful – but how many of us can afford that option? A polytunnel is an inexpensive way to get some outside/inside space in your garden and with a little imagination and a little work, could become the perfect playroom for your kids, as well as a multi-functional space where you can also grow at least some of your own food.
Even unheated, a polytunnel will be much warmer than the outside and even in winter, bundled up warmly, your kids could have a lot of fun playing in a polytunnel. Add sustainable heating and lighting and your polytunnel playroom would become even more useful and versatile.
Once you have erected your polytunnel in a good spot in your garden, the next thing to think about is the layout of the space. You do not have to choose between creating a playroom and creating a growing area – your polytunnel could be both. Raised beds can be placed along the sides of the tunnel, leaving an area in the middle free for play. Or you could create a play area at one end of the tunnel and a growing area at the other – the two sections could even have some form of barrier between them, to better separate the two functions. Depending on how big or small your polytunnel is, you could also consider using containers, vertical gardens and hanging baskets as growing areas – these could also serve as attractive decoration for your playroom.
How you choose to floor your polytunnel will depend on how you and your kids will plan to use it. A hard floor will be durable – but something softer like reclaimed wood flooring might be a better choice for younger kids, who may fall down and hurt themselves if the flooring is too unforgiving.
Once you have decided on the basic structures of your playroom, its layout and flooring, you need to think about how your children most like to play. Some children will love a table and chairs where they can do messy art and craft activities, while others may prefer something more active – a sandpit, space for a paddling pool in summer – an area to make mud pies or investigate bugs and insects. Others may love a den or playhouse, where they can play house to their heart's content and use their amazing imaginations. Perhaps the polytunnel will have a stage, where your child can perform... no matter what your childrens' interests, you will find cool ways to make your polytunnel into almost an extra room – a place where your kids can really spread their wings.