Do you have trees in your backyard? If so, you’ve probably already given some thought to the subject of today’s Wonder of the Day. Maybe you’ve already built one! What are we talking about? A tree house, of course!

Tree houses — sometimes called tree forts — are platforms or small buildings built around or within the trunk and branches of large trees. Although some tree houses can be very complex and used as homes, most tree houses are far simpler structures used as places for kids to play.

Tree houses in some areas of the world can be homes that are very practical. For example, in some parts of the tropics, tree houses are built in trees or supported by stilts. This keeps the tree house above the ground, which protects it from floods and animals hunting for food.

If you want a fun place to play in your backyard, though, you don’t need stilts or a tree house designed by an architect. In fact, you might have all you need in your garage or basement. That’s right! Many tree houses are made with all sorts of recycled materials.

You’re probably going to need some wood. A large piece of plywood to use as a platform or floor is often necessary. You might also use wood to build walls. Some people recycle old windows to use for their tree houses.

You’ll also need some simple tools, like hammers and screwdrivers. You can probably find a lot of the fasteners you need, such as nails, screws and brackets, around the house or in the garage.

If you ask your mom, she might have some old fabric you can use to make curtains or doorways for your tree house. She might also be able to help you find old pillows and blankets you can use to make your new hideout cozy!

While playing in a tree house can be lots of fun, it’s even more fun to build a tree house with the help of a friend or family member. The time you spend planning your tree house, looking for recycled materials and building the structure together is time well spent that you won’t soon forget!

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    • We think it would be SUPER COOL to have a WONDERful tree house, too, Aparajita! Some of the tree houses featured in the links found inside today’s Wonder were AMAZING! We think tree houses are fun places to hang out and WONDER with your friends and family! :-)

    • That’s so AWESOME, Lincoln! We bet it’s a super WONDERful tree house! Thank you so much for sharing your personal connection to today’s Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • That will be really COOL, Tyler! Please be sure to let us know when you get a tree house…we’d love to hear all about it! Thank you for visiting today’s Wonder and THANK YOU for being a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

  1. I, too, wish I can have a tree house, to play war in, to play tag and hide-and-seek in, and have a sleep over with my friends and family. But, I don’t have strong or tall trees in my front or backyard. :-(

    • We think you are a SUPER creative Wonder Friend, Carlos! Maybe you could build an AWESOME fort in your backyard and use your imagination to pretend you are in a tree house that’s atop a tree in a wild jungle or a quiet forest! We think that sounds like FUN, FUN, FUN! :-)

    • That’s a GREAT question, Kurt! We’re not sure about that one, so we’ll both have to go on a Wonder quest to see if we can find the answer to your WONDER! Thanks for letting us know you thought this Wonder was awesome…we really appreciate hearing that! :-)

  2. The best tree house is in Alnwick Gardens, it’s massive and even has a restaurant in it! I’ve been in it before, too.

    • Hi there, Liz! Thanks so much for sharing about the Alnwick Gardens tree house! We will have to do some more WONDERing about it on our own! We appreciate your comment and we hope you have a WONDERful day! :-)

    • WOHOO, we are glad you’re here Jeff! Although you don’t have a tree house of your own, we can Wonder about one together! Have a GREAT day! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Where’s the best tree house?
  • What kinds of supplies do you need to build a tree house?
  • What would your dream tree house look like?

Wonder Gallery

tree house_shutterstock_4004983Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Do you think it would be fun to live in a tree house? Grab a few friends or family members to help you explore one or more of the following fun activities:

  • For inspiration, jump online and check out these 10 Amazing Tree Houses. You’ll be amazed by some of the tree houses you’ll see. Some of them might be too difficult for you and your family to build in your backyard one day, but they might inspire a simpler design you can build!
  • If you could build any kind of tree house, what would it look like? Put pencil to paper and come up with a blueprint for your tree house! What will it look like? Will it have one big room or multiple smaller rooms? How will you get up to it? Will there be a trap door? Windows? Be as wildly creative as you want to be. Forget about practical constraints. This fun exercise is all about letting your imagination run wild. What kind of tree house would you create if you could build it in any kind of tree anywhere in the world?
  • Up for a challenge? Get outside and make your own tree house! If you have trees in your backyard, you may be able to build a simple tree house out of scrap pieces of material you may have around the house or in the garage. Of course, before starting on such an ambitious project, you’re going to need to get approval and help from an adult. You’ll also need to search for some recycled materials you can use to build your tree house. If you don’t have the right kind of trees in your backyard, ask a friend or family member if you can build a tree house in their backyard. You never know when a friend or relative might have the perfect tree just waiting to be turned into a fantastic play place. Have fun creating what might become a clubhouse for your entire neighborhood! 

Still Wondering

In National Geographic Xpeditions’ If a Tree Falls in the Forest… lesson, children explore the role that forests play in their own lives by listing everyday products made from trees.

Test Your Knowledge

Wonder What’s Next?

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