Review summary: This fun cardboard playhouse is semi-easy to build, even without instructions, is bigger than you’d expect and appears to be well made and long lasting for a cardboard toy.
Eco-perks: KidsCraft playhouses are very eco-friendly – learn more about the eco-perks of KidsCraft Playhouses.
Reviewers: My son Cedar is nine years old and although he was pretty excited when we got a rocket ship in the mail, overall, this is a toy better suited to younger kids. With that in mind I took this to Cedar’s school because I figured the younger kids might enjoy it. That said, I had a bunch of kids on hand to give their opinion plus a handful of adults.
Building experience: We had a small set-back immediately because when the kids and I opened the shuttle box the instructions were missing. Yikes! Had I been at home, I could have gotten online and downloaded a new set of instructions from the website (they’re offered on the homepage). But I wasn’t at home so…
We had a pile of pieces and no clue about what to do with them. I’m into crafts, but if I’m building something I really need instructions. My brain doesn’t naturally grasp building projects. Luckily Melissa, mama of Zen, another student at the school, was there hanging out and she pretty much kicked some you know what when it came to building the shuttle sans instructions.
The kids, mostly under the age of nine, also helped to figure out where all the pieces should go (we used the picture on the front of the box) and then Melissa (mostly) along with me and the kiddos brainstormed to figure out which slots fit where.
See the gallery below for some of the building process.
What we learned:
- This is a two person project. I’m guessing you could build this on your own, but it’s going to be way easier if you have another adult or older child to help you.
- This is an adult supervision project. Two crafty older kids (tweens+) could likely build this, but younger kids will need adult help.
- If your instructions are missing, print new ones out. While we did build our ship totally sans instructions, we had to do a few parts over, because we messed up. This will be MUCH easier with instructions.
- The adults agreed that one smart tactic might be to cover the hinged tabbed sections with duct tape to help increase the strength.
What we liked:
The most common statement heard from both kids and adults was, “Awesome!” The kids were very impressed with this rocket ship – some because they wanted to get inside and hang out while other kids grabbed crayons and went nuts coloring the outside. Adults were impressed with how professional it looked. It really looks like a huge awesome rocket just landed in your room.
It’s sturdier and larger than you’d guess. I thought this would be kind of flimsy and very cramped space-wise. It was neither. Three kids fit comfortably inside this shuttle but at times four would sit inside together. There’s a base and fins that hold this shuttle tightly together and it’s very solid considering it’s made of cardboard. My guess is if you have two or three semi-non-destructive kids this playhouse will last a long time. If you’ve got kids who don’t take care of their toys or kids who like to take stuff apart, I’d save your money because this playhouse could be easily destroyed. Really it’s going to depend on the kids.
The windows were a hit. All the kids loved the many windows in this playhouse. They decorated the area around all the windows and then wanted to pose for pictures with their little faces sticking through. In fact we had a group of kids who seemed totally disinterested in being inside the playhouse but were instead enthralled with decorating the outside. I think this is a very nice creative project for kids who like to draw, color and personalize crafts.
As noted previously, all the eco-perks make this a very cool playhouse. It’s great to have a toy made from eco-friendly materials that’s 100% recyclable at the end of its lifespan.
- Instructions would have been useful – but they weren’t necessary.
- Not the best group project. We actually had fun with this at the school BUT I think it’s a better toy for just two or three kids. KidsCraft notes at their website that this would be fun for birthday parties – but I really think it depends on the kids. We had a few meltdowns because at times more than three or four kids wanted to go inside.
- There weren’t many cons. You’ll just have to decide if your kids can handle the responsibility of cardboard toys before you buy.
4 out of 5 trees. This isn’t a very long life toy and it’s not ideal for all kids so I’m only giving it 4 trees. However, the kids at the school (both younger and older) thought it was huge fun and really got into decorating it. I think with the right group of kids this playhouse will last long enough (i.e. the entire summer) to make it a good deal price-wise too. You’re not going to find a better deal on a playhouse for sure.