Play add-ons for treehouses, decks and platforms

Awesome ‘accessories’ for which we always try to be imaginative and ‘bespoke’ - not just a playground, not just about ‘action’ - kids want to be children, to imagine, pretend and create their own play-world”.

When most parents think back to their own childhood, they remember a time when their back garden was an exciting land to explore. Where trees were to sit in, bushes to crawl through and cubby houses were just waiting to be built.

This was a time when it was safe to roam around nearby fields, ride your bike for hours on end and wade through ponds and streams. This was a time when the only thing on TV was a smiling clown and the A-Team, and an active imagination turned out to be your very best friend.

This was definitely a time before 24-hour cartoon channels, mobile phones, the Internet and highly addictive computer games.

Sadly, these times have now changed. Children have lost the sense of freedom that we once had, and forgotten how to create their own world of make-believe and self-discovery. The great outdoors, a place fuelled by fresh air and fun, has now been replaced with a couch. Toys all require batteries and the next generation only want to exercise if it takes place in an online world.

At Treehouse Life we are all about offering an alternative to this sort of world. We create spaces where children can learn just how much fun ‘playing’ really is. We create a place where parents can safely send their children out to run around, and then watch them develop and grow, pushing boundaries and challenging their capabilities. 

We strongly believe that by mixing a little imagination with some fresh air and exercise, we can help your children to stay fit and healthy and teach them how to use their bodies, brains and bright ideas.

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Why we must pretend:

For me now as a grown-up, my most rooted memories of childhood come to life when I think of the treehouse my grandfather created for me. The memory actually is all about how the treehouse made me feel...the dreams that became vivid, alive and fully formed with a sense of discovery and adventure in an outdoors world bursting with colour and wonder. My treehouse was simply an amazing collection of logs, sticks and aspiration but perhaps because my grandfather built it and that it created a space within which to imagine, believe and become, it was for me everything a childhood should be.

Childhood is a time of wonder, surprise and magic”.

I didn’t know it at the time, but what I was experiencing is a childhood ‘moment of excellence’, one that allowed creativity and imagination to flourish, an aesthetic experience in which my senses were operating at their peak. Excitement and adventure, fantasy and fun were all present in the current moment and expressed with wonderful confidence in my own and often shared imagination – I discovered, through imaginative play, to be curious of the world and people around me, I was allowed to pretend.

Ken Robinson in his Ted Talk ‘How to escape education’s death valleytells us “curiosity is the engine of achievement…if you can light the spark of curiosity in a child, they will learn without any further assistance [because] children are natural learners”. Here is the clue and key, we all have a past as a child, we all have a childhood, but as adults and grown-ups do we have the ability, opportunity and curiosity to be child-like and therefore reconnect with that ‘moment of excellence’ to be “natural learners”…? Available to us all as we were each a child once but in becoming ‘grown-up’ I wonder if we forget to remain child-like in our ability to be naturally curious…?



Everyone needs a ‘treehouse’ emotion in their life”.

I believe we perhaps all remember the treehouse we had as a child or possibly more often the one we wished we’d had as a child whilst growing up. Anything from some scrap timbers, broken pallets and old doors put together as a family weekend project to imaginative, even palatial, woodland adventures fulfilling dad-encouraged fantasies in the treetops. A treehouse or perhaps more importantly your ‘treehouse’ emotion, all at the same time, can be a powerful and passionate emotion of childhood wishes, but also an opportunity for grown-ups to connect with their inner child and for grand-parents to give as a legacy of highly treasured family values. If you can remember your personal ‘treehouse’ emotion, then you are making that important connection with your inner-child. A fundamental pillar in the Be Collaboration ‘Be Inspired’ program is to place a photo of yourself as a child on the wall at the start of the day. Then after having followed the learning journey there is a poignant re-visit to that photo, an emotional reconnection, almost reconciliation, with yourself as that child and your beliefs, confidence and curiosity remembered in that child-like moment.

Think about the emotions a treehouse connects with. I believe it can actually be a generic term for a group of emotions, passions and feelings to do with make-believe, adventure, fantasy and fun – this, for me, is journey where the word ‘treehouse’ takes us to, a place of childhood. For kids it’s where they learn to imagine, for grown-ups it’s where they discover how to feel like kids again and for grandparents it is all about showing us all what childhood really is. The fundamental instinct of parents and grandparents to provide for their children, where they can, with something that sets the values of their own childhood is a really powerful aspiration, the need and wish for capturing kids adventure, imagination and confidence skills is a powerful inspiration and the emotion of wanting to create something for your own growing family is a deep rooted passion.

How often have you seen hours of play from kids and a cardboard box, because in their imagination it is a house, a blanket in the garden on a summer’s afternoon, because in their imagination it is a house...? A simple platform-deck or even the concept of something that can become a house, yet equally another day be a café, a castle or a princess’s palace is actually much, much better at doing the imagination world. With equal passion it is for grandparents, often with the garden, time and possibly some savings to really do something that embeds into their grandchildren all the old-fashioned, wholesome and traditional childhood that they had as a child. In the last 20 years, perhaps even further, a whole generation of childhood has become focused very differently to the values of their grandparents, it has happened quickly in a blink and right under the noses of today’s parents.

Are we (and I’m a parent too), the generation that allowed childhood to disappear...?”

It is perhaps today’s grandparents that can invest in childhood values because interestingly it is only they that truly remember and feel what that really is...? The truth is that play-spaces are whole family spaces, somewhere that we can each share no matter the age, gender or level of fitness. A treehouse is a collection of emotions that together is a place where we can all meet, play and let go. Treehouses are for kids a pretend grown-up world and for us grownups, a reconnection with our personal child-like world. It is also businesses that can invest in playful workspace for employees to encourage and support imagination, creativity and a natural feeling of childhood. Businesses including Google, YouTube and LEGO understand that a workforce that feels younger than their chronological age will benefit the performance of the company as a whole? Google designed their Zurich office to feature playful and unusual workspaces in an effort to boost the creativity of their employees including an indoor slide and a fireman’s pole.

For most of us the problem isn’t that we aim too high and fail – it’s just the opposite – we aim too low and succeed”.

Ken Robinson >

Kids imagination is their greatest talent and often as grown-ups a talent we loose. It becomes replaced with a reality and a work-place world within which there are expectations to be grown-up and adult-like. But interestingly being grown-up and adult-like is often not our natural state and being child-like is something we have to re-learn. I really believe that being ‘child-like’ is our natural instinctive self, how often is it that when we relax, unwind and feel most grounded is also when we are doing ‘child-like’ activity...? Just think about how we are when we’re home, when we’re at a weekend, when we are on holiday, when we are on a beach…? Childhood is a real high-point of our imagination and belief in our dreams, we spend much of our adult years trying to reconnect with this, a treehouse takes us straight there in an instant right the way back to all those happy feelings. Being a child is a state of fully formed dreams – “I am an astronaut” rather than the grown-up version “I want to be and astronaut” or the adult realisation “I wished I’d been an astronaut”.

Finding your inner-child could be the place where you will find your dreams fully formed, perhaps in becoming grown-up we forgot how to make our imagination, dreams and beliefs real. Perhaps we all need a ‘treehouse’ emotion in our lives and certainly the emotions, passions and feelings to do with make-believe, adventure, fantasy and fun in order to find our natural state of being child-like.

Importantly, one of the child-like traits often associated with creativity is lack of self-control and in fact we tend to regard creativity and self-control as mutually exclusive – creativity is child-like and self-control is adult-like. We might think and believe that in order to be ‘grown-up’ there is a requirement to have self-control, a conscious and effortful control of yourself with the ability to hold things in mind, stop or suppress an action that might be the first choice or shift your focus of attention to adapt to a new or difficult situation. An assumption may be that self-control is not well developed in kids and may be something that defines being grown-up, but in fact being a kid allows creativity and self-control to work in collaboration, just think – in order to pretend, you have to hold things in mind and inhibit reality along with the way you normally behave in reality, for pretend to work at all you have to exercise your self-control. Kids know to use imaginative play and ideas as a natural technique to exercise self-control.

The obvious tool to think differently and problem-solve more creatively is to pretend. That’s it. Just pretend”.

Ideas to Go, The Science of Imagination >

Why does our creativity and playful curiosity wane as we become grown-up…? Among a few reasons one is key and that is simply a lack of practice, we spend more of our time in reality and less in imagination. It’s time to remember your childhood ‘moment of excellence’ and find your own place to pretend – creativity and self-control is a collaboration thing and being child-like is our natural place to be.

Written by  Paul Cameron   Director, Treehouse Life Ltd.

Written by Paul Cameron

Director, Treehouse Life Ltd.