Housekeeping is fun for some lucky kids

Perky places to play

While it wasn’t at the top of the list of items Sandy Black wanted in a house, a children’s playhouse in the backyard sweetened the deal.


“This was one of the perks of buying the house. It was really cool to have something like that,” said Black, whose daughter, Kylee, 7, and son, Zane, 3, love the miniature house.

Black moved to Martinez when the Army transferred her husband, Matt, to Fort Gordon about six years ago. The couple recently returned after spending three years in Germany.

“Zane was little when we left here, but he thinks it’s the greatest thing in the world,” she said of the playhouse, which recently received a coat of paint. The playhouse has a toy kitchen, and at one time, it had curtains.

Many area families have a “home away from home” for their little ones.

Ashley and Ames Barnett, of Washington, Ga., built a playhouse for their son, Porter, 6, for Christmas two years ago. Because they live in Washington’s historic district, they made sure the playhouse fit the look of the neighborhood.

“The shingles match the house. Both of the rooflines are the same. We wanted it to go with the house,” she said.

Porter’s playhouse has a fire pole and a slide. Underneath, there is a sandbox. Ashley Barnett said the playhouse is well-used.

“Kids need to be outside, and he loves to be outside,” she said.

And he likes to play in the house in any type of weather. He also would like to camp out overnight in the playhouse, she said.

Porter isn’t the only child who wants to use the playhouse for an overnight getaway with friends. Jordan Carmichael, 11, has been eyeing his 4-year-old sister’s playhouse with the same idea in mind.

“He’s been wanting to do a sleepover with friends,” said his mother, Tracey Hidalgo.

Jordan’s sister, Madison, received the playhouse as a present last Christmas. The two-story house has carpeting and a loft.

“It’s big enough to put a twin bed in,” Hidalgo said.

The playhouse had belonged to a friend whose grandchildren had outgrown it. Hidalgo said it made for a great Christmas present.

While some children outgrow their playhouses, other people find enjoyment in them in their adulthood.

“I’ve always wanted a tree house, and I never had one,” said Baird, a Grovetown architect and grandfather. “Three years ago, I started developing it.”

Three of Baird’s grandchildren, Aidan and Brady Manahan and Sarah Jackson. spend a lot of time in the A-framed structure nestled among two trees in Baird’s wooded backyard, but Baird also likes to spend time there.

The tree house was engineered with safety in mind, and Baird put his architectural skills to use when creating it. In addition to the A-frame on the platform in the trees, there is a spiral staircase and suspension bridge.

“Aidan said it had to have a drawbridge, but that was too hard to do. Since the treehouse moves, we had to do a suspended bridge instead,” he said.

The project isn’t quite finished. He’s still tweaking a zip-line and plans to put in a fireman’s pole.