Tree houses teach children to play outside, enjoy nature

Tree houses give kids unique place to play

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Jackson and Allie Doumar, 9-year-old twins, often do their homework, play games and camp out in their tree house.   JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAFF
Jackson and Allie Doumar, 9-year-old twins, often do their homework, play games and camp out in their tree house.

Pam Doumar wanted her children to enjoy the beauty of nature, so three years ago, she hired a builder to construct a tree house in the largest willow oak tree in her family’s backyard.

As today’s children tend to stay indoors to play, parents were hoping to offer the same upbringing they had, which included playing in the great outdoors.

“It’s about 18 feet in the air, and it wraps around the tree. To me, it really does sort of bring out what everyone loves as a child, with tree climbing at any age. That’s the first place people want to go when they walk around the yard,” Doumar said.

The open-style tree house is built from red cedar wood and has a railing along the edge. It has a pulley system with a basket so Doumar can send snacks up to her children. They even use the pulley system to bring up the family’s cat and chicken. The tree house has a ladder and steps with a handrail.

Doumar’s 9-year-old twins, Jackson and Allie, do homework, play games, camp out and read there, often joined by their dog, Primo, who climbs the stairs. Jackson loves dropping parachute men from the house. Doumar’s 16-year-old daughter, Emily, also gathers there with her friends.

“We bring a lot of people up there, and we always look at the view,” Allie said. “When we play hide and go seek, we hide up there and look around to see if we can find people who are hiding.”

But the tree house isn’t only used by the children. The adults love it, too. Doumar’s friends love gathering there when they come over for dinner or parties. About 30 people can fit. They use the pulley to bring up champagne or wine, and another pulley hoists up a chandelier, she said.

Matthew Owens, of Matthews, Ga., built a tree house for his three children, Faith, 10, Matthew Jr., 5, and Grace, 3, one year ago.

“I just wanted them to have a more of an adventurous life, like I did when I was little, and be more outdoors. Use their mind in more adventurous ways instead of using it on these video games,” Owens said. “As a boy, I climbed trees. Up until my teenage years, we were building tree houses.”

Initially, Owens was going to purchase a house-swing set, but he knew that he could build a tree house that was bigger, cheaper and with real wood. The house measures 8 feet by 8 feet and has a 12 foot by 12 foot deck.

“I didn’t want to harm the tree in any way, so there’s not even a screw touching the tree. I built around the tree and gave it some room to grow,” Owens said.

Pam Cox, of Evans, said that her son and husband built their tree house 10 years ago. Her children, Matthew, 13, and Rachel, 9, love eating lunch and reading there.

“My son was really young at the time, and I grew up with a tree house and so did my husband,” Cox said. “We always played in it so much and had the best time. We wanted the kids to have something they would enjoy out in the backyard.”

Jenny Nelson, of Evans, said that a tree house came with the home that her family moved into one year ago. Her 11-year-old twins, Ian and Isaiah, and 10-year-old son, Isaac, love using the house as a fort to have Nerf gun wars. When the weather permits, they camp out.

The parallelogram-shaped tree house is nestled in the center of a cluster of pine trees. It is six feet off the ground on a wooden floor board that goes around the trunk of a pine tree. The house has walls, a roof and a ladder, which can be pulled up into the trap door.

“It’s very solidly built. It’s got a lot of character. It’s rustic and blends in with the trees,” Nelson said. “It’s really cool. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

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dstewartsr 07/14/12 - 04:33 pm
Better not try that Grovetown; they'll either tax it to death or condemn it. Only thing you can build in the people's free democratic republic of Grovetown is new housing. Anything else, the code enforcement nazi will be on you like ugly on an ape.

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