Being from Southeast Arkansas, I remember my friends and I were always encouraged to go outside and play.  Our parents were concerned that we were spending entirely too much time playing Nintendo and not enough time enjoying nature.  It wasn’t until our parents bought us bikes that we really had an interest in the great outdoors.  Afterwards, my friends and I would be caught throughout the neighborhood building clubhouses out of anything you could imagine—haystacks, fallen trees and brush, rotted 2-by-4’s—nothing was safe from being used as supplies for our little colonies. 

Our parents were thrilled we were finally playing outside, but believe it or not, our clubhouses were not the most pleasant structures to the eyes.  Honestly, they were eye sores.  My parents loathed the idea of stifling our creative by deconstructing our ugly creations; however, they didn’t want their home to look like a tornado hit it either.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have something to inspire creative for your children, add value to your home, and be aesthetically pleasing?  Scot Meyer of SwitchYard Media came up with a list of 10 kid-spoiling home additions that could rock your kid’s world and potential increase the value of your home.  Some of these additions may require having deep pockets, but I’m sure you can use your own imagination to create your own inexpensive variations of these additions.

Secret Entrances

Even though this first addition won’t encourage your child to play outside, secret entrances throughout my house would successfully fulfill my inner James Bond.  Creative Home Engineering specializes in building secret corridors that are concealed behind bookcases and staircases.  Kids nowadays are really interested in the Harry Potter series and would really appreciate projects such as these.  Most of these projects are for children 8 and order and cost from $8,000 to $10,000 when done professionally.

In-Ground Trampolines

A company suitably called In-Ground Trampolines specializes in, you guessed it, in-ground trampolines.  This idea offers aesthetic and practical advantages such as reducing the risk of injury.  Since these trampolines are flushed with your lawn, you won’t have a jarring ornament protruding in your yard.  These trampolines are suitable for children 6 and older and cost $1,550 for the trampoline and $800 to $1,800 for a professional landscaper. 

Outdoor Theaters

Have any thespians or rock stars at your home?  Then, give them a stage to showcase their talents to the world or at least their neighborhood.  Theaters, such as a stained redwood theater like the one built by Barbara Butler Artist-Builder Inc., can add value to your home.  Their 12-by-9-foot rectangular stages have front and side walls with a curtain rod.  Outdoor theaters are suitable for all ages, and this company charged $29,920 for this magnificent platform. 

Backyard Skate Park

One sport that doesn’t pass too many parent’s minds as being one of the fastest growing sports is skateboarding.  If you don’t prefer the one at Wilson Park, then companies like Rampage LLC sell grind rails for $150 and half-pipes starting at $2,510.  An effective way to increase the value of your home is to have a company such as Pillar Design Studios LLC to create a custom skateable bowl that doubles as a pool.  A 1,500-square-foot bowl runs for about $45,000 and are suited for ages 6 and older under adult supervision. 

Rock-Climbing Walls

After watching 127 hours, this next addition may not be ideal for many moms, but rock-climbing walls are excellent for exercise.  For do-it-yourselfers, AtomikClimbingHolds.com shows a variety of ways to build a safe climbing wall.  Utah-based Spectrum Sports Int’l has experience in creating climbing boulders that have 31 linear feet of climbing surface, a 4-foot arch, and a 14-foot tube slide through the center of the boulder.  This addition is suitable for children 5 and older, and this structure costs $9,799.

Treehouses

It’s hard to beat an old fashion treehouse.  Of course, treehouses today are so elaborate that you could probably rent them out.  As a matter of fact, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes reportedly bought a $100,000 treehouse, complete with running water, electricity, nannies, and security cameras.  Companies such as Barbara Butler Artist-builder Inc. can construct a 30-square-foot treehouse 7 feet off the ground, which include windows, a deck, a ladder, and a fire pole.  It is recommended for ages 10 and older and costs $38,870

Wall Aquariums

Thanks to movies such as “Finding Nemo” and upcoming movie “A Dolphin’s Tale,” children have become fascinated with aquatic life.  Aquariums don’t only provide beautiful vocal points for a room but also spark interest for children interested in marine biology as well as teaching them responsibility.  For a couple hundred dollars, you can buy a regular, table-top tank.  Infinity’s designs create gorgeous wall aquariums starting around $10,000 and range to six figures, suitable for all children.

Swimming Pools

No surprise here.  All the cool kid’s parents have a poolPools are great for entertaining guests and kids and perfect for escaping the heat.  Depending on the quality of the pool, prices vary from a $249 above-ground pool from Wal-Mart to an in-ground pool that costs between $20,000 and $45,000.  According to the National Association of Realtors, an in-ground pool can add as much as 8% to the value of a home.

Playhouses

Maybe a treehouse is too dangerous and an outdoor theater is lacking more involvement, but a playhouse has everything to spoil your kids.  It’s capable to encompass most of the previous additions depending on how elaborate you want it.  Barbara Butler Artist-Builder Inc. customized a towering play fort for $119,940.  I know we all have that lying around.  If you don’t, then HomePlace Structures will build an 8-by-9-foot play cottage with flower boxes, two dormers, and two windows with shutters and screens.  Their playhouse costs $3,199 and is suitable for all ages.

Garden Railroads

Bring a little bit of magic into your garden by constructing an outdoor train set.  Kids love trains; ask Thomas the Tank Engine.  Actually the other day I had a hard time visiting with some friends at Chili’s from watching a train loop around the restaurant.  Basic train sets costs a few hundred dollars.  Train set expert Nancy Norris offers to customize bigger projects starting at $2,000 for do-it-yourselfers, but some projects can reach up to $100,000.  I would just buy my own train engine and call it a playhouse for that much.  

Hopefully, this blog can help stimulate some ideas for creating your own unique additions.  Let us know what you think.  Share on our Facebook page “McNaughton Real Estate” if you have some great ideas for an addition to your home that your kids would love.  You can also preview pictures of the most elobrate additions from this list on our Facebook page.  Don't forget to "Like" us!

-David Tyler Mills