Christmas shopping for babies and toddlers is such an easy job, I only hope it continues as Cakes grows older. She's so into educational activities like reading and puzzles right now that I knew those were must have items. But I also wanted to get her something fun to play with outside. We have a huge yard but don't spend too much time out there because other than just running around, Cakes gets bored quite easily. When developing my Holiday Gift Guide I knew that I wanted to see a Step2 playhouse appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers.
For my review, I was sent a Neat & Tidy Cottage from Step2 and we gave it to Cakes as an early Christmas present. When the box arrived I tried to get her excited by showing her the picture and telling her what was inside but it wasn't until the toddler playhouse was out of the box that she was interested. And that interest was immediate. She was already playing with the attached phone and standing on the base of the house while it was being assembled around her. She's started calling it her house and will say, “Go play in Cakes' house, mama.”
- Fast and easy assembly. There were easy to follow instructions and all we needed was a screwdriver to fully assemble the Neat & Tidy Cottage. I think the most time consuming part was trying to construct the playhouse while a toddler was still inside.
- Open floor plan. While there are cute little Dutch-style shutters on either end, the sides are open so it's easy to monitor your child while they're playing. We have ours set up on our deck and Cakes is always in my line of sight through the kitchen window because of how open the playhouse is.
- Weatherproof. We're finally receiving some much needed rain in Texas and it has been standing up to the added moisture without problems and dries relatively quickly after a rain shower.
- Roomy interior. Cakes insists on someone else joining her in the playhouse and I can confirm that it's large enough for her to sit down on one of the two built-in seats with enough room leftover for an adult to sit down and a dog (depending on the size of the adult).
- Interior height. In retrospect, I should have chosen a playhouse that was larger. The interior height is on the small side at 45″ (Cakes is already 41″) so I question the lifespan. Step2 does make playhouses that go up to 55″ tall so that would have been a better selection for our tall child to increase the longevity.
Even with the low ceiling height, overall I'm very happy with the playhouse. If it makes Cakes happy, I'm happy and this one is definitely a favorite for her and I hope the new baby will enjoy it when she gets older as well.
Buy It: The Step2 Neat & Tidy Cottage can be purchased at major retailers nationwide and online for $139.99.