You Want to Construct a Crooked Playhouse
Recently featured on Jon & Kate Plus 8, the Kids Crooked Playhouses were a big hit with the Gosselin gang -and are gaining in popularity. They are cute, unique, and whimsical outdoor playhouses. As one would expect, they are cost quite a pretty penny as well. Instead of opting to buy a disney playhouse, or prefabricated playhouse of some sort, think about building your own crooked one. If you do decide to build one, you'll definitely need to refresh your geometry skills. These outdoor beauties look like they were constructed using irregular trapezoids and pentagons.
You could try to duplicate the original Kids Crooked Playhouse, or you can make a bit easier on yourself and construct one using the following information.
Construct 2 identical pentagon shaped panels to use as the front and back of your playhouse. Then use two more identical trapezoid panels as the sides and two identical trapezoid panels for the roof. Lastly, add some wonky shaped windows, a crooked door, and maybe a really out-of whack looking porch to give the illusion of a crooked playhouse. Attach the structure to a cedar base and you've got yourself a crooked playhouse!
Constructing the Pentagons
A pentagon can easily be constructed using three isosceles triangles. An isoceles triangle is a triangle with two equal sides. The two blue triangles in the image to the right are identical in measurement since they share a side. The shared side is the unequal side of each of the blue triangles; therefore, one can deduce that these triangles congruent sides are all identical because they have the same inner side.The purple isosceles triangle is smaller.
To create your pattern, draw all three triangles on a piece of graph paper and then connect the lines represented by the black dotted lines in the image to the right. You should now have a symmetrical pentagon. Construct pentagon shaped frames out of 2 x 4 wood. Don't choose pressure treated wood if your frame won't be covered in the inside of your structure. Pressure treated wood has toxins in it - including arsenic. You don't want your children exposed to these. You could choose a wood such as cedar, or regular wood since the frame won't be exposed to the outside elements if you build a leakproof house.
Next create two isosceles trapezoid frames which will become the sides. An isoceles trapezoid is a quadralateral (or four sided figure) with two parallel sides and two pairs of equal interior angles. The interior corner angles all add up to 360 degrees. Learn more about them here. If you are really confident and have some woodworking experience under your belt, you might try creating a trapezium which has no parallel sides. Despite the method used, you'll need to create four sided shapes with two opposing sides being the same length as the sides of the front and back so that you may connect them together easily.
Putting It All Together
Connect the roofs of each front and back piece with support beams. Frame out wonky shaped windows and a door in side and front panels. Add siding, shingles, the window frames, window boxes, and the door. Paint your house and enjoy.
Growing up, I had an awesome treehouse that my mother built for me. It had hooks for a blackboard where I played teacher for hours; hence my undergrad degree in teaching. She also added "running water" to the house. She did this by cutting circle in a make believe counter. She inserted a shallow plastic laundry basket with a lip on it. The lip kept it from falling through the hole. Then she fastened an upside-down milk jug full of water above the sink area. It had lid with a hole poked in it. She attached some plastic tubing (probably from a left over aquarium setup) and bent the other end of the tubing and kept it bent with a clothespin. Whenever I wanted water, I simply undid the clothespin and let water run into my pretend sink. I then closed the tube back up when I was finished. So much fun!