Backyard Sailing: 13 Play House Ships for the Aspiring Pirate
We’ve scoured the entire internet to share with you our top picks for play house ships. Some are just ships with related gear (crows nests, port holes, mast, etc.), while a few include an attached swing set. From do-it-yourself projects with reclaimed wood to expensive, professionally constructed ships, here are 13 ideas for transforming your backyard into a play haven your children will love for years.
This ship sports three finely-crafted decks, ready for adventure on the high seas! With a usable crow’s nest, windows, a detailed exterior and a beautifully carved figurehead, this clipper is sure to attract the eyes of anyone passing by.
In a great blend of swing set and pirate ship, smart repetition of colors helps both sections to work together visually. Sporting everything from a planter box on the aft window to a slide for quick descent from the upper deck, your young Blackbeard will have plenty to keep himself engaged. By the look of it, the broadside cannons can be moved!
If you can believe it, this raft was originally started as a school project. Rather than put hours of effort into making some kind of cardboard model, this enterprising parent put about six weeks into making the “Gull and Crossbones,” pictured above. The full story and several photos of production can be found here. The mayor of Hastings, UK, even helped to “launch” the ship!
Merchant ships beware! This ship is moving at top speed, if the waves against the keel are any indicator, and the skull and crossbones are waving waving proudly in the wind. Fun colors, a large steering wheel, great place to hide in the lower decks make this a great addition to the list.
This ship doesn’t seem like it will be doing any more sailing. Caught up in a tree, it’s clear that the glory days of sailing the seven seas are behind it. Still, this is a pirate hideout that any treasure seeker would be proud to call home. Multiple entrances including the hollowed tree trunk mean there are plenty of places to go. I absolutely love the bold color palette and dark black lines throughout that give the whole piece artistic depth.
The long climb into this fine sailing vessel gives time to appreciate its size. Solid wood construction is a favorite of mine, and it gives set a clean appearance that will look even better with time as the wood develops a weathered patina. A majestic white sail and long green slide mean any captain will be proud to call this ship their own.
For those with a big backyard! While almost any kid would be thrilled to have even one ship at home, this set does double duty. Two ships, two swing sets, two rope climbing setups, and a bridge between them mean that ship battles are sure to break out between rival captains.
Another great example of an attached swing set. This ship can easily entertain a large number of sailors or landlubbers. For those brave enough to hit the high seas, the rock climbing wall is an unexpected feature that is sure to bring lots of enjoyment to everyone.
Here’s a ship that has weathered a few storms. The distressed wood is sure to give its young new captain a sense of taking command of a tested, reliable ship. The steep slide is sure to provide a thrilling (but safe!) escape in case of trouble, and the loose slats let parents keep an eye on their sailors.
Just this ship alone is an impressive piece of work, but when you add a more traditional wooden fort and a bridge between the two, this becomes something special indeed. A large tube slide is always a hit with kids, and they may need it to escape! Who knows when a pirate ship may sail in for a raid?
This ship is all about climbing. A great set of rope rigging provides a direct route to the crow’s nest, and then monkey bars can be used to return to the steering wheel and keep the craft on course. A really interesting idea is the inclusion of a sandbox on the lower deck, which is sure to ease the boredom of a long sailing journey.
For the more relaxed seafarers in your family. While there is plenty of opportunity for running, climbing, and sliding here, the feature that strikes me here is the small bistro table and two chairs. Whether it is used to count the loot of a recently raided port or to sip juice and talk about the finer points of life is up to your kids.
Reusing pallets is wildly popular these days, but this is something I haven’t seen done before. The dark stained wood is a great contrast against the bright yellow railings and blue-and-white sail. The budget-minded builder behind this set had the great idea of including a laundry basket as a crow’s nest. Backyard sailing doesn’t have to break the bank!
For older kids who aren’t aspiring to be pirates or sailors, check out these other dream playsets. Or, if your kids are a bit too young for their own pirate ship, consider getting them an adjustable playset to help them grow their climbing skills.