The hunt for the best family treehouse begins as new research reveals that over half (58%) of today’s children would rather have a treehouse than the latest game console.
Furthermore, two in five (42%) think that their parent building them a treehouse would top the list of the most ‘epic’ things they could do for them.
The list goes on to reveal that children are otherwise most impressed when their parent plays a game with them outside (35%), reads them a story (33%) or watches their favourite film or television programme with them (33%).
However, according to the research, just one in ten (10%) children today have a house in the treetops, compared to a quarter (25%) of their parents who grew up with one – showing a 15% drop in just one generation.
As a result, and to mark the arrival of four brand new Treehouses at Center Parcs Elveden Forest in Suffolk, families from around the UK are encouraged to get out in the garden and enter pictures of their own treehouse. The family with the best entry will win a short break in a luxury Center Parcs Treehouse.
Children are most drawn to the idea of having adventures in a treehouse, with over half (55%) citing it as the main reason for wanting one. Over a quarter (27%) think it would be the best place to imagine games while two in five (43%) like the idea of having a space which is their own. A sturdy 38% like the idea of a treehouse so they can spend longer outdoors – even if it’s raining!
The enthusiasm children show for the idea means that over half of (54%) parents are most persuaded to build a treehouse by the fact their children want one, and nearly one in five (18%) would consider it to encourage their children to go outside more.
Nostalgia is also a big prompt with 8% of parents wanting a treehouse for their children in their adult years because they had one as a child. So much so, on average parents try to recreate five of their own childhood memories with their children.
However, the biggest reasons which are holding parents back from building one are; not enough space (45%), lack of DIY skills (26%), lack of time (11%) and worrying that it would decrease the value of the property (4%).
Steve Backshall, famed for his CBBC adventure and wildlife programmes, joins a panel of judges including Center Parcs’ ‘Chief Treehouse Builder’ Tom Courtney (from Cocksedge Building Contractors Limited) and CEO of Center Parcs, Martin Dalby.
Steve Backshall said: “I’m so excited to see all the entries from families who have spent time together in the great outdoors to build a treehouse. If this competition encourages more people to do the same, I’ll be overjoyed. We’re not necessarily looking for the biggest or flashiest treehouse, but something which shows the personality of the family. This is the sort of thing I would definitely want to do if I have children in the future.”
Center Parcs Chief Treehouse builder Tom Courtney added: “One most important things to consider when building a treehouse is exploring the different types of access. This should be your starting point. This is a great opportunity to experiment with ladders, ramps, ropes or bridges. Even before entering your treehouse you have already had an exciting journey getting to the front door! The house itself can be any shape or size, why stick to a conventional box shape? Try introducing different levels and angles to your house. Overall the treehouse should be individual to you and be a fun space that you can enjoy spending time with family and friends.”
CEO of Center Parcs Martin Dalby said: “It’s great to see that children are still excited about being outdoors and would love to build a treehouse with their parents. What better way to mark the arrival of our new Treehouses in Elveden Forest, than by finding a family who has built the UK’s Top Treehouse. Our Treehouses deliver another level of luxury for families wanting to live that childhood dream of being high in the trees and having great adventures in the forest.”
Families can enter by posting a picture of themselves and their treehouse on Facebook or twitter, with the hashtag #UKTopTreehouse, before midnight on Wednesday August 3rd.
Full Ts&Cs for the competition can be found at: www.centerparcs.co.uk/UK_Top_Treehouse