I don’t know what it’s like in your neck of the woods, but here it’s got to be the hottest summer on record. But how many hours can you realistically keep the kids locked in the AC or cooling down in the pool? So we are mighty big fans of outside of the box concepts (like this sweet-treat playhouse by OTO) for letting the kids and their imaginations run wild. And now we’ve turned up some more.

Imagine Wagon cardboard playhouse at Cool Mom Picks

{Don’t miss an exclusive giveaway for CMP readers after the jump!}

I’m thinking these Build a Dream playhouses will pretty much make my kids the most popular on the block this summer. These top-notch eco-friendly cardboard creations provide a framework that encourages kids’ imaginations to venture far beyond, say, the ratty appliance box dragged out of the recycling pile.

The popular imagine wagon and snack shack are our top picks for the summer. Simply let the kids decorate them in their own style (or purchase the pre-designed sticker sets available) and then take their new cardboard wonder outside to play. Our suggestion? Buy a big bag of popsicles and let your kids serve them up to the whole neighborhood.

Blank Snack Shack playhouse on Cool Mom Picks

Colored Snack Shack on Cool Mom Picks

Sure, these cost more than the old-school “Mom ordered something big and now we have this cardboard box” play. But these structured pieces are sturdy and will hold up far beyond one day of hardcore use. Have a playroom with some space? Bring the playhouse inside and let the fun continue. Our imagine wagon is now living its second life as a Scooby Doo Mystery Machine. My personal choice for the snack shack? A therapy booth a la Charlie Brown (note: if you do this, please send us pictures, ok?).

Wherever your kids’ imagination takes them, these super cardboard play structures will certainly raise the coolness factor. Stephanie M

Shop the Build A Dream website to see their full selection of playhouses.

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