It started off as a small quarantine project. My husband (Rizwan) and I were chatting one evening.
Rizwan – “Should I build a playhouse in the backyard for the girls?”
Me – “Yeah, sure. That would be nice. I always wanted a playhouse when I was a little girl.”
The inner child in me was ecstatic. I thought of all the childhood memories we would create. The number of birthday and backyard parties we can have. Our summer evening listening to music and having the girls play in their very own playground and endless garden summer parties. The options were limitless.
We told the girls and they were thrilled. My older daughter Layan loves to be outdoors. She would stay in the backyard all day if I allowed it. My little one, Layla, on the other hand, is very impatient and expected the playground to be completed in a day!
I honestly would have been satisfied with a playhouse large enough for our two girls to fit inside and move around and that’s what I expected my hubby to build. Rizwan does not like simple and he wanted to create an enchanting Disney-style playground in our backyard. We absolutely love Disney. We go to Florida every year for two weeks in November. Unfortunately, this year we would not be able to go anywhere so he wanted to create a magical playground for our girls. It took about 4 months. He basically devoted all his time when he was not working to building the playground. I was in awe of the magical space he created. My girls are obsessed with it.
He built each girls their very own princess kingdoms. He built Layla a Princess Rapunzel tower with a yellow turbo slide representing Rapunzel’s long golden hair. The tower is so spacious and easily fits two little chairs and an easel with books. The girls love to role play. Layan pretends to be the teacher and Layla is her student. They have endless fun playing and sliding down the super fast swirly yellow slide.
I love all the little details Rizwan put forth to ensure it was as authentic a representation of Princess Rapunzel’s tower as possible. The roof shingles (cut out one-by-one), the princess-themed window trims featuring a symbol of each princess’ story – carved out by hand, the cute flower pots hanging at the windows and the inviting space so the girls can easily move around. I remembered one summer day we were playing in the backyard and it started to pour. They ran into the tower and asked if they can stay in there until the rain stops. I allowed them and it was such a simple moment at the time but now as I reminisce, I remembered hearing them giggling and they were so excited to shelter from the rain in their very own castle tower. It was the cutest thing and a memory I will cherish forever.
Behind Layla’s tower is a bridge connecting to Layan’s Cinderella castle. Layan’s castle has a balcony, a skylight ceiling and a rock climbing wall plus ladder to enter the castle. I put two chairs on the balcony for the girls to sit and enjoy summer nights. They absolutely love taking their dolls on the balcony and enjoying the weather. I love their imagination and the hours they play outside.
I love the French castle-type doors with the black door handles that look like they are from a medieval draw bridge in a Magical Kingdom. My big girl Layan loves cars, so Rizwan wanted to make the playground as enjoyable as possible by creating different areas for the girls to have endless fun. Beneath Layan’s Cinderella castle, Rizwan built a garage for their electric cars and shelves for Layan to store all of her toy tools.
Another thing that the girls like doing every day is pretend play, like every little kid. We wanted to make pretend-play as fun as possible. Next to the garage, beneath the bridge, Rizwan created a shop with a kitchen and a huge glass window so they can pretend to order for take out or dine in in the adjoining dining area, beneath Layla’s tower. In the kitchen, Rizwan made shelves for their pretend food and a stand for their Mickey Mouse BBQ. He made a second set of shelves for their pretend dishes and a stand for their battery operated sink with real water.
Beneath Layla’s tower, we put a Kidkraft table and chairs and a small blue battery-operated chandelier. When it’s dark and we put the chandelier on, it lights up and the entire area sparkles. It looks so magical. To enter the restaurant, there’s a small door with an arch and pink floral vines, just like Rapunzel would have had!
Except for Cinderella’s staircase, the playground was completed by the beginning of August. Next spring, we would like to paint everywhere, work on the interior, add picture frames, curtains and more furniture to make it more cozy for the girls. I’m so excited for this. Most importantly, we will have to replace the grass after the completion of the construction.
At the end of August we added LED strip lights to both castles. They are smart lights that are music synced. It’s so beautiful to play music in the backyard and have the lights glow to the music.
We had fun decorating the playground for Halloween and making it spooky but cute with Mickey Mouse pumpkin wreaths.
For Christmas, we added a lot of light and music effects. We added garlands to the bridge and big red bows to look festive. It looked so enchanting, especially when it was covered in a blanket of snow.
What started off as a playhouse became a magical playground kingdom with a Rapunzel tower connected to a bridge behind leading to Cinderella castle, with a garage, a shop and a restaurant beneath!
Rizwan created the most magical place in our backyard for our little girls. His talent is remarkable and I’m so proud of what a devoted dad he is. He is most definitely the definition of a #girldad. Thank you for making the most amazing playground for our girls. I can’t wait for next spring to finish the interior decorating portion. Don’t worry guys, I will update you with part 2 when it’s complete.
Rizwan required a lot of help and we are so grateful for all the family and friends that came to assist early in the mornings and sometimes late in the evenings. Thank you all for your tremendous kindness, we are so grateful for it all.