If you're the proud parent of a sleek and glassy iPhone, and an owner of a small child (wait … what? – Ed) you'll know that objects don't have to be childish in appearance to hold appeal to children. It's perhaps with this in mind that the SmartPlayhouse was designed, being a small cage or holding pen (or playhouse, surely – Ed) in which to ensnare and detain children (I give up – Ed), while having a nicely modern, clean appearance.

Joking aside (thank goodness; signing off – Ed), the SmartPlayhouse is precisely that: a place for children aged 2 to 10 to be left alone to play and have fun. There are four outdoor designs to choose from, named Casaforum, Illinois, Kyoto and Hobikken, the last two of which are also available as indoor models.

The Hobikken (top left), Casaforum (top right), Kyoto (two-story model, bottom left), and Illinois (bottom right)

SmartPlayhouse claims that the outdoor houses are built with high quality weather-resistant materials that should stand the test of time (and small stamping feet). To protect against the elements, doors and windows are sealed, and the whole house raised above the ground.

SmartPlayhouse has thought hard about safety. Windows are acrylic, and doors and windows shut using magnets. Standard versions come without locks, though outside of the US, a lock can be added as an option. It can only be secured from the outside.

SmartPlayhouses can be customized with different fittings and finishes, including a choice of colors. No electrics are included, but have been considered in the design should one wish to add lighting and power. The houses are designed so that they can be taken down again should if they need to be moved, or given away when the progeny are too big.

SmartPlayhouse quotes prices on a case by case basis, and so we don't expect that they come cheap. The company says it can make large versions if desired.

The SmartPlayhouse arrives as a kit for home assembly. It's a two person job, and an electric screwdriver is recommended.

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