Quite a few years ago now I remember I read a brief something about sunflower playhouses on a seed website. At the time a didn't have children so I kind of filed that idea away in my brain. Well, now I do! and they are the perfect ages to appreciate a playhouse made of plants. My daughter's favorite color is yellow and she loves to hide in small spaces so I have a feeling I will need to drag her in the house for dinner at the end of the summer!
The first thing you need to do is find an area in your yard or garden that gets at least 6 hours of full sun if not 8-10. Ideally this spot would also be in a place that is convenient for kids to play safely (right next to the driveway or road might not be a good idea in case your little angels decide to *pop!* out of their house to surprise you!). Next, decide how you would like to prepare your soil. This is completely personal and there are tons of different ways but my current favorite way is to lay down some cardboard or paper, a few inches of my horse/chicken/barn waste compost and then a mulch. This time I will be using hay that I raked of the barn floor (multi-tasking, cleaning the barn and mulching!). I like this way of soil prep for several reasons but the most important is that I can do it all by myself with a wheelbarrow and shovel. Oh, and it's free. With your chosen method, make a horseshoe shape ring.
After you have prepped for planting, um, plant! I am using Mammoth Sunflowers which grow 8-12 feet high but you can mix and match your types as you please. Be sure to stagger the seeds in at least 2 rows so that the "walls" don't have gaping holes in them. Another nice method would be to not only stagger the seeds but to use varied heights (tallest on the inside row, shortest on the outside). When the plants are a couple inches high pull your mulch around them to prevent weeds and moisture loss.
A note about sunflowers: they are heavier feeders and drinkers. I know I tend to forget that flowers need to be fed like vegetables do! Make sure to use a good amount of rich compost to produce hearty stalks and large blooms. If you mulch fairly heavy not only will that help with watering frequency but it will provide a bit of extra support to an extent.
Now all that is left to do is to wait for it to grow! By the end of the summer not only will the kids have a super awesome living fort but I will have lots of sunflower heads to keep the chickens happy all winter. Well, as long as the cat keeps the birds away.
If you have kids, this is an awesome way to spoil them for (in my case) about $2 and an hour of my time. Involve them in the process and then they will be able to show it off to their friends and be so proud of being a homestead kid! Homesteading with children can be rather challenging at times but with a bit of creativity both of you will have memories that can't be made any other way.