Ok, firstly a disclaimer, I grew up on a farm, so maybe my memories of growing up in the 80’s aren’t going to be exactly the same as yours, but I suspect they could be? That is, that some of my greatest childhood memories were building cubby houses, or cubbies as they are almost universally known.
My cubby experience did get off to somewhat shaky start when my Dad built a cubby house out of fibro-cement, that probably contained asbestos, under an old tree that quickly become infested with large spiders. Credit, where credits due though, my Dad did later on build us an awesome Climbing Frame, so I can forgive him for the false start.
From there, as soon as my brother, sister and I were old enough, we were off exploring. This exploring usually lead to attempts at “colonising” various parts of the farm, through crudely designed cubby houses. From the a series of cubbies in the Pine trees down behind our house, one built in a hay stack, to a hastily built castle made out of fruit bins and boxes - we built them anywhere we could. Sure we never attempted a tree house, we knew our limitations, but otherwise the entire farm was pretty much our building site.
I feel a bit sorry for kids today. Whilst I’m sure kids living on farms haven’t stopped building cubbies, it’s not really the same for kids growing up in the “burbs”. Sure you can buy a cubby house from your local Bunnings but it’s not really the same. You haven’t really experienced the joy of cubby building, until you’ve scrounged around for building materials or found yourself covered in branches and leaves because your cubby building techniques weren’t quite up to “code”.
Stay tuned, my Mum and Dad still live on that farm, and I’m not ruling out taking on that tree house project and showing my boys what growing up in the 80’s was all about...