Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How To Build Awesome Forts With Your Kids

It's fort week! I'm posting on social media this week getting fellow moms to build awesome forts with their kids and share the photos. Kids love forts, and what's not to love? A tiny house inside a house! Kid-size! Secret areas where kids can hide. I was crazy for forts when I was a kid and built many an epic blanket-castle along with my 3 siblings when we were growing up. Many times we turned the entire living room into a giant fort. Come to think of it, that must have drove my parents crazy. No matter, as a mom of a 1 and 3 year old, I get to make forts again, which I do almost once a week, especially in the winter when playing outside is less of an option.

Forts don't have to be elaborate or cause a big mess. Here are some simple ideas to get you started with what's around your home.

Basic Structures

  • Dining Room Table: As seen in the photo above, turn the chairs around so the backs are facing the table. Drape blankets over the chair backs and secure with clothes-pins if needed. Makes a large mulit-child fort. Generally doesn't get in the way if you don't use your dining room often.
  • Card Table: Drape with a large blanket or two leaving one side open. Stick it in the corner to occupy minimal space and close in two of the sides with walls. Great for small kids and homes with limited room.
  • Couch: Pull the couch a couple feet out from the wall. Lean the cushions on the back of the couch to form a lean-to roof. Alternatively use a blanket and secure to the opposite wall via hooking onto window ledges or just drape the blanket off the back to form a triangular tent. Put two loveseats back-to-back to get really serious although that takes up a lot of room. If you can swing it, the kids can play behind the couch and you can still watch TV!
  • TV Tables: These folding mini-tables are great for forts. Use them to form the corners of the main structure, build a tunnel by lining them up, or use one or two to form a tunnel entrance to a larger fort. Assemble securely and drape with blankets.

Add-Ons & Tools

  •  Use tv tables to form tunnels and entrances. Connect two larger forts together.
  • Couch cushions form great walls, ceilings and lounge cushions.
  • Those viny toy tunnels can be added onto forts easily.
  • Piles and piles of pillows!
  • Glow sticks and other light-up toys make awesome ambience.
  • Clothes pins, elastics, twine and bungies can help secure a fort.

Tips

  • Building a fort requires no damage to any of the materials. You can secure blankets without cutting holes of any kind. Try clothes pins or gather the blanket into a knot and elastic band it.
  • No climbing on forts! Not safe!
  • Use a low-traffic room or area so the fort can stay up for a few days.
  • Get your kids to help build as much as possible.
  • Keep an eye on kids playing in forts. They often think being out of sight of adults means they can get away with bullying or other things they aren't allowed to do (like eat snacks, play with adult gadgets, etc).
  • Watch out for electrical sockets behind couches and inside forts. Put safety plugs in them. 
  • Eating (non-messy) snacks in forts is a special treat for kids.
  • Bonus points if your older kids are allowed to sleep overnight in their fort on a non-school night. Like indoor camping!
My kids played happily in the fort all day today. A nice side effect of helping your kids build a fort is that it keeps them occupied for hours!

So moms, did you build an awesome fort? Share a photo with us or post your ideas.

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