My kids had been fighting on and off all week. Saturday morning rolled around and the household was peaceful. Thanks to Alvin, Simon and Theodore, I was able to drink my warm cup of coffee without interruption.
That is until my daughter reached over to the remote so she could turn off the TV.
“What are you doing?” I tried to ask calmly. I anticipated my four-year-old son wouldn’t be happy that his TV viewing time ended at the hands of his sister.
“We’re going to make a fort!” she declared motioning to her brother to join her.
As the two kids’ (fort builders) made their way upstairs, I wondered how long the fun would last.
When fifteen minutes passed and all remained well, I went upstairs to see what was up…
The Kids’ Fort Had Unexpected Results
When I handed my kids sheets and boxes to make their fort, I assumed they would use the boxes as pillars and the sheet as a roof.
Instead, I saw sheets as the base and found out the boxes, tipped on their sides – were the bedrooms. Their stuffed animals sat in a circle as they happily munched on containers of cereal my daughter had brought up.
After about an hour’s worth of play, they decided to invite the neighbours over to join. Because Jared and Joseph are older than my two kids, I thought they may not understand my kids’ version of a fort.
Boy, was I wrong! They loved the idea and joined right in.
If you too want to recreate the magic of fort building in your own home, these tips are gold!
How to Build the Best Kids’ Forts
1. Start by remembering the best form of imaginative play is child-led. So, if your child asks for help, show them how. Otherwise, worth alongside their vision or back off entirely.
2. Use materials you already have. More times than I can count, I’ve been tempted to buy a fort making kit. The truth is, our family doesn’t need more stuff and the kids have a blast with stuff we already have. Moreover, a fort building kit requires following steps while using sheets, boxes, and the kitchen table requires innovation and STEM learning
3. Try out different types of forts. On another day, my kids and their twin best friends used the kitchen table and a pile of sheets to create a magic fort that turned them invisible. One day, we also tried the idea in this video using the back of the couch, a fitted sheet and two chairs. The truth is, when you eliminate the idea of what the end result should look like, anything can be turned into a really awesome kids’ fort.
4. Go find and/or build forts outside. When we are at the park, my kids have found ‘natural forts.’ Basically, they walk through the forested area and deem any enclave a secret hideout. Sometimes the add branches to the area. Other times, their imagination makes up for the gaps in the physical structure.
That day, my kids spend over two hours playing in their makeshift fort. It was a wonderful lesson to me. I was able to see how much joy can be had when I step back and let my kids’ imagination unfold.