Fort building: It’s not just a staple in childhood entertainment. I think, no matter how old you get, blanket forts are always awesome. We are never really done with building forts, we just take a hiatus somewhere between the teen years and early adulthood. It all circles back around once we have kids of our own. That’s when you dig through your memory for blueprints on the best forts you ever built, eager to share them with your minis.
Now I will say, it took some effort to convince Superman, who is only three, that all this stuffing and pinning of sheets was going to turn into something really cool. I pretty much did all the work and said many MANY times, “Don’t touch the sheet!” As, of course, every time he saw the sheet move higher his little fingers just wanted to tear it all down. He resisted, however, and awesomeness ensued.
I am no expert fort – builder, mind you, that title goes to the husband but alas, he had to work… (poor me building blanket forts all morning!) but with some very simple material and a good space, anything is possible.
We started with the basics, a large sheet. Superman was given the task of filling a laundry basket with “pillows and blankets” which he did admirably, collecting exactly one pillow and one blanket. He got the job done, and it was really all we needed! I find the key to building a good (and simple!) fort is all about the space. A good space doesn’t require a lot of stuffing, weighing down or tying of anything. We used the area behind our sofa. From the picture you can see we have a little play area back there. I stuffed on end of the sheet behind the couch pillows, then pinned the other side (with clothes line pins) to the draw string of the window shades. It was actually pretty easy, as long as the kids stayed out of the way for the few seconds it took to get everything off the ground. For us, that is literally all I did to create a fort, and Superman and his sister, Rogue (who is almost 1), LOVED it. They both crawled around inside and giggled and later had snacks inside too. It was a fresh change from our normal indoor activities.
Basic fort materials you may or may not need:
- The biggest bed sheets you have (king, queen, full, grab the biggest!)
- Something to attach, or weight the sheet. Depending on your space you will want clothes pins, heavy books or string to tie or weigh the sheet down to create the tent-like cover.
- Pillows and blankets for INSIDE the fort. You can’t have a cozy hide-out without more pillows and blankets! (We also happen to have a couple of bean bag chairs.. that always helps!
For Fort Location, simple is always best. If you aren’t sure where will work try these:
- A Table fort : Just throw a large sheet over a table and you’ve got a cozy little nook to play in! You will need to find a good combination of table size and sheet size so that the sheet touches the floor, that way you get the cave effect when you go inside.
- Chairs fort : Line chairs (like dining room chairs, make sure they are heavy enough not to fall over!) in the shape you want, circle or parallel lines, again throw sheet over and ta-da! You may need to weigh the sheet down with books or other heavy (but safe-for-kids) objects if you find the sheet is sagging too much.You are done, you fort architect, you! And the most important part? Get in with them!!
Building a blanket fort together is a great way to ignite the imagination as well as lay ground work for exploration and independence! As kids get older they tend to build forts on their own and with friends, using their imaginations for creative play and maybe even a little engineering! So next rainy day, or one that’s just too hot to get out, pull out the sheets and blankets and try it out!