Do you have fond memories of rainy days spent draping mismatched sheets and blankets over various tables and chairs to create the perfect indoor forts as a child?
I know I do – it was one of my favorite activities and it didn’t take a dreary day to get me begging my mom for the bag of clothespins and sheets either. I was always up for a good fort-building experience, inside or out!
Today’s kids might not have as many opportunities to be bored as we did when we were younger, but I guarantee the allure of building forts is one that even the most tech-obsessed kid won’t be able to resist!
How can building forts benefit your kids
Besides being just plain, old, simple fun, fort-building can provide a long list of benefits for your children.
- keep them active (Physicality is involved with building the fort, crawling in and out of it and laying down inside)
- promote a vivid imagination and creative play
- stimulate brain development
- encourage problem-solving skills (What can I use to hold it up? How can I connect the sheets together or make it taller? How can I enter it? How can I fix it when it falls?)
- give them something to spend time on other than screens (Although that can be fun to do in a fort, too!)
- increase their spatial awareness
- help them with focus and patience
- build confidence
- improve their thinking and reasoning skills
- allow them to develop math and science skills naturally
- deliver an escape to another world
- demand that they find inventive uses of everyday items
- provide them with an incentive to read (since that’s always more fun to do in a fort!)
- free them to creatively decorate the space to their taste
- afford them the opportunity to create an independent DIY project
- teach the planning process
- create a positive environment for teamwork (if built with others, although it’s a great activity to do alone, as well!)
- foster autonomy and allow them to be in charge (Learn why this is so important by reading this post.)
- regulate and calm emotions (small spaces give them a little place of their own) — Find other ways to develop emotional skills here!
- offer them the ability to see what their focus, hard work and inventiveness can accomplish
Best of all, this activity is free and doesn’t require any supplies you don’t already have around the house!
Cushions, pillows, sheets, blankets, clothespins, tables, chairs, couches, cardboard boxes, plastic totes, and lids are all possible building supplies inside the house.
A few giant sheets and some swings, tree branches and bushes are all great supplies for the backyard!
You’ll be amazed at what creative uses your kids will find for things to decorate with and a string of battery-operated lights like these take the fun to a whole, new level!
Start promoting building forts in your home today and enjoy the bonus benefit of hours of kid-free time to yourself, without leaving the house or paying for a babysitter!
Trust me, you’ll be happy for this when those afternoon summer rainstorms roll through or those summer days just go on forever and never seem to end!
More great ideas for summer fun
Would you like other fun and inexpensive ways to keep your kids busy this summer? Click on over to my Fun, Free Staycation Idea post to find out one of my top ideas, as well as several handy resources!
Does your child enjoy building forts? I’d love to hear! Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.