Do the words “pillow fort” conjure parental fear of messy blankets, all the couch cushions ruined, and all your children sleeping out of their beds for the foreseeable? Well, that last one might be true. But these are #quarantimes, people! Might as well make this time at home special with the help of some sheets, twinkle lights, and just a little bit of magic.
But don’t just stop at pillow forts. You can build blanket forts, cardboard forts, a simple fort with just a sheet and a clothesline or a complicated one with secret entrances and defense towers. We’ve rounded up 10 of the most fun forts, fortresses, castles, teepees and tents so you can wow your kiddos — and yourself — by creating a magical space you’ll all want to live in forever. Or at least until the next time somebody tries to change their bedsheets and realizes the contents of the linen closet are, um, otherwise engaged.
So get ready to show off your architectural skills and relive your own days of youth by building one of these incredible and cozy hideaways. Pizza party in a fort, anyone?
A sheet fort under the “stars”
Add a string of lights to brighten up your fort — and make it less like the dark pillow caves you may have grown up building. Proximity to the kitchen makes your fort the perfect spot for a picnic. Or, just use it to binge-watch your latest family obsession — or just watch Moana for the 5,793,283th time. Whichever.
A hula hoop canopy
This super-simple Hula-Hoop fort can be made with a Hula-Hoop and a sheet for that canopy effect that says, “Oh, you fancy.” A very classy update to the blanket fort of old.
A clothesline companion
No chairs/Hula-Hoops/defensive towers/secret doors? No problem. A piece of clothesline and a sheet are all you need for this cozy hideaway. Add side-by-side mattresses for the perfect sibling sleepover locale.
An outdoor fort
Who says you have to stay indoors? Bring that mountain of pillows and blankets outside, string a clothesline between a few trees and voila! Stargazing in style. Infinitely more comfortable than backyard camping in a plastic tent. Just be sure to check the weather first.
The fanciest tasseled teepee
Teepees are a gorgeous alternative to some of the more claustrophobic forts; they offer that cozy sanctuary while still being open and inviting. Plus, there’s no fear of the entire pillow fort collapsing on your head when you stand up. Some greenery and a beautiful lamp make this the perfect reading nook.
A cardboard fort
This slotted cardboard house from Project Little Smith leaves all those other cardboard-box crafts in the dust. It can be taken apart, rebuilt and taken apart again as often as you want. The pieces can be stacked flat for easy storage and can easily be painted, drawn on, or customized to your kids’ own unique tastes. Use a thicker cardboard for a sturdier house and follow the step-by-step instructions for easy-peasy assembly.
A giant teepee
Is the aforementioned teepee just a little too tiny for you? Look no further: This teepee can fill the entire room if you want it to and can be fully enclosed or exposed depending on how you arrange your blankets. Spread out, put a table in there, add a coffee machine, whatever you want. Looks like a good place for your next board meeti— I mean, looks like a great place for your kids’ clubhouse.
A fort bed
If you want to get really serious about this whole fort thing, bust out the power tools. These amazing step-by-step instructions for how to build a toddler house bed frame are shockingly doable, and bonus: This might actually make your kids want to go to bed. Who wouldn’t want their own fort that never has to be taken down?
An A-frame fort
If you want something a little less permanent (aka something you can easily move to vacuum under) here’s a collapsible A-frame tent DIY that is effortless and adorable from the folks at We Lived Happily Ever After. Let your kids pick a fabric to match their personality. And when they’re done playing, it folds flat for trouble-free storage.
A whole damn castle
Lastly, for those particularly crafty fort builders, this one is a doozy. Impossible, you say? Nope! Brandon Tran built this impressive castle for his kiddos and provides step-by-step instructions (with pictures!) of the build. All that’s missing is a drawbridge. And maybe a moat.
But don’t stop there! These easy kids activities using a cardboard box will further fuel their imaginations.