What every kid knows: A fort is a magical place where anything can happen. Creating a fort that’s the envy of the neighborhood kids doesn’t take many supplies — just some materials that you probably have around the house. Whether you make the fort inside or out, it’s sure to be the center of hours of fun. Here are a few ideas.
Build with boxes
Boxes in all shapes and sizes make good building blocks for a fort. An adult with an X-acto knife can make windows, doors and other architectural details. Use crayons and paint to decorate the walls inside and out. Cardboard paper-towel rolls can be used for chimneys, telescopes to spot enemy troops or anything else your child can imagine.
Be a nomad with sheets
An old sheet makes the perfect moveable structure. It can be draped across two kitchen chairs or over a table. Want the fort outdoors? Pull the sheet over a tree limb, or toss it over a picnic table to create a secret chamber underneath. If the sheet is going to be used exclusively for play, let your kids color on it with fabric crayons or fabric paints. If you don’t have an old sheet, you can pick one up for almost nothing at a thrift store or garage sale.
Build castles from cushions
Sofa cushions make great walls and floors for indoor forts. Just prop them up against a chair for stability and drape a sheet or tablecloth over the top.
Build it to last
In the world of forts, nothing is more special than a wooden fort that you’ve built with your child. Many home improvement stores have plans and lists of materials for simple, homemade forts. Be careful about buying treated lumber, though; children should not be in contact with its toxic chemicals.
Admire your handiwork
Finish an afternoon of fort construction with a drink and a cookie inside the structure as you admire your handiwork and build lasting memories.