When was the last time you built a super cool fort with your kids? Chances are good that your kiddos ask for one pretty regularly. Whether or not you’re hosting a sleepover, the task can be fun but pretty overwhelming and often the best, easiest way to handle things is just to toss a sheet over the kitchen table. Forts can be way cooler, though.
And honestly, the sheets and furniture are half the battle. Above all, a strong fort needs imagination. So, besides being a construction worker for the day, you may have to don a wizard or fairy hat too. Every kid remembers their first fort, so don’t be afraid to turn the house upside down and go all out. Here’s everything you need to go from “busy mom” to “fun mom” in one afternoon for your very own fort party.
Covers – Sheets, light blankets, towels, baby blankets, even comforters if you use a sturdy enough base.
Anchors – Kitchen chairs, tables, couch, step ladders, high chairs, Swiffer, vacuum.
Fasteners – Clothes pins, hair ties, rubber bands, bobby pins, chip clips.
A note about supplies:
You might notice a few odd items on our lists. Many fort DIYs call for brooms to be used as the center poles. They’re not very sturdy and require a lot of work to keep them upright. Vacuums (and Swiffers to a lesser extent) offer that same narrow roof support with the added, more well-balanced base. We also know that hair ties, bobby pins and chip clips might seem unconventional. Hair ties work great at fastening your roof/cover to that center poll. When building out (think “ranch-style” forts), using more than one sheet or blanket for the roof is often necessary. Bobby pins and chip clips hold especially tight grips.
Build A Sturdy Roof
Maybe you want to center things around a kitchen table or folding table. Perhaps you want to use four chairs turned out, with a vacuum as the center roof support. Either way, your first priority should be the roof. Stretch your sheet as taut as you can get it over each of the chairs, securing the ends of your sheet to the backs of the chairs. Yes, you’ll leave your sides (or “walls”) exposed, but those are much easier to shore up once you’ve established a roof.
To Build Out or Not
As previously mentioned, your fort doesn’t have to stop at just one center structure. Maybe you want to branch out in one direction to encompass the TV. Perhaps if you place a step ladder over the heating duct and then stretch another sheet back to your main section, you can keep your fort extra cozy. You’re working hard to create the perfect fort. Why not extend it as much as possible, so it’s as comfy and long-lasting as possible?
Close It Up
So, you have an insanely sturdy and surprisingly high roof and have extended out to include everything you need to make it more comfy. Now you need to make sure your fort is intruder-proof and offers optimum hiding. Use your smaller collection of fabrics (smaller sheets, towels, baby blankets) to drape over the chairs and other anchors, creating your walls. Keep using various fasteners to keep things sealed tight. However, remember that the more weight you put on the roof, the less stable it can become. Make sure your walls are relying on your bases, instead.
Final Fort Touches
Now is the time to think about how to make your fort comfortable for the “long-term.” First, you’ll want to pad the floor with pillows, cushions and more blankets. What other things should you consider?
— Do pets have a way in? The best forts have secret passageways for four-legged visitors.
— Did you remember snacks? Consider designating one of the areas under a chair for a snack stash.
— What’s your entertainment? If you chose to leave out the TV, what is available to do for fun in the fort? Bring along some favorite books, games, and toys. If you’re bringing tablets, portable game consoles, etc. make sure you have access to a plug for charging.
— What about the heater/cooling device? Depending on the season, make sure you have access to a heating vent or to a fan. As always, avoid fire hazards by steering clear of floor or space heaters.
– Don’t forget a flashlight for reading or fairy lights for fun.
Name Your Fort and Make Some Rules
Caleb’s Castle? Mama’s Mansion? Folger Family Fort? Whatever you name it, make sure everyone loves it and no one is left out. Making a sign for your fort should be one of the first things you do once you move in. As for rules, keep them simple. There’s the classic “No boys allowed” option. Maybe you want to add something like, “No name calling” or “No bedtimes.”
Defend Your Territory
You brought the Nerf guns, right?