For the final entry of my April Showers series, and the final day of April, I thought it best to take a moment to focus on a true classic: blanket forts!
Personally, I love fort building. I think it’s great. Kids learn about balance, gravity, and that special know-how that only comes from making something with your own two hands. Most kids, especially the younger ones, still need help but it’s the start of a process and it’s one I have never known a kid not to be interested in. Of all the kids I’ve offered to build forts with, I don’t think I’ve had a single one ever say ‘no.’
For those of us who haven’t built a lot of forts, though, here are some helpful tips.
1. Sheets on Top, Blankets on the Bottom
Many blankets and comforters are the first things that get pulled out when building a fort, but that doesn’t make them the best. Their heaviness makes them more prone to falling and require heavier anchors (items to hold them down). These heavier materials are better used inside the fort for padding the floor or cuddling up in. Light sheets should be used for the ceilings. Since they are a lighter material, they are much easier to work with.
2. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
One of the most important factors in fort building, for me, is making sure it’s tall enough to be comfortable while sitting inside. Pick your furniture carefully! I love using the backs of chairs, tables, and tall dressers for my forts. With one of my kids, we even took advantage of the top bunk on his bunkbed to start super high up. The higher the ceiling of your fort is, the more comfortable it will be for sitting and enjoying the space inside.
See the video links at the bottom of the post for more ideas of what you can do to get more height out of your blanket fort.
3. Cast Anchor
I can’t say enough what a difference it makes to anchor down the corners of your fort’s ceiling. Sheets and other fabrics like to slide around, slip, fall, and just generally obey the laws of gravity in the most frustrating ways. Accommodate for this by weighing down the edges or securing them in other ways. (Pro Tip: Don’t use anything breakable.) My favorite two items for this task are heavier pillows, if you have them, and clothes pins! Clothes pins are my absolute favorite, but it can sometimes be tough finding something to attach them to. Just remember to use your imagination.
4. Be Inventive
Fort building is not for the faint of heart. While it’s a great, fun activity, the construction of a really good fort takes a lot more effort than most people realize. The number one thing you can do to make sure your fort is amazing is to think outside the box, just like Petey. Even the tips given above can be gone against. There’s nothing to stop you!
For more blanket fort ideas, check out these links: