Powered by: 
Ranger Rick
Average Rating: 
Participant Age: 
Under 7, 7 to 12, 12 and up
Approximate Cost: 
$0
Duration: 
1 to 60 minutes, Over an hour
Date submitted: 
12/30/2011
Difficulty: 
Physical Challenge: 
Build an Outdoor Fort
Have your child create their own outdoor hideout!
Materials
  • Old blankets, tarps or large fabric that can get dirty
  • Boxes, the larger the better
  • Clothespins (optional)
  • Work gloves (optional, if you want to protect from splinters)
  • Plastic sheet (optional)
  • Rake (optional)
  • Long sticks
  • String or rope
  • Show Me Shelter print out (optional)
Steps
Step 1
The best forts are the ones totally kid-constructed.

You can encourage fort building by putting aside blankets, tarps and string for them to use.

Ideas for outdoor forts include:

  • Make a tepee with long sticks tied together with twine.
  • Drape blankets on low tree limbs and use as a covering for a fort.
  • Use bushes as fortifications for your fort. Sometimes there's a kid-sized space inside of a bush.
  • Recycle a large box, cut out windows, and call it home!
  • Build a snow fort, if you have some of the fluffy stuff! If the snow is right, squish snow into square-shaped plastic food containers to make bricks.
Step 2
If you are someone who likes a pattern to follow, here is a suggested fort design:

Find three long sticks and tie them at one end to form a tripod.

Look for a spot where four trees form a square. Place the tripod in the middle.

Tie a rope about three feet from the ground around the four trees so it forms a square.

Step 3
Drape the blanket or tarp over the tripod.

Then bring the corners out to the place where the string connects the trees.

Clothespin the blanket to the string.

Step 4
Rake the ground to remove pointy sticks.

This will make your fort more comfortable.

Put down a plastic sheet on the ground if you want to avoid getting a damp bottom.

Step 5
Load up your fort with fun stuff.
Add more blankets, toys, drawing supplies, snacks and anything else you want to do in your fort.
Step 6
Generally, you'll want to stay out of your kids way when they are building a fort.

But if you want to use this opportunity as part of a wildlife discussion, consider printing our "Show Me Shelter" Nature Notebook activity, which gives fort building ideas and encourages your child to draw a picture of their fort.

Fort building can also be the inspiration for your family to provide cover for wildlife, which is one of the four qualifications for a Certified Wildlife Habitat.

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