You don’t have time to travel to the Central Arctic or Greenland? Do your kids find themselves on a snow day with nothing to do? Building a fort igloo promises to entertain and educate indoors or outside on a day off from school. Furthermore, learning about the people who live in igloos and the culture adds to the adventure and extends the play well after your kids build the igloo. Discover how to encourage your young architect to build the igloo fort for winter.
An Igloo is a House
So, how do we go about building an igloo to get to the point of imaginative play? With the word igloo meaning “house,” any type of design is appropriate. In modern times, a modern igloo or home does not necessarily look like the ice dome we have come to expect. Suppose today we go traditional and build with snow for outdoor structures or with sparkly cotton for indoor forts. Do you need help? Let’s look at the steps of building an igloo and adapt them to igloo fort building with a Fort Magic kit.
Plot Your Igloo Plan
As your igloo architect begins to dream of warm wintery nights in the humble igloo, encourage him or her to sketch out ideas. Begin with where you might build the igloo. Will you build indoors or outside? Which areas offer the best position for the fort? Where is the ground or floor level, and is your space roomy enough for an igloo’s base?
Test the Snow Depth
When building outdoors, the depth of snow proves important stability for an igloo. Using a long stick, send builders out to test a few things about your snow pack.
— The depth of the snow. (Two feet or more is ideal.)
— Firm, hard-packed snow works best.
— Consistency of snow firmness throughout the building area avoids soft layers.
The area of snow where the igloo rests should be consistently hard packed as well. This provides a stable foundation for the building. When building indoors, identify a level place free from debris and furniture. Make sure the area is large enough to accommodate the build and the accompanying play.
Draw the Igloo Outline
The shape of a circle provides the ideal igloo start. Outline the boundaries of the external wall so you know exactly where your base goes. This creates sturdiness for your fort. In the snow, mark out a circle of no more than 10 feet in diameter. Otherwise, issues may arise when the building is too wide to accommodate the arched blocks of the fort. Indoors, use chalk or string to map out the igloo’s foundation.
When using a Fort Magic kit, build your fort base at this point. Again, a circular shape prepares you to complete the work of the dome whether working indoors or outside. Use the Fort Magic pieces to build a circle foundation and place it on your snow or flooring. Then you begin to build upward to a top circle.
Build With Blocks
Wall construction follows after you lay the foundation. A Fort Magic kit offers a form around which to build the igloo. Remember to ask your child to put on his or her engineering skills to create a dome shape. The brainstorming and problem-solving benefit you both when it comes to constructing an igloo. In the snow, cut or mold blocks of snow from inside the circle. Typically, blocks measure 3 feet by 15 inches by 8 inches. Lay your first row of blocks and taper them slightly as you near the top of the wall. In other words, carve a slight angle in the top of each row of bricks to gradually make a dome shape. Smoothing the edges as you go joins the blocks together tightly. Indoors, several materials offer authentic or more creative igloo coverings. The traditional white sheet easily covers the dome. However, layers of cotton topped with glitter give the sparkle of snow on clear, crisp winter days. You might also think outside of the box and use bubble wrap for a unique ice igloo. Butcher paper leaves space for creating artistic igloo forts adorned with drawings.
Carve the Door
Once the walls and dome are complete, carve the door. The entrance to an igloo fort can be a simple opening cut into the side, or you can create a tunnel entrance that offers better protection and more fun. Using snow or Fort Magic pieces built into a tunnel shape create a more private entrance. But, remember not to seal or close the entrance so you have needed ventilation for your icy home. While the door offers ventilation, igloos need other vents placed around the build or at its pinnacle to safely house its residents without any buildup of carbon dioxide. Carving vents into snow igloos or cutting them into other indoor coverings offers breathability to the building.
Close the Gaps
Finally, seal any large gaps (not your breathing vents) to keep the elements, real or imagined, out and the inhabitants warm and cozy. After all, a drafty igloo is no sleeping paradise.
Let your kids’ imaginations flow with ideas inspired by the lives of the people who live in igloos and photos of igloos. Kids may also put a modern twist on the igloo fort with string lights in the dome. Consider watching a video about constructing an igloo from the experts themselves. In any event, the best end to an igloo building day is snuggling among the animal skins (a.k.a. favorite blankets) to slumber for the night.
How do you use Fort Magic to build a fun, wintertime igloo? Share your ideas with us below!
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