There is nothing quite like spending an afternoon lost in a world of imagination that happens inside of a fort. That fort serves as a top-secret hideout, a tree house deep in the jungle or anything else that one child can imagine. Forts are where stories are told, dreams are explored and the magic unfolds. To children, that magic unlocks journeys that carry them across the ocean in search of the biggest fish in the sea. A creative way to make a kid’s boat fort even better is adding magical fish to the ocean below.
The creative process starts with a little help from Fort Magic’s Ship Fort Design kit that contains everything you and your child need to sail the ocean blue in a vessel fit for a pirate. There are connector pieces and tubes that come together to create a magical boat that is ready to set sail on a great adventure. With the fort frame complete, the element of fun continues by designing the cover for your boat fort. Give your child an old sheet, you could even include some fabric markers for a personal touch, then stand back and watch the creativity flow.
When your plan for covering is complete, let your child assist you in attaching it to the boat fort. Let your child lead the way in deciding where to start and how the covering should drape over their awesome new boat. It is a simple way to empower your child to make decisions and practice problem-solving when encountering issues with attaching the cover to the fort. As a result, your child will take pride in the finished product which helps to build healthy self-esteem as well.
No magical boat ride would be complete without fish swimming in the ocean alongside the boat. Fish and other ocean wildlife (like dolphins, whales, sharks!) are fun to draw and easy to color and it gives your child another opportunity to let imagination take over. Start by cutting out fish shapes from cardboard or other sturdy paper material. Make several different sizes of fish that add to the excitement of the upcoming fishing expedition right in your own living room.
Find tissue paper, leftover holiday wrapping paper, strips of fabric or anything else you think might make a good body for your school of fish. For the eyes of the fish, you can use pieces of tin foil that your child can color or find other shiny material that will make each fish stand out in the ocean. Give all of these crafty tools to your child and watch in wonder at the fish that come alive before your eyes.
Share in the creative process by helping your child talk about where the fish might live in your living room ocean, who their friends are and what they like to eat. When the fish family is complete, it is time to focus on crafting the fishing poles that will be essential for the fishing adventure. You can use cardboard tubes, broomstick handles, rulers, sticks gathered from the yard or anything else you can think of to serve as the base of the fishing pole. Attach a long piece of string or actual fishing line if you have any to the pole. Add a magnet or small paper clip at the end to serve as the hook, depending on the age of your child. If you use a magnet, make sure the fish have them, too! With paper clips, add a small hole to each fish so it can be “caught.” With everything now complete, it is time to go on a fishing adventure your child will never forget.
Scatter your cardboard fish around the living room as your child climbs aboard the magical boat fort and prepares to set sail on the ocean. Watch your child cast the pole out to sea, struggle to reel in the big catch and squeal in frustration at the ones who got away. The boat fort serves as the vessel to help capture every fish in the sea and fuel fish tales in the future. Consider offering crunchy crackers shaped like goldfish as rewards for the biggest catch and the child who catches the most fish. The crackers can even be consolation prizes for those who tried hard. They might have worked to get a fish before it swam away!
Fort building provides your child with benefits that technology devices just can’t provide. At first glance, you may only see a new way to spend an afternoon indoors. However, there is far more taking place behind the scenes. Your child is building cognitive development skills such as problem-solving, planning and imagination by trying to figure out how the fort will come together. A level of maturity, independence and confidence begin to form as well when the children take charge of the building process and add elements in along the way that fuels their imagination. As a parent, you can foster all of these skills by introducing the art of fort building as early as possible.
Be willing to supply whatever materials your child needs to engage in the building process and overlook any potential messiness along the way. It’s just part of the creative process! Plus, later you can teach the kids about the importance cleaning up. Celebrate all of the imagination that your living room can hold in that boat fort. Consider planning a family day on a charter boat so your little anglers can hit the high seas – or at least the local lake!
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The Artful Parent Blog: One of our absolute favorite creative blogs for children and families. The Artful Parent blog is filled with simple ideas to fill your family’s life with art and creativity. A must see blog for sure.