Engineering for Kids and Learning With Fort Building
Posted October 25, 2017 by Fort Magic
For many parents, building forts is a quick and easy way to keep our kids entertained. But contrary to popular belief, fort-building is more than just throwing together a few pillows and blankets. It can also be a unique opportunity to create something new and exciting. Plus, it’s a chance for you to teach your kids some lifelong skills!
When it comes to engineering for kids, fort building is a natural way for them to learn key skills. The main thing to keep in mind is imagination. The possibilities can be endless, and all you have to do is encourage your kids to keep dreaming up new ones. They can take the lead on these forts. Be there to mentor and support them without trying to micromanage the projects.
The next step is to get together your supplies. The Fort Magic kits provide templates for different types of forts that you can make. All of them can be repurposed to fit any of the ideas described below. Then, gather together some sheets or fabric pieces that you can use to cover the frame of the fort. And grab any additional items that you want to have inside, like blankets or pillows.
Finally, sit down with your kids to map out a strategy. Who’s going to read the instructions? Who will assemble the pieces? Who’s going to focus on covering up the fort and decorating the inside? Decide if they’re going to take turns. And show them how to properly put all the pieces together to assemble it correctly. These are all principles of engineering that teach kids about planning, architecture, shapes, sizes, and more! Then, once everything is done, you can enjoy the fort that you created together! Ready to get started? Here are a few ideas to get you going:
Repurpose a fort as a place for you and your kids to practice yoga together! Yoga is a great way to relax, as well as to learn discipline, physical fitness and stress management. It’s never too early to start training your kids in these essential life skills. Plus, it’s a great way to harness their energy levels in a calm and productive activity.
For a yoga fort, you’ll need to get some yoga mats together and spread them out on the floor of the fort. When you’re building the fort, make sure you choose one that has a high ceiling (such as the Playhouse). The right design makes it possible to stand up and stretch while you’re doing yoga.
A fort can also be a great place for your kids to work on crafts! Crafting, like fort-building, takes both creativity and discipline, and you can cultivate both of these by creating a designated crafting area (inside a fort) for your kids to work. Best of all, it significantly lowers the chance of your kids making a mess (by painting on the walls, for example) and makes cleanup much easier.
To make a craft fort, choose an easy-to-clean floor cover, such as a tarp or plastic tablecloth. Place it over a softer cover, like a blanket or comforter, that you put directly on the floor. That way, you can just pick up the upper layer with whatever debris your kids may have left over (like paper scraps or paint splatters). Just throw it away, while your kids still have something soft to sit on.
You can use a craft fort to create anything from Valentine’s Day cards to holiday ornaments to room decorations. If your kids are painting inside, add a wide opening for fumes to escape (even if the paint is nontoxic).
Reading or Storytime Fort
Wondering how you can get your kids reading instead of playing video games? Building a fort may be the answer! Forts specially designated as reading places can get kids excited to read by creating a special area where they feel like the activity is fun and enjoyable. Get them started on the Magic Tree House series, and they’ll see why having a “treehouse” to call their own (even if it’s on the ground) can be so special.
You can also use a reading fort to read aloud to your kids — another strategy that can get them hooked on reading, as it can get theatrical and entertaining, bringing the stories to life. To create a reading or storytime fort, comfort is key — make sure there are lots of pillows and blankets inside the fort, creating a cozy atmosphere that makes kids feel safe and loved.
While kids are engaged in a variety of activities, they are also learning engineering and math skills. Plus, they discover how engineering is used to create buildings used for a wide variety of purposes and activities. Fort building at home and in the classroom gives kids countless opportunities to explore various subjects while they have fun. It’s a win-win situation!
How do you teach your kids about engineering and STEM skills with fort building? Share your smart ideas with us below!
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TinkerLab Blog: One of our favorite engineering blogs for children is TinkerLab. Have you ever visited the site? If not, you’ll definitely want to browse sometime soon. You will find loads of fun and inventive ideas for encouraging all things hands-on and engineering for kids. TinkerLab has fantastic Tinker Lab YouTube videos too!
Rave & Review Blog: The fun Rave & Review blog is where you’ll find loads of sharing on your favorite products for parents and grandparents all the way to newborns.
Twodaloo Blog: At the awesome Twodaloo blog you will find activities and information about early childhood development that you can use at home, in the classroom, or in the therapy setting.
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.
Fort Magic Customer Photos via Facebook: Visit our Fort Magic Facebook page to see our customer creativity shine with fun pics and videos of families enjoying their Fort Magic kit during playtime.
Fort Magic Customer Photos via Instagram: Visit our Fort Magic Instagram page to see our customer creativity shine with fun pics and videos of families enjoying their Fort Magic kit during playtime.