How to Increase Learning Power with Fort Building
Posted November 6, 2017 by Fort Magic
When it comes to parenting, one of your most significant concerns is how to get your children to learn. After all, with so many gadgets and games available these days, it’s hard to know if kids are growing and developing through play or if they are just being entertained. Thankfully, there are still ways to engage your children and instill a love of learning in them through play — and, believe it or not, most of these ways involve few (or no!) screens or consoles. One such analog way of play-learning is by building forts, an activity that offers endless opportunities for growing skills in team-building, critical thinking, and long-term planning. But most of all, it can teach kids the fundamental aspects of curiosity, engagement, and creativity that create a lifelong love of learning, far beyond the fort-building sphere. Benefits of Fort Building No matter how simple the game, kids who play are never “just playing." There is always a process of learning and discovery going on, mainly when the play involves building or construction of any kind (like in fort-building). To start, these activities involve your kids’ motor skills, which require them to move and manipulate objects and figure out how they fit together. This, in turn, helps enhance their spatial awareness, which has been proven to help develop their reading and math skills later on. The same part of the brain that works out what’s located where helps kids figure out how letters and numbers fit together and form words and equations. Building also encourages kids to think critically and reason their way through a problem, as well as to utilize focus and patience to deal with any complications that may arise. All of these skills help kids in learning, as they need to have the patience to be able to keep going even when they don’t understand something, as well as use logical reasoning to understand difficult concepts. Creativity Grows Fort-building engages your kids’ creative sides, providing them an opportunity to build their narratives around the forts they create and use their imagination to come up with new designs and ideas. Later on, this training translates into cognitive development that builds kids’ language and social skills — creating their own stories helps children understand other people’s stories in turn. Build STEM Skills At the same time as it encourages creativity and language development, fort-building also lays the foundations for science and math skills. Future concepts like engineering and physics will be more understandable. Your kids will have worked with experimentation, addition and subtraction, and basic geometry, which is what they will do (however unknowingly) when they build forts. How to Integrate Learning Into Forts Are you intrigued by the idea of fort-building with your kids? Start with a fort-building kit and work from there. Fort Magic kits can be used to make a wide variety of designs, including planes, ships, castles, and clubhouses, that can spark creativity and imagination in your kids. Best of all, they can be taken apart and reassembled in a new shape whenever you desire. Once you have a fort idea in mind, work with your kids to help them plan out how to build the fort. This is crucial because it’s a chance to show them that play, much like learning, is a process, and they need to have a coherent idea of what they want and how to accomplish it before they set out to build something. Make it Happen Then, get started on building. As your kids fit the pieces together, answer any questions they have — which part goes into which? How large is the fort going to be? How will it stay upright? Altogether, these inquiries demonstrate kids’ curiosity, and working with them shows how learning starts by trying to find out more. After you’ve built the frame of the fort, drape it in cloth — you can use anything from bedsheets to specially designed fabric covers — and attach the material to the frame using clips. That way, you have “walls” for the fort that can be quickly taken down and repurposed later. Debrief with your kids — what worked and what didn’t? What did they learn? A Zone of Their Own You can also use the fort you and your kids build as a space for learning as well. One idea is to make it a reading fort — lay pillows and blankets down on the floor, hang up some string lights and stock the place with your kids’ favorite books. That way they’ll have a special place to call their own, which can build enthusiasm for reading and learning. From the steps of planning and building to a place to read or do crafts, fort building helps make learning fun. How do you increase your kids’ love of learning with forts? Share your ideas with us below!