How to Make Learning Fun with Fort Building for Kids
Posted November 28, 2017 by Fort Magic
Kids instinctively want to make forts because they’re fun. Think of a rainy day, with friends at a sleepover or in the yard outdoors. No matter the circumstances, forts are an easy way kids can exercise creativity and their desire to play. For most children, fort-building is just a natural part of their lives and how they express themselves. But more than that! Fort building is a chance to grow their analytical, creative and team-building skills, even if they don’t know it.
Research shows that kids learn through play. Stimulating their tactile senses, or their ability to touch and feel help grow the parts of their brains that engage in creativity and problem-solving as well as reading and analytical skills. And parents can harness their love of fort-building to make learning fun, whatever the topic might be!
1. Connect reading and fort-building.
Forts create an excellent opportunity for kids to have a designated reading area, where they can sit comfortably and engage with their favorite books or have you read aloud to them. And they feel that reading is unique and valuable because they have a special place in which to do it. But you can also connect reading and forts in other ways — namely, by helping facilitate your kids’ play around the books that they read.
One major reading skill kids learn when they’re growing up is visualization — how to picture the things that they’re reading in their minds. Visualization helps immensely with reading comprehension and the development of empathy and understanding, and you can help develop this skill in your kids from an early age by helping them build forts and engage in activities around the things they’re reading.
When you’re reading with your kids, encourage them to build forts that evoke the scenes in those books or stories. Fort Magic has numerous fort designs to choose from, and many of them can work for classic materials that your kids are likely reading — like a castle for their favorite medieval fairytale or a rocket ship for a space adventure story. You can work with your kids to build the Hogwarts castle from Harry Potter or the ship from Moby-Dick.
There’s an endless number of possibilities — all you have to do is give them the tools to act out the scenes already in their imaginations. You can supplement their fort-building with costumes, design elements (like craft paper cutouts or other decorations they make) and coverings for the fort that match the story they are emulating.
2. Designate forts as a space for learning activities.
You can make learning fun for your kids by making the fort a space that they can do the things they’d otherwise view as chores — such as their homework or other assignments. Doing homework in a fort has a sense of wonder to it, and if you help them build an atmosphere that feels relaxing and fun, they’ll be more likely to view homework as a beneficial and exciting learning opportunity rather than a drain on their time.
3. Teach the basics of engineering and design.
Building a fort with your kids is a great opportunity to make science and math education fun, and perhaps even inspire your kids to pursue such topics in the future if they find that they’re interested. After all, what is fort-building if not a simplified form of structural engineering? You need to make sure that the fort you’re building is balanced, can hold its weight and won’t fold when it’s covered with a blanket or a sheet. However, your kids don’t have to know that — they just need to have fun building a fort, and let those lessons settle in subliminally.
To introduce your kids to these concepts, have them plan out the design and implementation of the fort; work with them to read through the instructions, and to figure out which pieces they need to use and how they fit into each other. Making your kids an active part of the building process allows them to learn how it works and gain an appreciation for creating things — and it’s also a chance for them to ask questions that can lead to a further interest.
4. Create an outdoor learning lab.
Kids love to play outside and use forts. You can use that love to teach them about the science and the outdoors. Use an outdoor fort as a base for letting your kids study nature in your backyard, from ladybugs in the grass to squirrels in the trees. Have them make observations and ask questions about the things that they see around them.
The combination of spending time outdoors and building fort is such a good time. The kids won’t even realize it’s an informal classroom!
How do you use fort building to make learning fun? Share your ideas with us below!
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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.
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