STEM Learning With Magical Dream and Blanket Forts
Posted November 26, 2016 by Fort Magic
Dreams rest in the hearts and minds of children waiting to burst forth. In these formative years, nothing seems impossible and options lay wide open. Many of these dreams are birthed and grown in the no-limits, safe space of the blanket fort. Cool blanket forts offer a world where kids explore interests and personalities while discovering what they want their future to look like. Will it be filled with numbers and calculations? Does it involve mixing materials to prove theories? Do visions of architecture and engineering feats fill their minds? Today, the fastest growing, best-paid careers are STEM-related. Science, technology, engineering, and math prove critical to the success of our country’s competitive future and, therefore, our children’s success as well. The opportunities are endless. Forts teach these skills and nurture these interests without a thought as to what STEM even means. Not only does fort building develop valuable STEM skills naturally, but it also boosts kids with the knowledge and confidence that they can succeed in these challenging fields. Should your child choose another career path, be assured that STEM skills strengthen all academic pursuits. What’s even more important? Kids are impressionable and curious. This means piquing an interest when they are young could get them interested in STEM fields.Tapping into this natural curiosity reaps long-term rewards for the education and development of our children. Forts offer this spark with plenty of fun. So, gather the supplies! The basics: — A Fort Magic kit. — Blankets of varying sizes. (Sheets and beach towels work as well.) — Clothespins to act as fasteners. Accessories: — Pillows. — Cushions. — Stuffed toys. — Crib bumpers. — A soft sided tunnel. — Colorful tape. — Binder clips. — Anything else you can imagine! Let your kids employ STEM skills of planning, designing, problem-solving and critical thinking all mixed with fun to build a blanket fort meant for dreaming. A couch or kitchen table acts as a supplement to a Fort Magic kit in any design. And, blankets pull together the pieces parts for a cohesive look. The constructing alone inspires engineering and math skills. Plus, your child cannot help but add creativity and imagination into the mix. A blanket fort is a fun learning experience from start to finish. After all the constructing, the imagining does not need to stop. The fun continues as kids stretch their brains as they explore STEM jobs through play. Here are ten ideas to get your child’s brain stimulated: — A spaceship fort provides the perfect base from which to walk on the moon or discover a new planet or galaxy. — Medic tents give kids the platform to explore careers as doctors and nurses. — The white sheet and covered sterile fort environment hosts lab experiments performed by budding scientists. — Outdoor nature forts become the ideal location to study wildlife, flora, and fauna. — Animals, real and imaginary, meet competent veterinary medicine specialists in an animal hospital fort. — Blanket forts offer solitude for mathematicians to solve Sudoku and other number problems. — The schoolhouse fort allows kids to teach or explore all kinds of subjects to uncover their interests and passions. — Designing a catapult to go with a castle or a military tactical fort challenges young engineers. — Teepee construction contrasts the traditional fort concept. — Creating fairy villages around a fairy house fort ignites STEM creativity and imagination. The ideas are as endless as the STEM fields themselves. The way to continue the exploring and dreaming includes kids answering the age old childhood question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Then, encourage the kids to design and play in forts that reflect their answers. Do you need other ideas? Gather popcorn, Swedish fish or your family’s favorite movie snack. Gather into the fort (even if it is a squeeze) and watch a movie that inspires kids to dream STEM dreams. Find the film on Apollo XIII and talk about life as an astronaut. Look up a movie on Einstein, a famous astronomer or the story of Ben Carson and dream what it would be like to be a mathematician, scientist or surgeon. Use the solitude of a blanket fort to read age-appropriate biographies of stars in the medical, science, technology, engineering or math fields. Part of the learning and inspiration for kids is exposure to the options which lay before them. After all, your daughter will never want to be a neuroscientist if she does not know the career exists. As you snuggle little ones into the blanket fort to sleep for the night, ask them the infamous question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Listen to their answers and their reasons. Hear how they change or stay the same over time. Hold back on any judgment and be cautioned about sharing any limiting comments. There is a time for wise parent-child discussions later in life, but tonight is just for dreaming. How do you use fort-building to explore your child's dreams about the future? Share your thoughts with us below!