The Joy and Creativity of Building Adventure Forts for Kids
Posted November 1, 2017 by Fort Magic
Playing is something that just seems to come naturally to kids. Whether they interact with toys, friends or just the objects around them, children seem to have no problem coming up with narratives and creating stories for themselves. But believe it or not, playing actually has to be facilitated and nurtured. As a result, kids can develop their interpersonal skills and receive many of the benefits that imaginative play offers.
One way to do this is through forts. And in particular, forts that can help take your kids on an adventure in their imaginations. Many play activities also involve adventure play. Often this play supported by books and movies that portray young protagonists going on magical journeys. So why not bring adventure into the realm of forts for kids?
Forts have always been associated with imagination and creativity, as they’re a space where kids can project their own inner thoughts and ideas onto the “blank canvas” of the fort. Forts can be the backdrop for an adventure game, part of the plot or simply a convenient space for them to occur. So what are some ideas for how to incorporate adventure play into your kids’ forts? Here are a few tips:
Pick a fort design that inspires your kids’ imaginations.
Every great adventure needs a great setting, right? Before building a fort with your kids, think about your options and decide on a design so that you know what approach to take and how to start constructing it. But no worries if your kids change their minds in the middle — the Fort Magic kit contains the basic materials for numerous different fort designs, and you can easily take apart one fort and build a different one from the same supplies. Different fort designs can be used for different adventures: a villa or a castle for a knights’ battle, a submarine or a ship for an ocean journey, an airplane or a rocket ship for a trip up into the sky.
Supply the materials your kids need to be adventurous.
After the frame of your fort is built, it’s time to cover and decorate the exterior — which is where creative materials come in. Give your kids a variety of fabrics to choose from for the fort cover (which can simply be a bedsheet attached with special Fort Magic clips), as well as decorations like construction paper, pipe cleaners, and rhinestones to add shapes and patterns of their choosing. Also have some supplies for your kids to make costumes for themselves, to fit in with the theme of their adventure; if they’re on a pirate ship, they can make eyepatches easily out of paper, and if they’re going up to space, helmets can make them feel like astronauts.
Consider putting the fort outside.
Some adventures can get physical — running, jumping, hiding and other sorts of play are common when kids get excited about the game they’re imagining. So sometimes, the best place to have a fort is in your backyard, where kids have all the space they need to go on the adventure they envision.
Get kids started with stories.
The best way to feed your kids’ imaginations is through reading to them and having them read to themselves. Books are how kids learn about life, not to mention that they help teach vocabulary, empathy and social skills. And when it comes to adventures they want to play in their fort, stories will often form the backbone of the games they imagine for themselves. So take the time to read to your kids — and even utilize the fort as a reading space where they can explore their favorite books in comfort. Reading forts are a great way to get your kids to engage in structured reading time, and a good setup — with plenty of blankets and pillows — can facilitate this all the better.
Incorporate games like scavenger hunts.
You can help your kids build their own adventures through some games and puzzles that they might enjoy — bringing in the fort as a backdrop! Try making a scavenger hunt around the house and make the fort their central strategizing location. That way, your kids can feel like they’re solving an actual mystery, racing to the finish, or going on a journey, however, they’d like to characterize their adventure. You can also have them work on puzzles, board games or other activities that make them feel adventurous while building up their mental capacity for concentration, strategic thinking and collaborative teamwork at the same time.
How do you inspire the spirit of adventure in your children and what fort building activities do you share to do it? Share your ideas with us below!
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