How to Build an Indoor Fort with Kids

“Charge!” screams my three year old son, as he runs head first through a barrier of blankets. The entire ensemble falls down. From inside the collapsed heap, another voice shouts out in dismay. My daughter’s precious fort has been defeated. She untangles herself from the blanket pile and begins her work at building it again.

“This time it will be better than ever,” she’s declares, glaring at her brother.

Around the house she scavenges for marterials to build her fort. She searches the book cases and finds college text books to drag to her fort location. Next, she picks through the laundry hamper to select out fresh lindens I’ve just washed. Not yet satisfied, she scans room to room for new frame work furniture.

Meanwhile, her little brother retreats back to his corner near the toy box to watch. His little mind calculates his next plan of attack. He pretends to be searching for a car, but mischief is brewing from his corner.

It’s all part of the fun of building an indoor fort.

There are many different ways to build an indoor fort with your kids. Of course, there’s no right way, but you’ll find your kids have plenty of creative ones.

Start out by scouting the house. By this I mean, send out your little ones on a mission to find a place to build. This could be a far off land beyond the mountain ridges and across the desert plains. In adult terms this would be an uncluttered room that is not the kitchen. We usually end up in the dining room, play room, or living room. They seem to be the best three spots for resurrecting our fort.

Next we select the frame work. Four legged dining room tables are the best. Little brothers can’t knock the roof down. We pull out the chairs and wrap sheets around the edges to drape down. Above, the sheets are held in place by table cloth clips. Invincible right? Well, if you can’t beat it, join it, and under the table they both occupy the space. Except they usually have to tear it down before supper.

We try something new and whisk away four chairs from the dining room table. Arranged with chairs at each corner, my daughter starts her process of spreading out sheets, even her blanket from her bed. She ties the corners of the sheets around the tops of the spines in the back of the chairs. Large pillows from the room next door are recurred for inside. She leaves the door way open to spy on her brother. He stands in his corner, interest peaked, his chin tilted up and his eyes wide and focused. He’s thinking. Or maybe he’s pooping, but my daughter isn’t taking any chances. She packs up and moves to a new space. She complains about the roof drooping as an excuse.

We’re off to the living room with books, blankets, and pillows in tow. The couch has now been elected a prime real estate. So blankets are draped, pillows placed, and books holding down the corners. She creates a little tunnel and crawls in.

My son moves slow. He is determined on his mission. He chooses the quiet approach. I see it coming, but I’m too amused to give a warning, and before I blink the fort comes tumbling down. My daughter unrolls herself from the debris. She gives him a good piece of her mind, ending with a firm and loud, “Stop it!”

My son chuckles and goes on his way. He notches another victory over a sip of milk and a stolen cookie from the kitchen jar.

My daughter huffs, there is no good place, not barrier tough enough to endure. She looks at me, and a new idea is sparked.

Off to the playroom we go.

The room is piled with old cardboard boxes from our move a few months back. I grab the last of the packing tape and we set forth on our task. She lays out the boxes one by one, some are flattened, and some remain in shape. She directs me with my tape. I oblige her. I find a box cutter and give her a window. Satisfied we are finished, I put the items away, and spot my three year old coming down the stairs to peer around the corner. The light of another plan diminished in his eyes upon sight.

In the corner of the play room the large cardboard structure stood, much like a stone castle, and drew awe from his face. Roofless, but standing around four foot tall and five feet wide the boy stumbled over himself across the floor to reach it.

Inside my daughter set to work with a set of crayons. Upon the cardboard door came a knock, and she left him enter. Together, until the call of bedtime, the old moving boxes are transformed, and my walls remained crayon free.

Sleeping bags are laid out inside and I huddle myself between them. Their eyes droop low before our story book is finished, and when I turn to tuck them in, I am amazed by their creation. A drawing on their castle wall brings tears. My daughter spelled out my name beside a bouquet of daisies.

I wish my daughter dreams filled of prancing ponies, where she is the princess. As I draw a blanket over my little knight, guarding the castle, I can’t help but wonder what type of fort we’ll build tomorrow. Or perhaps, we’ll simply transform our cardboard creation with our imagination.

Will you be attending a tea party for two, a camp out in the mysterious woods, or hiding out in a secret cave? How you choose to build an indoor fort is entirely up to you. It’s how you create a spark in the imaginations of your children, like mine, that will last them a lifetime.