When I mention to people that my son once went through a phase where he slept in a cardboard box (in his room!) for about six months I often get a tepid response, tempered by that flicker of horror and judgment that moms try unsuccessfully to hide. This post is not for those moms. This post is for the moms who immediately thought, “My kid would totally dig that.”
Is there a kid that doesn’t love forts? From the couch cushion cubby to the elaborate tree house, forts fulfill some innate desire for creating a home, and my son’s interest in forts does not stop at the occasional large appliance box. All of my kids have enjoyed building a place of their own. Over the years I’ve offered up various tools to meet their need for a den.
Many years ago (before Pinterest so I had to think this stuff up without the help of the internet) I bought a bunch of pvc pipes, connectors and a couple of sheets, put them in a plastic bin, and slapped a label on it titled “Fort Building Kit.” That’s it. Just a box full of pipes.
As you can see, it is nothing fancy, but the kids have spent a lot of time over the years building various structures with it.
For something requiring a little less up front money, try the newspaper geodesic dome. Find step by step instructions here - http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Build-a-Geodesic-Dome/
Set your kid loose with a roll of duct tape and some odds and ends like cardboard boxes and see what they come up with. Really, that’s it. A roll of duct table and some stuff rescued from the recycle bin.
For a truly frugal fort, and one that can go with a history lesson, try the “sticks found in yard” teepee.
Even a platform can be magical with the addition of cool accessories like a slide and a pulley system to bring up snacks.
There are some great ideas out there on Pinterest to try. Jordan has wanted one of these for a while and it just never gets to the top of our to do list (somehow I think it would be more vampire less fairy these days but even teens need a place to hide out)
I love this simple pup tent fort idea–and it involves power tools so double the fun.
This one is my favorite. Totally dig this. I don’t get milk in plastic jugs and I’m pretty sure my kids might think they are too old for such shenanigans, but I may have to convince them to try this one.
As a last resort, you can always let your kids camp out in the chicken coop.