Inside or outside, forts are secret spaces.
On kinstantly, Paula Spencer Scott explores what Sobel labels “special spaces“. She describes the learning and developmental skills fostered in building and creating these forts and special places. Forts may be simple, or elaborately constructed, but they bring special meaning to play for many children. Sobel authored an entire book about them, and includes them in the seven universal play motifs he identifies in his book Childhood and Nature
1. Making forts and special places
2. Playing hunting and gathering games
3. Shaping small worlds
4. Developing friendships with animals
5. Constructing adventures
6. Descending into fantasies
7. Following paths and figuring out shortcuts
There’s more than one way to build a fort though, so we’ve got 10 DIY forts from simple to downright jaw dropping for you to rate or create.
Let’s get started inside shall we?
1. The Air Fort of Awesomeness
Here’s one you might like to try out at home on a summer night. Feel air rushing past you as you crawl down the hidden tunnel. What could possibly be waiting outside?
Full AIR FORT ONE Instructions: HERE
2. The A-Frame Tent
RubyEllen from Cakies is the designer of this fabric A-Frame just made for inside adventures. Choose the fabric and just add kids!
Step by step Instructions & hand-drawn pattern: Grosgrain Fabulous
3. Build A Fort Kits
When half the fun is building it, do you actually need to make the fort for the kids? Or is it better to let them make it for themelves? What about just providing them with some fort building equipment?
Photo: A Bird and a Bean
You could win the day by sourcing items for these DIY build a fort kits
4. Friday Night in Fort
Or alternatively, you can go fully DIY FORT and stick to the basics. Simply hand over sheets, books (for weighting corners), pegs and pillows (maybe some large cardboard boxes?) and let them experiment themselves
No instructions needed – the full DIY experience
Let’s not forget to head outside!
5. Bean Teepee
Grow your own – combine gardening skills and fort building with this mean green Jack & the Beanstalk fort
Photo: Gardening KnowHow
Full Bean Fort Instructions: Gardening KnowHow
6. Sweet Pea & Star Jasmine Teepee
Replanting every season not your thing? Then here’s a DIY video just for you on how to grow a sweetpea teepee that will transform into a permanent star jasmine teepee within 12 months
7. Hula Hoop Hide Out
No room for gardening but plenty of trees? Then get out the hula hoops and find a branch
Photo: The Craft Nest
For simple instructions: The Craft Nest
8. Hanging Tree Pod
This one is way more labour intensive – it’s still DIY but starting to up the stakes! But once it’s up there it’s a haven for hiding and daydreaming and “shaping small worlds”
Photo: DIY Network
For not so simple instructions (and an actual photo): DIYNETWORK
9. Fairy Tree
Number nine is DIY gone EXTREME! This is the story of the father who spent 350 hours over 18 months creating a fairy tree like no other.
Picture: Bored Panda
Detailed Instructions – are you CRAZY? Not available. But definitely go through the gallery and read how he did it: Bored Panda
10. Fort For All Imaginations
Sometimes -the best is last. you won’t need any instructions – or pictures (only ones that you take yourselves). Head into nature and into adventure – pick up objects, hide under bushes, pile driftwood into a makeshift teepee. Be limited only by the imagination – which means not at all.