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BACKYARD FUN: Homemade Forts

By Jackie Burrell
Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 5:57 am in Backyard fun.

Pirate Ahhh, forts – that childhood classic. When we first started talking about backyard fun, Janelle, who writes the Brimful Curiosities blog, immediately added her daughter’s favorite pastime to our list. “My daughter likes to build her own tent out of a bed sheet on our deck outside and play in it,” she said. “Keeps her occupied for hours.”

Homemade forts are free, endlessly creative … and heck, we all have a couch fort or two in our pasts too. Actually, I may have several hundred. And I’m not alone. Couch forts are well represented in Flickr’s homemade fort photo collection. Also there: cardboard box castles and cardboard hideaways.

The couch version hardly needs explanation – grab the pillows off your couch, prop them up, drape a sheet or blanket over the top, and voila, a castle, pirate ship, frontier outpost or spy hideout. Draping a bedsheet over patio furniture or between bushes makes a perfect garden fort too. Or you can use PVC pipes and connectors to make a fort frame, ready for draping in camo or other fabric. But cardboard forts have an allure all their own. Here’s how to make an extraordinary one…

1. Building the fort is at least half the fun, so provide the materials and supervise anything involving hammers or sharp objects, but let your kids do the designing, building and decorating.

2. Your kids will need at least one large, appliance-sized cardboard box. (Try Freecycle or one of these tips on how to find them.) Plus, paints and markers, sheets or other fabric, and cardboard – because every good fortress or clubhouse needs a “keep out” sign.

3. If this will be a castle, fortress or house of some sort, you’ll want to cut an opening for the door and some windows for them, then set them loose with the paints and props.

4. If it’s a pirate ship, set the box right side up with the flaps open for easy sailing access – then affix a broom handle or PVC pipe to each end so you can hang sails and, of course, the requisite Jolly Roger pennant. Or if you want to go whole hog, Mr. McGroovy’s web site has plans for a very elaborate, very fabulous version that requires 8 refrigerator boxes. (He’s got plans for princess carriages, castles and spaceships too.)

Looking for more backyard fun ideas?

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3 Responses to “BACKYARD FUN: Homemade Forts”

  1. Janelle Says:

    Wow, a quote…surprised to see that but honored. We do love our play forts.

  2. Jackie Says:

    Awww, Janelle, how could I resist? :-)

  3. Play Day Fun | aPARENTly Speaking Says:

    [...] How to Build a Homemade Fort [...]

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