Just because it’s rainy doesn’t mean kids are confined to a day in front of a screen.
Existing structure. This can be an alcove, furniture or the like — you’re just looking for something to build your fort around. A table makes an easy fort structure because you just have to throw a blanket over top of it, but an elite fort-builder might look for something with tunneling potential like a well-arranged group of couches and chairs.
Blankets. Create your “roof” and “walls” with blankets or sheets. Thicker blankets don’t let light in or out, which can be an advantage, but they’re also heavier and can be harder to anchor. Sheets or light blankets might let some light in, but they’re easier to work with.
Anchors. You’ll need to anchor your blankets somehow. Books are great for weighting a blanket down on a chair, table or stool. Don’t use potted plants. Don’t use pillows. If you’ve gone all digital and don’t have stacks of heavy books around, use something else that is heavy and non-breakable — and that won’t injure any of the fort users should it fall. Light blankets and sheets can often be tucked or tied into place. Advanced fort builders might pursue more complex options for anchoring their blankets.
Cushions. Mattresses, couch cushions and pillows are all fort-building necessities for comfort or shielding, depending on the type of fort you build.
How you assemble these items depends entirely on the purpose of your fort. Here are a few main types to explore creating:
Reading/sleeping/screen-watching fort. For this type of fort, comfort and light control are top priorities. Begin with a mattress as your base, regular or inflatable, and move it to your desired fort location. You’ll want someplace quiet and out of the way. If you’ve got a bunk bed, your fort is basically pre-assembled. Next, use some blankets that block light — polar fleece is a light, breathable option. Once you’ve got your comfy base and your light-blocking covering, fill the space with more pillows, blankets and stuffed animals — you’re going for luxury comfort levels here. If you’re reading in your fort, bring in a flashlight or small lamp — just make sure the lamp doesn’t touch any nearby fort material or get too hot.
Hideout fort. Privacy and camouflage are the priorities for someone who wants a good place to hide away for a while. You’ll want to go the minimal route and do your best to blend in with the surroundings. A closet makes a great hideout, as does space under the stairs, but even a small corner with a hung blanket can work. Design your fort to blend in and then fill it with whatever you need to hang out for a while — pillows, music, games — and don’t forget snacks.
Attack fort. Whether it’s Nerf guns, rubber bands or some other form of incursion, you need a safe place to block the assault and prepare for counter attack. Attack forts are best in large rooms. In the case of warring tribes, two forts, of course, is fair, but fair doesn’t always work out. For an attack fort, your priorities are stealth and protection. You’ll want a sturdy fort that can handle whatever might fly its way. Couch cushions make for thick, stable walls and you’ll want to put work into a well-anchored blanket or covering. A fort with spy holes, tunnels and weapon holes is going to be ideal. Lined up chairs make for a good tunnel — just don’t forget the blanket to hide you. Stock your fort with plenty of well-guarded provisions.