Kids are talented builders. They love to stack things, knock them over, and rebuild! Tap into that natural ability and turn something they already love doing into a quality interaction.
Building is a great activity because it involves creativity, motor skills, and problem solving. That’s a lot of opportunity for brain development—no matter how old they are. Children of different age groups can easily play together with forts, and we’ve included some ideas on how to get even your littlest ones involved.
Things you’ll need:
Pillows, blankets or sheets, chairs, boxes, tables—or whatever else you can find. Encourage your child to use their imagination!
Here are a few ideas for taking a regular activity and turning it into a quality interaction with the Domains of Development:
Sense of Self & Relationships
- Talk about the different materials you can use to build a fort and how you could use them—blankets could make great walls or roofs, pillows could make a great base or walls, etc.
- Talk about what makes a fort different from a home. What do and don’t forts and homes have in common?
- Create a colorful sign together for your fort—cardboard, plain white paper, bright construction paper are fun foundations for a sign.
- For infants: Take your infant inside the fort and see what they do. Talk about what you see together.
Strong & Healthy Bodies
- Invite your child to build their fort with a friend or family member. Talk to them about how they feel working with another person. Did it make them happy? Did they have fun?
- Ask them how they feel when they’re inside their fort. Do they feel safe? Do they like hiding alone or with someone else?
- For infants: Play peek-a-boo with your child while they’re inside the fort. Ask them playful questions like “Where are you?” or “Where am I?”
- Build a fort outside with materials suitable for outside—branches on the ground, a tarp, etc.
- Make a healthy snack with your child to enjoy in their fort.
- Challenge your child to build the tallest, longest, comfiest, or most complex fort they can.
- For infants: Assemble a few soft pillows around the fort for your baby to crawl through. Encourage them to go through multiple times.
- If you have a camera, encourage your child to take pictures inside their fort and share them with you
- Invite your child to play pretend and imagine all the different characters who could live in the fort—are they a princess in a castle? A pirate on a boat? An astronaut in a space rocket?
- Draw a picture of your fort before you build it and then draw another after. Talk about what’s different and what’s the same.
- For infants: Let them touch the different materials and see if there’s one they like best.