Monday, December 31, 2012

The Fort, a Staple of Every Childhood

Everyone has built a fort at one time in their life. Whether that fort was made of blankets and chairs, the cushions off of grandma's sofa, snow or a cardboard box, everyone has built one. If they say they haven't, I would call them a liar. Forts can distract kids for a long time, that's for sure. I can cut some "windows" in a box and let the kids just draw on it with some crayons. They'll play with that box until it's almost completely broken down and I have to throw it away. Even then, I have to fight them off all the way to the trash can. I remember placing my Nanna's chairs not far from each other and draping sheets over the chair backs. That was my fort. A lot of the time my cousins and I would pile up cushions as floors and extra insulation. Forts are a great feeling for a kid, you can pretend they're anything. A fort can be a castle, a house, a tent in the deep woods, a submarine at the bottom of the ocean... anything, all you need is imagination. Children have no shortage of imagination, that's for sure.

Sure, you could go and spend the money to buy the cute little playhouses that are sometimes hard to put up and always take up space. Usually a child outgrows those pretty quickly, or loses interest. I just don't think they're worth the money. A fort can be made out of any thing, but lately I have noticed that the basic every day fort has evolved slightly. I've seen some really great ideas that we never bothered with as children. Some of us may have thought about it but most of us never really followed through. I love the different options people have thought up, most of them space saving, easy to hide and easy to put up. I've decided to share them here with you guys.

1. The Tablecloth Fort:

Aren't these so cute? The sewing skills required for this are minimal depending on how detailed you want to be. Their construction would be exceedingly simple and you could use any type of material that you like. Canvas drop cloths can be purchased for next to nothing at any hardware store, and can be dyed in your washing machine with Rit Dye. You could purchase your own fabric from a fabric store or even use old sheets! The doors in 1 and 2 are held open or closed by little ties and in 3 the creator has implemented a zipper; velcro would also work wonderfully. I especially like the detail in the third picture, the plastic on the windows is a wonderful touch. Bubba would love the cammo fort as well. The best part about this type of fort is that it can be easily folded up and put away. Remember this doesn't have to be perfect, so get to sewing!

2. The Tension Rod Fort:
These little forts are also a great idea and can be easily put away! I think whoever came up with this was a genius. All you need for this type of fort are some tension rods and cloth. You could drape the fabric over the tension rods (curtain rods) but I feel that it would easily slide off this way. I think that creating this by attaching the rod via pocket like a curtain would be the best way and very simple. You could also use curtain hooks to attach the rods, also much like a curtain. In this fort the little door is held up by velcro but when you drop it down it doubles as a welcome mat. How adorable is that? The tension rod fort can also be folded and put away or just hung up somewhere for storage.

3. The Cardboard Fort:

Cardboard is a great resource for making things for kids. The cardboard fort isn't usually as easy to put away but can also be completely free standing with no issue. You can piece together cardboard forts or just cut up a large box. I can't count how many times my friends, family and myself have spent quite a bit of money on some high rated fantastic toy and the children have had more fun with the box! The great thing about cardboard forts are that they can be as detailed or as simple as you'd like. You can go from this,
             to this....

or this....

 Yeahhhh... take one more look at that cardboard castle. Just look at that. I stared at it for at least five minutes. When looking at that fort, I feel that I have been out done in my creativity department... this picture is what has determined me to build the greatest cardboard fort ever. This idea has been so popular recently that you can even buy pre-made pre-cut cardboard houses that only need a little paint or coloring and some kids. I, however, am not going to pay over 20$ for any box. Never. I prefer the DIY get the boxes from the grocery store for free kind of playhouse/ fort.

4. The Window Shades Fort:

I love this idea because there is no real work in putting it away, it's always there, just out of sight. This concept plays off of the table cloth fort with just a little difference. This uses window shades. Unfortunately, this is the only picture I could find where someone had done this. The idea apparently came from Country Living. It's as easy as placing roller window shades beneath your table and drawing on them. I'm not sure if cutting windows or doors into a roller shade would weaken the structure but it would be worth a shot! Then, when the kids are finished with it a quick tug would pull the shade right back up- out of sight and out of mind :D

Links for more Fort Inspiration:

More Images for inspiration!

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