Did you enjoy building forts as a kid? I remember using old refrigerator boxes, sheets, and whatever else we could find to create our own little hideaways. We didn’t have a tree house, (and probably shouldn’t have with our family clumsiness!), so we created our own places. There is something so magical about building your own place hidden from the world and imagining that it is whatever you want it to be. Today’s book focuses on the joy of fort building, no matter what season you are in.
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Fort Building Time was written by Megan Wagner Lloyd and illustrated by Abigail Halpin. This book takes the childhood fun of fort building and carries it through all four seasons of the year. The diverse group of children in the book use materials they find around them each season to create fun forts. The text describes each season in terms of the activities that the children enjoy doing. The beautiful illustrations emphasize many of the attributes that we associate with each season, as well as extremely creative forts that the children create. While the story is a simple one, the book encourages the reader to be inspired to create their own place, no matter what time of year it is.
Create your own hideaway!
Build a Fort Together – Create your own family fort. Use whatever you have around you and create a place to snuggle up together and read or play games. My daughter and I used a simple sheet and some dining room chairs to create a fort. It has become her favorite place to read, do puzzles and play with her toys. She even decorated it with some leftover Christmas decorations! I love that she had fun making her own place, and that we could hide away from the world and the bad weather together.
Fill your whole year with fun!
Seasonal Bucket Lists – The story lists a wide variety of activities that define each season of the year. Encourage kids to come up with a list of their favorite activities for each season of the year, as well as some new activities they want to try. As a family, choose which activities you want to try together and create your own family bucket list for each season. I created this printable to help you get started. Imagine how much fun you will have at the end of the year when you look back at all of your adventures over the seasons!
Build a delicious fort!
Edible Fort Building – Give kids an opportunity to create their own fort using mini marshmallows and toothpicks or pretzel sticks. Show younger kids how to make a few simple shapes and have them stack them together to create a simple structure. For older kids, challenge them to create a fort that can withstand a fan blowing on it, or a piece of fruit sitting on top of it. This STEM activity offers an opportunity to be creative, as well as to develop problem solving skills. Plus, marshmallows are fun and delicious!
Give the Gift of Creativity!
Can You Build a Fort? – Give kids a pile of supplies and see what kind of fort they can come up with together. You can provide them with some easily identifiable supplies such as sheets or clothespins, but you can also add in a variety of materials that they would need to be creative with. Julie Hoag created a fun DIY Fort in a Bag which is full of supplies that kids can use to create their own hideout. She bundled them up and gave them as a gift so kids can grab the container and create their own fort whenever they want to. I love the idea of having a fort making kit ready to go whenever the mood strikes you!
Fort Art – Fold a piece of paper in half twice so you have four equal boxes. Unfold it and encourage kids to draw their dream fort for each season in one of the boxes. Ask them what items they would use and what types of games they would play in it. You could also allow them to use various materials to create their own fort artwork, such as small sticks for Spring, or cotton balls to represent snow.
There are lots of fun ways to make fort building into a fun learning experience. In addition to the skills they will be developing, they will also be creating great memories! Do your kids love to build forts? Share their best fort ideas in the comments below!