Every year my son gets involved in building a fort indoors. Since he’s always built them with blankets, chairs, sheets, clothespins, folding chairs, boxes, cushions etc, it’s always been a safe activity he could enjoy without us hovering. This year, he announced he wanted to build his fort outdoors, with actual wood and nails.


Our first instinct was to be worried, but then we encouraged him to decide what the fort would be used for, and what it would look like.  Planning the project together, letting him lead, gives him confidence and freedom of expression.  It’s a great part of the fun.


We did suggest a temporary fort, utilizing patio furniture, branches, plastic wading pools, old sheets and swing set  to make a frame for it. However he was pretty clear that his outdoor fort would be built and permanent.


Since his main prerogative for the fort was for it to be a secret spot where he and his friends can hide and plan attacks, when planning the location, we looked for a secluded area in the yard.  After doing some research, we realized using rope and a tarp, tent style,  would give him the quickest turn around. Simply use the rope to create a line between two trees or the fence and a tree and drape with the tarp over it, anchoring the outer edges with rocks or bricks. He mulled it over but decided his fort had to have nails.


We got some scrap wood, and helped him draw up the plans. Its still going but the little bit that’s been completed is impressive and he is very proud of himself.  For great pictures of forts for inspiration, click here (

Article By Nuria Almeida

Photo By guy schmidt

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