forts,  problem solving,  rainy day,  Social skills

Fort Building!

I mentioned earlier this week that the weather around here has been crummy – that’s kind of how spring goes in Ohio. It’s either still cold or raining – either way, we don’t get as much time outside as I would like.  This makes everyone a little cranky, and some afternoons are just difficult.  When those days happen I throw the plans out the window and we build forts.

The children love, love, love this, and I know that they are still using problem solving and social skills, so it’s a great team building activity.  Since these afternoons are somewhat spontaneous, there are a few things that I try to keep on hand so that we have everything we need, when we need it, you could even put all of these materials in one container to make a great fort-building kit for your favorite teacher or preschooler! (All links are affiliates)

  1. A couple of sheets – Sheets cover a large area and they’re lightweight, so they don’t fall down quite as easy as a blanket.  It’s important to have more than one because you’ll likely have children who want to build their own fort, or your group will want their fort to have multiple sections. 
  2. Clamps – these plastic clamps are lightweight, and easy for little hands to open, and they are perfect for holding your sheets to chairs or shelves. 
  3. Clothespins – These serve the same purpose as the clamps, but they are lightweight and also good for holding multiple sheets together – this pack comes in a variety of colors for extra fun. 
  4. Masking tape – Masking tape is cheap and it won’t hurt finishes on walls on furniture, so kiddos can use as much of it as they want.  It can be used to hold sheets to tables or to create designs on the sheets to dress up the fort.  This colored set is sure to be a hit!
  5. Flashlights – These are for after the forts are finished. Whether the children are reading, drawing, or just exploring inside their fort, they’re bound to need a little extra light.  I especially love the mini flashlights that turn on with a touch of a button because they are so easy to use. 
  6. Zip ties – If you’re going to be using a lot of tables or chairs for the base of your fort then zip ties are super helpful.  The children can use them to secure the sheets around the table or chair legs (and they are awesome fine motor practice!)
  7. Clothesline – I don’t generally bring out the rope, because I’m the one who ends up tying all of the knots and I really want them to create their forts on their own, however it’s good to have as a back up if the children really want to stretch their sheet between to pieces of furniture that are hard to use clips on.  In this case you can tie to each piece of furniture and then hang the sheet over it like a tent – this is also a good technique for creating tunnels. 
Fort building is the perfect way to turn a blah afternoon into a day the children won’t forget, and when you’re done they can learn how to fold the sheets!

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