This isn’t actually a tutorial on building forts – I’m certainly not an expert. But, as the mother of 2 boys, I hear about their coolness A LOT! What’s not to love? A place away from everyday responsibilities, that you often create yourself, usually out in nature, sometimes with a buddy by your side!
About a week ago, my oldest decided a backyard fort might help with the start of summer “there’s nothing to do around here!” blues. He was right and my husband and I couldn’t have been more impressed with his perseverance and determination to do a good job. He got his cam0-gear on, picked the spot (under a small tree), asked for some plywood, cardboard and duct tape, included his little brother, and got to work. And work they did – for HOURS! They built their shelter, smoothed out the floor, made their own “fire-pit,” packed their cooler of semi-primal snacks, and brought the camping lantern inside. Ready for action!
The next request: sleeping bags? What? Yep, they decided that their fort was so cool that they were going to spend the night in it! My husband and I were doubtful that it would actually happen, but we wanted to support all their efforts – plus there are great health benefits from sleeping on the dirt;-) So, the sleeping bags went in. They BARELY fit in there together and were at quite an angle that didn’t seem conducive to a comfortable night’s sleep, but the boys were so excited.
As the night drew nearer, the question came: “Dad, do you think you might be able to sleep in your tent outside with us?” Not in the fort, but close enough for a touch of protection. “Sure,” he said. After dinner, walking our puppy, and reading a little Harry Potter in the tent, the boys made their way into their creation. The youngest quickly popped out and came inside to sleep – he wasn’t so sure about it just yet. But, come morning, the little man ran down the stairs and outside to slip inside his sleeping bag and wake up his big brother who had a wonderful night sleep, solo in his backyard fort!
Why a post on this?
– I think it’s important to talk about encouraging young brains to appreciate the natural world around them.
– I think it’s important to “make” our kids JUST PLAY OUTSIDE!
– Impromptu activities can push resourcefulness and problem solving.
– The boys’ best memories are from times exploring the GREAT OUTDOORS together. Otherwise, they are usually fighting with each other.
– Moments like this can be used to teach independence and stretch their level of comfort.
I want my kids to respect nature, know how to take care of themselves in nature, and be able to step away from the techno-savvy world around us to create their best memories. Moments like building your very own backyard fort are small steps in achieving that.