03 March 2008

Fitted sheets make the best forts

Alexandra's husband stumbled onto a good fort-building trick:

My husband discovered a great hack when he grabbed a sheet to use for building forts for our two small children. The first sheet he grabbed was a king-sized fitted sheet, so he draped it over an arm chair and end table and it made a great snug "cave." The elastic edges keep the fort from falling down and the kids can easily wander in and out of it without having to hang it back on. The fort is still standing and no one wants to take it down!

Do you have any fort construction tips to share?

Your comments

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Good idea to use fitted sheets. We generally just give my kids a stack of sheets and table cloths, and go at it! They take up the entire livingroom/dining room, using up 6 chairs, folding chairs, table, whatever they can get their hands on. It's a big production and we leave it there for a few days. What fun to be a kid!

TV tables make excellent doorways to the fort.

Use binder clips or C clamps to attach the sheets to whatever's holding them up. Much better than using heavy books or an iron, which can fall down on people's heads.

My kidlets use a long jump rope or length of twine, strung between immovable objects (bunk beds, bookshelves secured to the wall, etc) to form the ridge-line of the tent. Then they use clothespins to secure the sheets/blankets in place, and the traditional pillows, couch cushions, etc. build out the rest.

This wasn't my invention - my seven year old daughter is apparently training to be an engineer :)

@Mary - Binder clips would be *much* better than clothespins for securing to other objects - excellent idea!

I used a military poncho liner, which is a quilted blanket with 2 short shoelace type strings attached at each corner and halfway down each side. We used the strings to tie off the sides and corners to make a tent, or to tie more than one liner together to make a larger enclosure. If you don't have one, just sew a shoestring folded in half to the corner and sides of an old blanket. My kids loved how they could change their fort easily, and it gave them practice tieing knots.

Binder clips are must-haves in our fort building, as are their stronger, more tenacious cousins, the bulldog clip.

That is an excellent suggestion! I'll tell you what DOESN'T work is putting heavy objects haphazardly on top of slippery blankets above the fort - they can fall ON the kids and you can end up spending the night in the ER!

A pack 'n' play (playpen) on its side works great!

We bought a set of four 2" metal spring clamps at Home Despot -- they look like giant metal clothespins and are FANTASTIC for forts.

Heh- unorganized parents leave their home ripe with opportunities for fort building. Right now there is a great fort in my bedroom, built around the baby's outgrown crib which I got so far as to remove the mattress platform and the mattress, but not actually disassemble and move to the garage. The kids are loving it.

My corollary to Carrie's comment is that you should also make sure the cats can't jump on the fabric roof of your fort. Ours recently caused a complete cave-in that pulled chairs down on all of us. Luckily no injuries but also a big downer on fort fun.

We make our forts using coat hangers and clothes pegs. That way you can hook the hanger over sturdy objects to create the roof. Curtain poles are a favorite in the bedroom - that way, if you have the curtains closed - you have a fort wall and roof in one! Plus the added bonus of a nice high fort roof. No more hunched up games for me :)

Brilliant - I never would have thought to use the fitted sheets instead of the flat sheets!!!

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