There's nothing more inspiring for children than playing in a world they’ve created for themselves. Not all imaginary worlds have to stay imaginary though. The opportunity to build your dreams at full scale is one of the main attractions of creating a blanket fort.
After the year we've had, it's critical to give children control over their spaces, and this can manifest in the form of a fort. It’s also a great bonding activity for parents and kids to share as you work together toward a common goal, then sit back and watch them enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Now that it's summer and the children are out of school, it's blanket fort season. Let’s take a closer look at how you can build the perfect blanket fort!
What Are the Benefits of Fort Building?
A blanket fort gives children (and adults) the opportunity to spend time constructing something pure and fun, but more than that, it gives people a chance to create their own retreat from the everyday stresses of the world. It doesn't matter whether those stresses are childlike and simple, or if you're worried about the entire state of the world — creating a fort gives you a sense of control over a world that can be confusing and scary.
Building forts and houses can also be a critical part of childhood development. Dr. David Sobel has researched the topic, and he says the propensity to build forts is nearly universal among children around the world, being part of a child's development of their sense of self. He says one of the driving factors that makes forts appealing is that "you can see out, but others can't see in,” and that sense of security is something we all need in life, regardless of age.
Time spent creating a fort also builds spatial skills and gives kids an opportunity to create something without being in front of a screen. Even in our increasingly online world, it can feel good to make something physical and real and just take time to unplug.
What Do I Need to Build My Blanket Fort?
There are only a few mandatory items for creating the world's best blanket fort. The rest is entirely based on what you have available at the moment. To make the perfect blanket fort, all you need are:
- Blankets and sheets (the more you have, the better!)
- Some way to keep the blankets in place
- Imagination and a healthy sense of adventure
And that's all! Everything else is up to you.
You'll want lightweight blankets (such as bedsheets, or Minky Couture's summer blankets) for the roof of your blanket fort. This is partly because it's easier to keep lighter blankets from falling or drooping, and partly because you want your fort to be breathable.
Fitted sheets can make excellent roofs. Softer, thicker blankets can go inside the fort for extra coziness. Minky Couture blankets in particular are perfect for lining the interior of a blanket fort; they're soft enough to snuggle against and strong enough to handle being stepped on. The faux fur Hugs blankets are perfect for afternoon naps, and the throw blankets are large enough to be the floor of the entire blanket fort.
There are a variety of materials you can use to make the walls of your fort. You can use:
- Chairs (which provide good structure)
- String/rope (which you can tie or tape to objects around the house to create a “backbone" for your blanket fort)
- Tall tables (card tables can be especially useful as they can be moved around)
- Bookshelves and other large furniture, as long as they're anchored to the wall
- Couch cushions
- Large cardboard boxes
- String twinkle lights
Some ideas for materials to keep the blankets in place:
- Chip and binder clips
- More string
- Heavy cans (especially for weighing down corners on the floor)
As to what goes inside your blanket fort, the possibilities are endless! Some suggestions include:
- More blankets!
- Snacks (popcorn is a winner if you plan to watch a movie)
- Stuffed animals
- Favorite books
- Sleeping bags
- Tablets and chargers
- Board games
- A small fan for ventilation
What Type of Blanket Fort Should I Build?
There are as many styles of blanket forts as there are people who build them; that's one of the most amazing things about imaginative play. There are a few major styles of forts, though. Experiment with your supplies and your space to see what works best for you!
Photo from Sandie [@sandiegowithkids]
The "tent" style of blanket fort generally uses a large blanket or sheet as the ceiling and drapes down on either side of a central brace. This can be made of chairs or simply draped across a string taped to the walls. These forts are sturdy, easy to make, and are a great way to spend a summer afternoon “camping.”
Photo from Camille [@camillepotokar]
These blanket forts radiate out from a central point. Maybe you've tied the center of a blanket to your ceiling fan (make sure to keep the fan turned off though!), maybe you've made use of a sturdy lamp, or that tall corner table is finally being used for something other than gathering dust. Either way, these are another simple yet spacious variety of blanket fort. Spice it up by using multiple blankets as the walls. This not only adds color to your fort but ventilation and entrances.
Photo from Eri Ellsworth [@eri.ellsworth]
The "canopy" blanket fort is the most customizable option and by far the most ambitious. By using blankets to create a “roof” off which you hang more blankets as walls, you can easily create multi-room forts. Try using a card table as a central room and branching out to make side rooms that are braced against chairs, or combine this with the tent style to make tunnels between forts.
Photo from Brandi Clawson [@brandiclawson]
This is another classic design of blanket fort, and it has the benefit of real walls! By using couch cushions, pillows, and boxes as the base of your fort, you can design the strongest fort around. This is one where using fitted sheets as a ceiling can really benefit you.
What Are You Waiting For?
If you want to build your own blanket fort, but don't have enough supplies, try Minky Couture's selection of soft, sturdy blankets. The blankets come in a variety of sizes — everything from Infant to the 60" x 84" Grande — and the variety of blankets makes them suitable for any fort. Contact Minky Couture for more inspiration and ideas, or if you have any questions about the products.
Sewn with love,