Reading is fun, but let’s face it…it’s much cooler when it’s done inside a blanket fort! And for kids, it’s not just the experience of cozying up within the fort, good book in hand–it’s the excitement and adventure that comes with making the fort in the first place.
Read on to learn how to make a truly awesome blanket fort, the perfect place for reading!
Supplies and Steps
Before getting started, identify the best area for the blanket fort–you’ll want plenty of floor space in order for more than one person to spread out and read under cover. Unless you want your living room or family room turning into something resembling your worst laundry-day nightmare, it might be best to construct the fort in your child’s bedroom if there’s enough space.
So, here’s what you need–and what you need to do–to build a blanket fort:
- Supports: The high backs of chairs make perfect blanket supports for your fort. You’ll probably want at least four chairs–two on each side, facing out. If you don’t have enough space for chairs, anything else that’s reasonably tall and sturdy can serve as support for the blankets–laundry hamper, bed frame, other pieces of furniture. Space them out enough so you have plenty of floor space–but make sure the supports aren’t too far apart, because then the blankets will simply fall onto the floor…and you.
- Comfy floor coverings: If the room is carpeted, you probably can skip this part. But you definitely want to be comfortable on the floor, so an unzipped sleeping bag, a large comforter or blanket, or even some pillows can create a nice lounging space in the fort.
- Blankets and sheets: This is why it’s called a blanket fort! Grab a few bed sheets and some blankets and drape them over the supports to create the “ceiling” structure of the fort.
- Clothespins and/or heavy objects: These will be necessary to keep the blankets from not slipping off the supports and falling into the middle of the fort. If you’re using chairs for supports, place some books or other semi-heavy objects on top of the blankets on the seats of the chairs to keep the blankets taut. You can also use clothespins to secure the blankets to whatever you might be using as a support.
- Lots of lights: You definitely need plenty of light in the fort–not only for atmosphere, but for reading! Your best bets are probably battery-operated string lights that can be wrapped around anything and draped however you please, or those strips of LED lights that can be stuck to the blankets via the adhesive on their back or with double-sided tape. Battery-operated lights are preferable since you won’t need to worry about the fire hazards that come with using a power outlet. [Note: do not use a halogen lamp as either your source of light or as a support…these are known to cause fires when in close contact with fabric.]
- Books: That’s why you’re building the fort in the first place, right? Stock the fort with plenty of favorites, get comfy, and start reading!
Fort Blanket Tips
- For kids, the final result–their awesome blanket fort–will be the reward. But as a parent, the best part might be seeing them put their brains to work in creating the fort. Let your child take the lead in constructing the fort–allow them to use their problem-solving skills, creativity, and imagination when putting the fort together and watch how much they enjoy learning and building.
- Consider making the blanket fort a screen-free zone. Maybe even create a fun sign that designates the fort a creative-only area, a space where books are read, pictures are drawn and colored, board games are played, and puzzles are solved. Phones and tablets must be checked at the door/entrance to the fort.
- Keep a fresh rotation of books in the fort so there’s some variety. Of course it’s a good idea to keep the absolute favorites and go-to titles that your kids love, but some new stories are always a welcome addition.
- As a parent, one thing I never mind spending money on is a new book for my kids. Even though they’re older now and would probably require a rather large blanket fort, they still love reading, so I consider new books to be an investment rather than an expense. With that in mind, consider rewarding your child with a new book if they finish another; or help them set some reading goals–when they reach their goal, their prize is a new book to read!
- Encourage them to invite some friends over to join in on the fun. Now that we’re in a much safer place (pandemically speaking), the prospect of kids hanging out together in a semi-enclosed blanket fort isn’t so scary. Have your child invite a friend or two to enjoy some blanket fort time!
Building a blanket fort is a fun family activity that stimulates your child’s creativity, activates his or her imagination, and puts problem-solving skills to work. Just as importantly, however, it provides your young reader with his or own special place in which to read comfortably. Of course, your whole family can share in this cool atmosphere and read together or play games–just make sure it’s stocked with plenty of books!