Some of the best memories of childhood can be sparked by the smallest things. A DIY fort is one of them. From the moment they crawl inside, it’s as if they’ve been whisked away to another world. And is there anything more heart-warming than listening to the babbling conversations they have with their siblings (or toys!) from inside the fort? It’s magic.
Plus, building them is half the fun! Perhaps you could even come up with a theme. All you need is a few things from around the home, some finishing touches from your local Stockland centre and some imagination.
Find the perfect spot
Firstly, ask yourself, is the fort temporary or will it be up for a few weeks? If it’s just for a cosy movie night, then the living room is ideal. But if you don’t want to be stumbling over a fort for a few weeks, reserve a nook in their bedroom or playroom instead.
Gather the essentials
When deciding on what you need to build your DIY fort, you might like to consider a theme. A Montessori (sensory) fort could include a craft element and plenty of soft, textured furnishings, while an outer-space fort will need some twinkling stars and Styrofoam orbs to paint as the planets. Mixed in with a few things you’ll likely find at home!
DIY fort checklist
• A large bed sheet or two from home. Top tip: a fitted sheet makes it easier to hook onto furniture
• Sticky hooks and pegs from Coles
• Blankets, pillows and cushions. Top tip: check out the paint your own cushion kit from Big W if you’re building a Montessori fort
• Lanterns and LED fairy light jars (grab these from Big W or Kmart)
• A mat/rug to cover the floor
• A special book and cosy pyjamas
Or, if using a bed sheet isn’t an option, you can find a pre-built tepee from Kmart to decorate – perhaps as a magical indoor fairy cubby.
Best & Less Novelty Onesie $22, Big W House & Home Round Jute Rug $29, Big W Lanterns $8.50, Big W Slinky Malinki's Cat Tales $20, Kmart Lion Cushion $7, Kmart Paint Your Own Cushion Cover Set $10, Kmart Teepee Play Tent $26, Spotlight Emporium Star Bauble LED 10 Lights Multicoloured 1.6m $10, Spotlight Oasis Living Mason Jar With Solar Light $10, Target Lila Tassel Throw $39
Build your fort
The most important thing to consider when creating the structure is the safety of your little ones. So, when choosing sticky hooks, check the weight they can support before attaching to the roof or wall. It’s also a good idea to move anything fragile away from the vicinity of the fort. When their imaginations run wild and it turns into a castle complete with cardboard swords and shields, you don’t want the battle to do any serious damage. Perhaps you could even create a mobile fort and move it outside! Another great option is to use the dining table as a foundation. That way you can simply drape some sheets over the top, peg back the entryway, string the fairy lights, and voila!
Safety first! With battery-operated products, remember to seal any battery closures to prevent children from gaining access. And no cords or powered items should be brought into the fort. Keep it simple with battery-operated products if required.
Keep it cosy
One of our favourite parts about a chilly winter evening is bunkering down at home with the kids. But, before you whip up some yummy home recipes, pop them into their warmest pyjamas (the range of onesies at Best & Less are our pick!) and pick a movie or book to enjoy. Make sure you add the ‘cosy’ to your DIY fort, too. Fill it with soft blankets, cushions and toys. And to create a grand entryway fit for a king or queen, string plenty of fairy lights to mark the door. That way, when you switch off the lights there’ll still be plenty of warm light to read or watch a movie together.
A personal touch
A DIY sign to welcome in the little guests is a great idea to personalise the fort. It could read ‘Step into outer-space’ or ‘Alana’s indoor fairy garden’. If it’s a Montessori fort you’ve created, the DIY touches could be in painting the sheets before they’re hung up. Some rainbow handprints covering the outside would certainly spark their imagination. You could also take some of the artwork masterpieces that’ve been hanging on your fridge and peg them up inside the fort as a miniature gallery wall.
Making memories with the kids can be as simple as building a magical fort together. Just add a few personal touches and some clever DIY hacks shared by your local Stockland centre.
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