A fort represents more than its materials—it's everything from a hide-out and a place to hang out to a getaway and a play space. Kids seek (and need) places of their own in their homes, backyards and neighborhoods, and building forts is a timeless part of childhood for so many. It requires teamwork, problem solving and creativity, and it drives imaginative play.
Whether you're looking for a fun way for your kids to spend an afternoon or you're aiming to help your kids build a fort that will stand for years, there's a design out there to inspire your project. And we gathered five of our favorite stand-out forts to help you get the design and construction process started.
From the classic blanket fort to professional treehouse builds (both indoor and outdoor), these designs demonstrate just how versatile forts can be and how easy it is to find something around your home to help your kids build a place where they can rest, play, read and imagine.
Young YouTube star Everleigh Rose is here with one of the biggest blanket forts you and your kids have ever seen! Click here to check out her design process and the final tour. Seeing how she came up with her idea might be all your kids need to get started thinking about their own fort layout.
Blanket forts are a rainy day or indoor-play classic and can be as simple to put up as they are to take down. The best thing about helping your kids pull together their own is you typically need nothing more than props, pillows, blankets and weights (or other things to secure the soft structural materials in place) that are already lying around your home. For a little extra guidance on what you'll need or how to start, check out these two quick video links here and here.
For families that live near a forest or have well established trees in their backyard, this stick fort designed, built and shared by DJCJ on YouTube, is a must see! Click here for the full tour of the fort made entirely with sticks and string. It's spacious, creative and sure to inspire your outdoorsy kids to get out there searching for and binding together the perfect branches for their structure.
Looking to help your kids make something similar but don't have access to that many branches? Consider using other nearby, natural materials. Palm fronds can make great fort walls and rooftops, and if you live near the beach, driftwood forts are an option as well (and especially helpful when it comes to escaping that scorching midday sun)!
Cardboard Box Fort
Have you ever seen a box fort big enough to fit five kids, a dog and even mom and dad? Yep, it's possible! Look no further than this video here with Family Fun Pack. It takes you from its box-filled garage to the full-size fort of every kid's dreams—you'll even get to see a bit of the fun that comes with the deconstruction!
Box forts are great for both indoors and outdoors. The enclosed nature of a box also lends well to making forts with many different rooms, so this type of fort is great for large families or big play groups with multiple kids. A little bit of duct tape can help with the longevity of the fort, but it isn't absolutely necessary. Your kids can use them again and again, designing and re-designing their best forts yet! They're easy to set up, easy to clean up and lots of fun in between.
This HGTV treehouse build is sure to wow you and your kids. While you might be hard-pressed to recreate it, it's full of creative additions to inspire your kids' own designs. From the trampolines built into the floor base to the adjustable zipline, this is a kid's backyard dream. Watch the full build story, from design and production to the big reveal, here!
Note that building a treehouse definitely demands a bit of extra skill (and adult help) when it comes to power tools and structural safety. But when you're finished, it's a backyard addition that will last—perfect for campouts, imaginative play and a place in your backyard for your kids to call their own!
No backyard or trees? No problem! These two incredible indoor "tree" forts bring the outdoors in with next-level designs and builds. They boast the permanence of an outdoor treehouse and the comfort of a blanket fort. Check out Universal Kids treehouse room remodel here, and one dad's design and build with this clip here from Caters Clips.
If you're not feeling prepared to take on a project of this size and scope, don't worry! You're not alone. You can scale it back and incorporate only the elements of the projects you and your kids most want to see in their indoor fort (like the swing!). You can also turn to similar structures that you likely already have in your house with kids (bunk or lofted beds with ladders) or just lean more into blankets for structures. Regardless of the materials used, your child's fort will help keep them entertained and happy making memories that will last a lifetime!
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