"You are so creative!" I have heard that phrase constantly since I was little. DIY, Refashioning, Crafting, Sewing, Woodworking. I love it all! Now I have a place to keep my favorite projects or ideas organized and share them with you!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Building a Nature Fort!

Doomsday Preppers here we come!
Ok maybe not... but honestly after watching that show I did pack our 72hour kits just to be ready. Although there really isn't much in the middle of the Midwest we will have to leave our house for. Except maybe in the aftermath of a tornado, and if a tornado hits our house, pretty sure the packs will be gone, and chances are it is not going to hit every house so there will be plenty of people ready to help out. But... We are ready just in case. :)

Yet not every idea on the show Doomsday Preppers is totally out of this world.
You can get some good ideas of fun things to do with your kids by watching. I am not talking about dressing up in full bio-hazard gear, and
of course you don't want to scare them and tell them that you need to learn how to build a survival shelter so that if you find yourself lost in the wilderness you won't die.

But ...
To build a fort using only sticks and leaves!!!!!

There are actually a few great books for kids that cover how to do this. Here are two we just checked out from the library.

A Kids' Guide to Building Forts   by Tom Birdseye is a fun book written for kids to give them ideas of how to build forts using things they find. It is a book for maybe the 10-12 age, and there are some things that parents might want to supervise. But I found some great ideas I had never thought of in this book. Lots of illustrated pictures to show how things are done as well. Although I am not sure what the author was thinking putting all the letters in all the words in capitals. He much have come from another time when that didn't mean yelling but I kind of felt yelled at while reading it.  This book kid contain the style of fort we built.

Let's Go Outside by Jennifer Ward also has a short chapter on  fort building ideas as well. It did not have the exact fort we built, but her book has  tons of fun outdoor games, and activities such as gardening, that bring you and your child closer together while spending time outdoors, (away from the lure of electronics), I am planning on writing a few ideas down from this book for our next camping trip to keep the kids busy, and also making a bucket list from this book for some fun summer break adventures.

But onto our fort:
At the time we went on this adventure, (the Monday after Easter when there was no school) we didn't have either of these books yet. We simply looked up online how to build a survival shelter. There are tons of places online that show how it is done.
We just looked at a simple illustration found in an image search and tried it out.

Here is our set up, in a local park, slightly off the path, but still visible from one of the Frisbee golf holes. There was plenty of dead branches and materials to use, as well as leaves. It has been dry around here lately and too cold yet for bugs so it was perfect. Around 63 degrees. It was a great temp for working without getting too hot.

The kids wore hooded sweatshirts long pants, socks, shoes, and thin gloves.
I recommend the gloves, the kept their hands from getting too dirty, or from getting scratched by sticks and leaves. The gloves turned out to be a really good idea. I brought some work gloves for myself as well.

The kids picked out the main branch, and we found a great spot to prop it up. Then we started layering our sticks. Next time I know  to check to see if there is enough space first before layering the sticks. My kids fit great but I was a bit too long for our shelter by only a few inches.

Then when our sticks were layered we started putting on TONS of leaves.

Then we took a snack break. The project took around 2 hours start to finish, so a break was needed, but no one was bored, they were having a blast! A real wilderness adventure.

 Here they are eating the Teddy Grahams and Animal Crackers they got for Easter.
Thanks Grandma!

Here we are about halfway done. We still needed a few more longer sticks. They were a bit harder to find than the shorter ones. My son also found a giant log that was loosing it's bark and we were able to put large pieces of bark in some of the openings to keep the leaves from falling in.

Keep leaves on the ground inside too so you have a comfy place to lay on and to insulate you from the cold ground.

 Cosy enough for two.

 Plenty of room to sleep one!

The finished outside just looks like a large pile of leaves.

It was so much fun building! Here is our camp. Complete with a backpack tree!
Now that kids know how to do this I am sure they will be off building forts on our next camping trip with their cousins.

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