Sunday, September 30, 2012

Unbeatable Blanket Forts

When I was a wee lil lass I spent hours, days and even weeks making these amazing forts out of blankets.  No one could hold a candle to my interior decorating or architectural genius.  In fact, if I could have found a college that offered a fine arts degree in structural blanket design I would have gotten a doctorate.  But alas, I could not and now I am forced to live out my dream through my children.

Before I give you all of my boundless knowledge in this craftsmanship I must rant.  Besides lacking gratitude, I believe children today are depleted at birth of creativity.  I see this daily by the way children in our day care center play.  Or rather, try to play.  It is a sad state of affairs when you set a bucket of blocks and dinosaurs in a group of 4 year olds and they look at you in wonder.  They have no idea how to play and look for direction and approval at every stage of play.  Recently, I have had to do trainings with our staff on Purposeful Play/ Teaching Children to Play.  I am not kidding!  The lack of imagination and creativity literally has me at a loss of words.

So in honor of my second worst childhood epidemic I give you blanket forts.  If this can't teach your children to play on their own and use their imagination you might as well turn in your parental two week notice.  Remember, without creativity and imagination you would not have any right brained people.  It is worth the investment.  We all know that right brained people are the coolest kids at the party.

The supplies are simple...flat sheets or tablecloths.  Do not let the name fool you.  Blankets are way too heavy and not for the rookie fort builder.  You will also need tape (i prefer mahvelous tape....comes off of anything) rubberbands/hair ties and clothespins.  Don't have clothesline?  Stick with the ghetto build and use pant hangers...seriously, genius.  Now, the hard part.  Buckle up need to be creative.  Think back on your childhood Barbie house or GI Joe fort.  Think about the rooms you created.  Look around your child's room.  Find items that you can use to create rooms.  Yes, I said it rooms.

In the pics below, I have a variety of "rooms" for you to look at.  Nothing is fancy.  Nothing costs a dime.  But, everything has a mommy payoff.  For each room I have added I have just earned at least 15 minutes of mommy time.  See?  Mommy payoff.  We have the library complete with puzzles, games and comfy furniture.  We have the fort within a fort complete with nerf guns (oh cool your jets anti gun people.  I got 3 the handbook page one says..."must have a full supply of guns and ammo".  Don't believe me?  Have 3 boys).  There is the car track area.  The building block area.  The art desk (washable crayons!).  In total 5 rooms or 1 hour and 15 minutes of mommy time!

To begin start by connecting the highest parts of your room to other high parts with sheets.  I usually move their drawers to provide more height.  Closet doors are great surfaces to build off of.  Use heavy objects to secure sheets.  If using drawers, use the actual drawers to close in a sheet.  Attach sheets to other sheets using the clothespins.  Use the rubberbands to secure sheets to bed posts.  Use the tape if all else fails to attach the sheet to walls.  In my pics I used ALL of these methods.  Voila!  Bed Fort Fabuliousness!

The most important part of this fun event is the surprise.  I will guarantee you there may be dome cursing during the assembly.  To prevent damage to your child's ears let them watch a 30 min educational show while you work your magic.  DO NOT LET YOUR KIDS KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING.  Upon completion call your kids to the room.  Have them wait outside and knock on the door.  Open it up with much fanfare and say in your best English accent "good evening.  Welcome to your humble abode.  May I give you a tour?"  Then proceed to crawl with them through the fort and show them every magical nook and cranny. 

The best part of this idea is for one glorious moment your lil angels will look at you as if you hung the moon.  In that moment you will be there Da Vinci.  You will be there Wonder Woman.  In that moment you will be their hero.  These moments make up their memories.  Congratulations!  One of their favorite memories will now star you!

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