For years, parents with bored children have turned to blanket forts as a way to encourage imaginative play and keep kids busy on rainy days. Make blanket forts even more entertaining by using a camping or sleepover theme.
How to Make a Blanket Fort
There are many ways to make a blanket fort using basic materials. Gather several king- or queen-size sheets, blankets and a few towels. By far the easiest type of blanket fort is made by placing a king- or queen-size blanket or sheet over a kitchen or dining room table. Extra room can be added by turning the chairs with their backs to the table.
Another easy blanket fort is created on bunk beds by hanging a blanket from the top bunk. Tuck a blanket under the top mattress to anchor the blanket and add a towel or other small blanket on the short side of the bed.
Safety Rules for Blanket Forts
When making a blanket fort there are some safety issues to consider to keep the blanket fort a safe place to play.
- Never extend a blanket fort to a dresser that is not anchored to the wall as the dresser could tip over.
- Never anchor blankets in dresser drawers as the drawers could pull out of the dresser.
- When extending a blanket fort with chairs, place two chairs back to back to make them less likely to tip over.
- When possible, secure blankets with safety pins instead of using heavy objects to anchor them.
- Use care when anchoring the blankets with heavy objects.
- Never allow children who are too young to eat unsupervised to have snacks in the fort without supervision.
- Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights instead of candles when having a blanket fort campout.
Create a Blanket Fort Camping Theme
Once the blanket fort is set up, add camping items to set the camping theme. Add sleeping bags, a battery-powered lantern or flashlights, animal or bird field guides, children’s binoculars and toy fishing poles. These items can be things on hand or extend play with a few craft projects along the camping theme.
Children can create their own pretend fishing poles by taping string to sticks. Create a few fish out of construction paper and let the campers “go fishing.” Pretend binoculars can be made by taping toilet paper tubes together or cutting a paper towel roll in half and taping together. Kids can make their own field guides with crayons and construction paper or they can create a pretend journal of the animals and birds they see while they are camping.
Serve camping-theme foods like hot dogs and marshmallows or make some microwave s’mores with this easy microwave s’mores recipe. Break a graham cracker in half, top with a large marshmallow and place in the microwave on high for 12 to 14 seconds or until the marshmallow expands. Spread hot fudge sauce on the other half of the graham cracker and place on top of melting marshmallow. Cool completely and serve.
Create a Blanket Fort Slumber Party
What could be better on a rainy afternoon then having a blanket fort sleepover, pajama party or slumber party? Set the theme by adding blankets and pillows inside the blanket fort. Have all slumber party participants get into their pajamas and turn off the lights or pull down the shades. Equip kids with flashlights, books or a portable DVD player and encourage them to tell stories or read by the light of the flashlights. Have an adult climb inside the fort and paint all the girls’ fingernails or toenails.
In keeping with the slumber party theme, order pizza or make mini-pizzas. To make mini-pizzas, spread jarred pizza sauce or tomato sauce on English muffins. Add toppings and cheese and bake for about 15 minutes on 375 degrees. Serve popcorn to children 4 and older and watch a video. Keep in mind popcorn is a choking hazard for children younger than 4, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Making a blanket fort can be a fun way for children to spend a rainy day. Encourage imaginative play with a camping or sleepover theme. Add theme foods and activities to fit with the blanket fort theme. Be sure to follow safety guidelines in order for everyone to have a safe and fun time inside the blanket fort. For more rainy day activities, try making paper masks or salt dough to keep kids busy.