The excitement, the joy, the fun, and of course, the day(s) off school! What child doesn’t look forward to those big white flakes? And parents? Well, we are a mixed bag. Every parent I have talked to seems to either love or hate the snow for a wide variety of reasons. It can be great fun, and exhausting too!
No matter your child’s age, those snow days when everyone is stuck inside can be rough at times.
When the cold bites, it is time to spend time indoors. Books, toys, TV, tablet, crafts, games, long baths, coloring and workbooks are all great, but what about something new? And who wants to spend all day cleaning up after all of the mess of the snow? Cleaning is actually the way in which our family discovered: the fort.
My story: I hated cleaning up those boxes. We tend to order a lot of things online. Whenever we emptied the large boxes, they would inevitably end up in the living room. Before we realized what allure an empty box contained, we were leaving them by the back door to be brought down to the recycling bin. When our daughter was one or two she kept dragging them around, crawling in them, eventually bringing her toys into them and making a kind of fort out of them. I kept cleaning up and getting that box out of there, finally putting them on the back porch. One day she saw that I had put a big box out there and it was BEYOND HER REACH. Oh, the yelling she did. For a BOX. It turned out that the absolute, hands-down, most fun my daughter had indoors was playing in a box. Then one day I wondered what it was about the fort that was so appealing to her. Being curious, I googled forts. Oh my! Who knew (not me) that fort building was such an intrinsic quality in all children. Something innate, and universal!
There are so many ways to go about building a fort, so I will include a couple of links and share our own experience. My husband took a large cardboard box, cut a side opening and sometimes other additions like wings or gave it a shape like a rocket. Other times we just left a box out and let her go at it. Our then 1-2 year old pulled whatever toys she chose into it, sometimes a blanket and pillows, or stuffed animals, or things to color. It depended on her mood. Once she just turned it upside down and hid in it for a while. We have used blankets to cover or decorate it, or to link it to the sofa. Honestly, my child is more creative than me and figured it out on her own. I now see cardboard boxes you can purchase that are made to be colored and have shapes printed on them. They look really cute, but we preferred for the box to be plain and she could draw on it if she wanted, inside or out.
FYI, here is a basic “how to build a fort” kind of page: How to Build a Fort. Another mom wrote about making forts for her son with ADD on the following site: The Importance of Kid’s Fort Building.
By the way, my daughter is now 5… and still loves a good box!