Beginner Nature Forts

Fall is a great time to introduce building beginner forts. Parks, streets, or forests are just full of natural debris that you can collect and use to build various things that suit a child's imagination. Lately, when the kids and I go to local parks nearby we have been examining the various debris on the ground such as fallen leaves, sticks, pine cones, branches, etc. One day we decided to gather all the things we could find to use for building and put them in a big pile near a large tree. We then began to use the items to try and build a small fort of some sort. It took some thought on Ameera's part at first trying to figure out how she was going to turn a pile of leaves and twigs into anything at all, but with some guidance from me she eventually got the hang of it, and began using the twigs and branches to form a small foundation.

Some of the branches were long and kind of resembled rope, so they were easy to twist, turn and mold into various shapes. With these she was able to form the shape of a hobbit sized door. The shorter, stronger branches she would use to hold the structure in place.

 She then used small twigs and branches to lay over the any holes, then used the dead leaves to cover the fort. Overall it was a small structure, but just the sheer thought process and energy that went into making something out of natural materials I feel is valuable in getting children to think outside of the box, and to build their creativity and imagination.

The following week we were at the park again and she asked if we could build something else. And this time, without much help from me collected materials on her own and began to make her own fort.