Building a fort takes hard work. It may even take a whole summer or two to get it right and some forts are never done! After your son decides on the perfect spot there is usually work to be done clearing the space. For many kids, the benefit and fun is in clearing the area where the fort will be. Remember that a fort project doesn’t have to be a traditional fort. The ‘fort’ may actually be a path as Shari, one of our followers, describes:
“One of my favorite childhood memories – and something my brother and I still talk about 30 years later – was when we cleared a trail through a tree row that ran between two fields on the hill behind our house. This was a project we worked on over the summers for several years. Some days it was just the two of us and other days our two next-door neighbors would join in. We worked hard to clear dense underbrush and cut small tree limbs in order to have a walkable trail that extended from our back yard to the top of the large hill. This project wasn’t about building anything, it was about clearing a special pathway that was “ours.” As we progressed up the hill, we named different sections of the trail after different countries. A thorny section of trail was named “Russia” and a section we thought looked like a jungle was named “Brazil.” Along the way we encountered a number of surprises. In a hollow tree we found several skeletons of tiny animals and realized we had discovered an old owl’s nest. Further up the trail was a half-buried ring of rocks. We knew that Native Americans had once lived on the hill and were sure this had been their campfire. The four of us soon realized we needed a code name for our trail. We couldn’t call it “The T” because that would be too obvious, being the first letter of “trail.” So we decided to use the last letter of the word and called it “The L.” The four of us now live far away from each other but were together for a rare reunion recently and began reminiscing about our childhood days. When my brother mentioned “The L” we all knew exactly what he was referring to and had just as much fun remembering those days as we had forging our secret trail through the woods three decades ago!
Help your kids plan a fort this summer. Don’t tell him what kind or where to build it, just prompt him and help him open the doors of his imagination. Finally , did you have a fort or special place in nature when you were a child? Tell your kids your story and send him out to create his own : )