Fort building is an activity most children enjoy– who wouldn’t love the opportunity to be the architect of their own space? It’s also an incredible way to promote children’s creativity, imagination, persistence, and STEAM skills.

Why is this a STEAM activity?

Science: children need to navigate the physical properties of a variety of materials to make their fort. Will the fabric keep its shape when draped over sticks, or will it fold in ways the children didn’t anticipate? Will rubber bands be strong enough to hold the sticks together, or will they need to use yarn or glue?

Technology: Older children can use rulers, measuring tape, levels, and more tools to help them plan and execute their forts.

Engineering: Structural engineers need to take into account the materials they’re working with when designing structures for an intended purpose. These young engineers will learn the foundational problem-solving skills when the plan and test their designs.

Art: A sense of aesthetics is crucial in fort design! Children can select their color scheme and decor as they assemble.

Math: Geometry is key here, as children figure out how large a space they need to fit the people they would like inside, and measure their sticks and cloth accordingly.

Building outdoor fabric forts promotes play can help children develop problem-solving skills that will help them later in life. Fabric forts don’t always work out the way kids want them to! They teach children to find new and better ways to achieve the result they want.

How can you get started? Depending on the ages of the children involved, this activity may use: blankets, tablecloths, sticks, lengths of PVC pipe, yarn, glue, paper, rubber bands, and all kinds of other “stuff” that you have on hand!