Children across all cultures enjoy bringing materials together to create their own special places for play. These child-created spaces are sometimes called Forts, Hideouts, Tree houses or even Dens. Does your child participate in this type of play? Do you allow your child to be creative and create their own sanctuaries?
In these spaces, children can feel a sense of fulfillment and wonder. In the real world, things are confusing for children. They are the new people, trying to figure out how things go. When they can make their own places, it can create feelings of safety and feelings of belonging. The more time spent creating these spaces cultivates confidence in children- they figured it out! Building these spaces allows children to develop skills in several developmental domains: problem solving, mathematics, motor skills, and science. The level of development can also become more complex by building outdoors or with other children.
We want to encourage families to give your child some fort building time and materials. The more open-ended materials can be, the more they can be used AND the more the child can use their imagination to give these things purpose. Some examples of materials for den building might be old sheets or curtains, scrap wood, cardboard boxes, large pillows or cushions, old canoes, rope and cordage. If you work together, let your child lead; let them decide how things could go. Children’s innovation can be a powerful tool.