Why building forts is so important for children:
When a child is building a design from their own invention they have a chance to decide for themselves what may work, what they like to build, or in what direction they would like to build next. They will think inventively about which type of stick they may like to add next, curved or straight? Long or short? Or what type of connector they would like to choose. Children will naturally need and want to create their own special places: it's a fundamental experience of childhood that crosses age, gender time and culture. And as parents, we need to give them this opportunity to build and create secure hideaways they can be proud of.
Over the weekend we held a fort building play challenge, in lieu of our rained out Pop Up Playdate. We received many submissions and were amazed at the how much excitement was created, not only from children but from the parents as well. I think they were equally thrilled to be given the opportunity to ignore the usual daily chores and instead share in this special task with their children. We love all the stories and photos that were shared with us so much that we thought we could extend this "hot topic" of fort building into a blog post. Here's a few of the many creations that were built during our Weekend Play Challenge as well as the many reason that all children need the opportunity to build a fort...
The Social and emotional growth that occurs during fort-building is a key part of children's healthy development.
Fort-building invites narrative and creative planning and is a great forum for three key areas of play: exploration, construction, and pretend play.
Fort-building allows children to define their own parameters for success.
Through fort-building children create their own special places and imagine a world beyond what adults can see, do or build.
Fort-building is nostalgic for caregivers: it taps into their childhood memories and experiences.
Children are given permission to be exploratory, totally unique and sometimes even “wrong”. These types of perspectives and challenges present wonderful learning opportunities for children.
After our Weekend Play Challenge, our Playground staff were inspired and found ourselves in a "water cooler" type office conversation about the awesome memories we all had as children when we were able to create forts and secret hideaways and the importance of giving that same opportunity to our children today. So let us share... we asked the Peekaboo Beans Playground Staff this: Pulling from your own childhood experiences, tell us why you think it's so important for children to experience fort building?
And here's what we had to say:
It gives kids a chance to use creativity and logic in the same fun environment. They get a chance to use problem solving skills to make something they can be proud of.
What if the boogie man was chasing them... they would need somewhere to hide!
Forts are about discovery and questioning the hows and whys. They allow the imagination to go wild.
To work together. To think about logistics of building. The feeling of accomplishments. How doing something may or may not work
To enable them to create their own space where they can us their imaginations.
Imaginations soar. Ideas come to fruition. Teamwork, to create. Delight and satisfaction in a finished product. Forts are magical places where you can be anything you want.
To have a place of refuge where they can feel safe for quiet time. And for planning skills: how to source the right materials, put it together, communicate with others on how to execute.
For the sense of adventure, to feel like a pirate or a princess.
Forts were a place I could just be myself and not have to worry about anything else for a while. Maybe that's why forts are still fun for adults!
Carole, our lovely Grandma Bean
So that Grandpa's can play. This is where Colbie has bonded with her Ga-ga... through building forts.
So, it's pretty obvious to all of us parents that fort building is an important and fun task that our kids must complete. But shhhh... don't let them know that while they are doing it, having fun and creating all these amazing memories, that they are actually learning very important lifelong skills!! Let's just keep that on the down low.
Happy fort building!!
Peekaboo Beans is on a mission to bring free unstructed play back into the lives of our children. Join us and find out more about our Play Revolution HERE