Tuesday, November 24, 2015

cardboard forts are recyclable, remake-able, remarkable FUN!

in a certain sense, we are still on a fort hunt. that is, there's no permanent fort happening at the not-so-new house like there was at the old house (which, these days, is only a playhouse for mildewing leaves and creeping morning glory).

i take that back. if you count the hard plastic house variety, we do have a permanent fort. my fellow blogging mommy gave us their cast-off "log" house (score!). Sweet One has dubbed it her and sister's Little House in the Big City since we've been reading through the Little House books. 


it also has been a fine Blueberry Cafe Drive-Thru, and a trial area for their decorating aesthetics that lean heavily toward floral accents.

but what i've discovered is that my girls' imaginations, for whatever reason, come most alive with indoor forts. and in that arena, our greatest success has been in the temporary fort.

we still occasionally do bedsheet forts in entire rooms.

a pop-up tunnel and square addition often make for handy escape routes and secret passageways for the sneaky Strawberry Pirates.



a large dining table and huge quilts make for quite an excellent cave (especially since we never seem to actually eat in the dining room anyway). LED candles help provide a "fire" for the giggly cave-dwellers.

there's a little nook under my computer station beside a metal filing cabinet that's perfect for magnet play.

but our most fun efforts so far have been with that Toy Hall of Fame fave: the cardboard box.

we turned a large safe box into a cardboard house, complete with sloping roof, door, and mail slot.



(i sent them a welcoming note.)



and then there was my mommy genius moment -- cardboard bed forts. 

we recently bought a new modular couch set. we figured we'd let the girls play with the giant boxes before collapsing them down for recycling. but they were gigantic and taking up way too much space. after eyeing them for a bit, a light bulb went off. they were exactly the width of a twin mattress. 

and the bed fort was born.



i slipped the mattress into the box to hold it in place. Small One wanted to be able to close the "door" flap on hers. for Sweet One, we taped the box so it would stay open, but dangled a sheet over that she could use to close herself up. they decorated and re-decorated with markers and glow-in-the dark stars. it made bed time something to look forward to! Small One named her bed fort her "AlonE SlEEPy" place.



then they got tired and bored one day and proceeded to rip them apart. 

but, hey, that's ok... the recycling bin is where the boxes were destined to go anyway. free fun, and no hard feelings when the toy finally "broke"... well, ok, maybe i felt a twinge of sadness for seeing my awesome idea finally meet its end.

now i'm wondering when we'll see another big cardboard box, and what fort idea it may bring next time...

beyond the fun and pre-engineering skills it brings, i am liking the temporary fort approach for purely mommy reasons too. namely, being content with the simple in the midst of a very busy time in life. 

i love giving my girls imaginative play spaces. when we were looking at buying our current house, part of what drew me were the grand visions in my head of turning the garage attic into a kids' wonderland with twisting tube slide exit... or turning the house attic into a giant playroom with cozy book nook overlooking the Cascade Mountains... clearly, that hasn't happened, and isn't likely too. my imagination often outpaces reality and logistics. ... and they were far-off places. is it really that surprising that my girls' favorite fort places are usually under my feet or only the next room over? i'll miss that desire for nearness when they inevitably hit puberty and seek to make themselves scarce.

those grand attic ideas are still in my head. but the girls are growing up fast. and sometimes dreams are just that -- and that's ok. even as an adult. a cardboard box is a castle, you know.

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