This easy kids fort for the backyard is a super space for kids to play in. It’s really easy and inexpensive to make, and is such a fun base for playing, relaxing and reading. Here’s how to make it, along with some extra ideas to fill it full of play and learning.
Easy kids fort for the backyard
Do your children like to make a fort? My girls love to make dens, inside and out. They really enjoy the construction of them, and also having their own little space, with no grown up allowed! This garden teepee is really easy to put together, so your children can help build, or do it all themselves, and you can easily move it around your garden classroom to new locations if you want.
The fort is made from bamboo canes. These are available from garden centres and online (you can get them on these affiliate links from Amazon US and Amazon UK). Ours were home grown in my parents’ garden. You can get the canes in different lengths, but somewhere around 5-6 feet is about right. We used 11 canes to make our teepee, but you can vary the height and width of your fort to suit the number of children who will be playing in yours.
All you need to do is space out your bamboo canes in a basic circle shape, fairly evenly spaced, with a ‘door’ left at the front. Push the canes down into the ground to anchor the fort. You can build on soil, grass or sand, so you can locate your teepee in a spot that suits your play space.
Tie the tops of the canes together with garden twine or thick string to create the classic teepee shape.
Then use garden twine to create a wall surrounding your den. Knot the string to one for the canes, and then weave it in and out, around the teepee, remembering to leave a space for your door. Once your wall is complete, knot the other end of the string to a cane so it doesn’t all unravel.
Adding the finishing touches
This bamboo teepee is a great way to add some height and structure to your garden, even before the other plants have begun growing.
You can thread on colourful beads and tie on ribbons to make your den look amazing.
You can also grow plants up your teepee; having the fort double up as support for climbing plants, and a fantastic, hidden place to play. Plant a pea or bean seedling at the foot of each cane and let them scramble up the walls of your fort. You can even sit inside and pick you own snacks! Nasturtium and sweetpeas are also great choices to cover your fort frame.
Including added extras
You can boost the play factor of the den by:
:: adding a little carpet and cushions to lounge on
:: including pots and pans and sticks for a pretend campfire
:: providing pen, pencils and our free Garden Journal, for outdoor doodles, sketches and storywriting
Creative ways to use the garden to inspire learning
If your children love playing outdoors, and you’re interested in helping them develop a connection with nature, you will love The Garden Classroom resource. It’s full of ideas for using the garden as a way to inspire learning through math, science, literacy, art and play. Take a look here and you can print off a free Garden Journal for your children to use.