Pick the right books and you can easily inspire and extend the duration and complexity of your childrens’ outdoor play! Alternatively, using your children’s existing play ideas as a springboard to introduce new books to your home or classroom library works a treat too. Either way, fort building is right at the top of the outdoor play fun list for kids who love to imagine – I mean the days of clubhouse rules (No boyz allowed!), secret passwords and hidden journals in an impromptu blanket cubby have to be some of the best memories of a simple childhood, don’t they? So today I have gathered together some tips for inviting your children to get outside and get building with a collection of great books that are perfect for inspiring or extending fort building play.
To create your own secret place in the garden or yard, you will need;
- Blankets, bed sheets and/or beach towels
- Something to hang your fabric from – whether it be a tree, swing set, clothes line, outdoor furniture or children’s play furniture – you can see how my two used this last one recently
- Or BIG cardboard boxes
- Rope or twine is handy
- As are wide tape, clothes pegs and scissors
- Big sticks or bamboo poles work too!
Here’s a fabulous peek at some fort building play that we enjoyed at a Nature Play WA Play Out Day recently. Look closely and you’ll see all sorts of fabulous building in action – there are even some structures made with long sticks!
And if you are looking to connect your outdoor play with literature and reading, check out these great titles;
Books to Inspire Nature Play: Fort Building
Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis: It’s not a stick, it’s a magic wand or a conductor’s baton or a paintbrush, or whatever you imagine it to be!
Audrey’s Treebouse by Jenny Hughes (also known as A House of Her Own): Audrey’s new house is an ideal house. It has a bathtub for snorkeling, a place to drink tea, and somewhere to hide the dirty cups. It’s perfect in every way. Except for one thing!
Maisy Goes Camping by Lucy Cousins: Five in the tent? Maisy and her friends are on a camping adventure but when it comes to bedtime, the fun begins.
Home by Carson Ellis: Tbe place you live can be so many different things and this book explores homes that are both real and mythical.
Clancy and Millie and the Very Fine House by Libby Gleeson: Clancy has just moved house and he is missing his old house terribly but with the help of his a friend, Millie, Clancy builds towers to the sky and finally feels at home once again.
Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran: Though it looked like nothing but sand and rocks and some old wooden boxes, it was a special place – a sparkling world of jeweled homes, streets edged with the whitest stones, and two ice cream shops, at least in their imaginations.
Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty: Iggy has one passion – building and he will build out of anything! But what will Iggy do when his teacher declares that she doesn’t like architecture!
For older children
From Mud Hut to Skyscrapers by Christine Paxmann: A pictorial journal through the history of architecture.
The Magic Faraway Tree Collection by Enid Blyton: When Jo, Bessie and Fanny move to the country, they discover a magical tree, make new friends and enjoy many, many magical adventures.
The 13 Storey Treehouse series by Andy Griffiths: One of our favourite chapter book series’, Andy and Terry’s 13-storey treehouse is the most amazing treehouse in the world! It’s got a bowling alley, a see-through swimming pool, a tank full of man-eating sharks, a giant catapult, a secret underground laboratory and more! Well, what are you waiting for? Come on up!
Lulu Bell and the Cubby Fort by Belinda Murrell: Lulu and her cousins have a plan to build the best cubby fort ever but they will have to work together to do more than just that when a cow gets stuck in the mud!