Summer time and the livin’ mostly happens outside. So does a lot of fun and learning for kids. Recently, dozens of articles are being shared about the importance of outside play and here is another idea to do that: blanket forts or GORFs, good ol’ reliable forts.
Depending on the weather, GORF’s are great fun outside. They appeal to kids because a fort gives them a place of their own. Inside a GORF the kids make the rules and decide what happens. We don’t think of making decisions as being a skill, but kids need lots of opportunities to make them and experience the outcomes so that they learn how to make good decisions. For instance, it’s a bad choice to push on the walls of the fort because it collapses. Squishing into the space is a better choice. It’s a bad choice to fill the fort too full of stuff because there there’s no room to play inside. But kids need to learn what happens from their decisions.
Forts feel like safe spaces for kids. Because it’s such a small space, kids feel more in control. They also learn that it is okay to fail. Each time a fort collapses, that is a fail. Or is it? It’s easy to deal with by building it back up again. That’s a great lesson for life! Inside, the fort can be quite magical, as kids can imagine it is anywhere and pretend to be and do what they want.
GORF’s are easy to create with some old blankets or sheets. A blanket can be draped across a rope between two trees, or over a clothesline or stand. Lawn furniture can be used, as long as it is heavy enough so it doesn’t tip over. A big sheet will often cover a table and have enough extra fabric for the sides. GORFs are even a great place for a nap when kids are tired out from all the fun and learning. For an outside play-of-the-day, how about a blanket fort or GORF?