In the song Puff the Magic Dragon, Puff slinks into his cave where he feels safe, so for today’s play, how about blanket forts for kids and dragons? Note the box of colored paper is the fire.
Another word for blanket fort is GORF, short for good ol’ reliable fort. Making one isn’t hard, although it can take a long time. That’s a big part of the fun. There are some super easy blanket forts. One of the fastest is to spread a big tablecloth, sheet, or blanket over a table and let the sides hang down to the floor. Four chairs also work. Put 2 chairs in a row and leave some space in between them. Place 2 other chairs back-to-back to the first ones and move them a couple of feet away. Drape a blanket over the backs of the chairs. An ironing board can also be recruited but it doesn’t make a very big one unless it’s used with something else. The infographic below shows how to make one from the cushions on the sofa. Really, kids will use anything, even a big cardboard box.
Once kids have a fort then comes the next stage, that of rounding up stuff from all over the house to put in it. What might a dragon need in a fort? Pillows, more blankets, some stuffies, a stack of books, an assortment of plastic dishes, containers for cooking, and whatever else appeals at the moment. While this can and often does create a mess, it’s limited to one area, so it’s not so bad.
Why blanket forts for kids? Well, like the dragon, a fort or cave is a child’s own space. Kids make up the rules for what happens inside. They control and direct the play. Taking on the world is overwhelming for kids, but a small space within the boundaries of the fort limits uncertainty. At the same time, the space inside the fort is unlimited, in terms of imagination. It can be anywhere at any time. Kids can be anything or anyone they choose. Maybe even a dragon?