The Art of the Fort
Building forts is an art. If you’ve never thought about these invaluable constructs of childhood in such a way, just observe the precision by which kids lay out plans and begin construction of a fort. The fort is more than just a refuge away from the world of adults, it is a broader form a self expression and ingenuity. Like any art, forts require creativity and resourcefulness.
Perhaps the best thing about forts is that they don’t require high end materials and above average building skills. The best forts are often not the most technically advanced, but rather the most versatile in terms of location and materials. Forts built in tall grass from scavenged items, sofas converted into huts, and natural features improvised into hideouts are just a few examples of the wide range of potential for forts.
Fort Art 101
To truly accomplish a great fort building endeavor, you first need to feel the self-empowerment that comes with escaping or retreating into something you’ve built yourself. Even if the escaping is just hiding away in a tent in the backyard, the fort mentality has been achieved. The next step is materials. These can be just about anything that can be used to establish a foundation, walls, and a roof–though not always necessary. Tarps, canvas, wood, metal, and furniture can all be used interchangeably to construct any kind of fort.
Location is also important in fort building. Some forts are best suited to the ground, while others are destined for the trees. There have even been forts made out of old trailers or in underground tunnels. The creativity of the young mind knows no bounds and forts can be installed virtually anywhere in short order. Above ground forts require more precision and materials since they need good structural support and strong foundations. On the ground forts already have the foundation and can be quickly assembled, used, and taken down.
Of course, the practical importance of the fort can’t be overemphasized. Beyond the necessity of a good hideout, fort building inadvertently teaches teamwork, craftsmanship, planning, and creativity. Deep within all of that fun and imaginative play, there are some solid life skills being built. Fort building is truly an art and is one of those things that will live on forever.