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I grew up in a technologically dark yet neon lit time known as the ‘80s. There were no streaming services, phones were chained to walls and Facetime involved looking at someone’s actual, physical and in-person face. Instead of relying on Netflix or PlayStation for entertainment, we had to make our own unstructured fun by ourselves. Fun required imagination, creativity, a slew of comfy couch cushions and free reign over the linen closet. That's right — this was the golden age of the play fort.
With just a few king-sized sheets here and two arms full of couch cushions there, we could construct an elaborate fort complete with a kitchen, parlor and garage. I’m not saying we were any match for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but they probably would’ve been pretty impressed with what we came up with.
Forts may look like a few pieces of fabric draped over mounds of stuff, but really they are the blueprints of some pretty important life skills. In one afternoon we had utilized important components of STEM, honed our teamwork talents, harnessed the power of our imaginations, fine-tuned our decision-making abilities and identified ways to work through obstacles and frustrations.
Times may have changed, but the fun and the benefits of this indoor playtime classic remain the same. Here are some fort-tastic options to help your kid build the coolest fort in the living room.
Best kids indoor forts, according to shoppers
Don’t want your kids to dismantle your couch? Give them a couch of their own! The Nugget couch comes with four foam and machine-washable pieces and is available in a slew of vibrant colors.
Made with love out of Greenfield, IN, Foamnasium has a plethora of foam and vinyl options to inspire imaginative and active play. The Foamnasium Pillar Builders includes four vinyl and easy to clean/disinfect pillars and one base, features non-skid ends and is available in nine fun colors. Plus, a portion of each purchase benefits Mwana Villages, an organization which provides refuge within orphanhood to vulnerable children and families.
Allow your child’s curiosity to catch fire with this fun and imaginative play tent. It's not only a great starter fort for little kids who have more imagination than motor skills, but it's roomy enough for multiple children and fun enough for one.
There are few things more devastating than putting the finishing touches on your fort mansion, only to watch in horror as a sheet falls to the ground. Avoid destruction and tears with these easy-to-use wooden play clips. Available in packages of one, two and four, the fort and the fun are never-ending with these child-friendly clips.
Who’s ready for 150 square feet of fort fun? Everyone! This thoughtful fort kit comes with everything your child needs to build a fort in the living room, in their bedroom or underneath the dining room table. The fort kit includes six colorful fort blankets made with kid-friendly breathable fabric. Plus, each blanket features velcro straps and patches, perfect for easy construction and demolition.
If every good fort needs a solid foundation, 40 sturdy and colorful cardboard boxes should do the trick! Lightweight and easy for kids to carry, these blocks will provide hours of supported and imaginative play.
For out-of-this-world fort fun, look no further. This fort is less about construction and all about imagination. With just a standard box fan, your child’s UFO AirFort will inflate in 30 seconds. A hit for an afternoon playdate or a slumber party, this fort is ready for takeoff!
If your child has always wanted their own life-size log cabin, then their dreams are about to come true. This 32-piece kit includes faux wood panels, velcro connectors and building clips for two-story fort builds. As an added bonus, this kit also cleans and organizes itself. Just take six of the faux panels and — wham! — a storage cube! Good for outdoor and indoor fort building fun, this option's designed for kids ages 4 and up.
Let your child’s imagination and skills run wild with this limitless fort kit. Winner of nine educational STEM toy awards, this kit allows for boundless creativity and designs. Build a car, a submarine, a rocket, a horse and carriage and much, much more! With 354 fort-ifying pieces, this kit is great for hours of fun for kids ages 6 ½ and up.
These forts don’t just grow — they glow! This indoor and outdoor fort building kit includes 49 glow-in-the-dark jumbo poles and 28 connecting balls. Your child can build, climb through and revel in their masterpiece with this daytime to nighttime fort kit. P.S. It's recommended for ages 5 and up.
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