Making Forts Builds Brains

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Father and son playing with cars in a blanket fort at night

When some people think of making forts, they may think of it as a simple rite of passage in their childhood. It was fun and exciting to build your special space in your home. To a child, this is a place they can imagine anything in the world. They imagine it being Batman’s dark cave or their own little tent camping out freely in the wilderness. But there are so many brain-building moments that take place when kids decided to build their own little safe space.

It is a proven fact that children learn best when they are playing. It is the best way that children make sense of the world around them. Play-based learning helps keep children engaged, seeking information, and learning how to problem-solve. Different parts of the brain are engaged problem solving and can make critical connections that are stronger.

Making a fort exercises an important skill of creativity and problem-solving. These are essential life skills. When thinking of how or what type of fort to make, they are provided the opportunity to try out different ideas and see what does and doesn’t work. They problem solve and come up with solutions when their fort doesn’t go the way that they expected. And when they fail, they learn to try again.

This activity is also a great way for children to learn how to manage their emotions. Identifying emotions and learning how to respond to them is a skill that even adults have problems learning. When children make a fort, they may get frustrated cause it didn’t come out the way that they wanted. Learning to take a deep breath, step away, and come back to their project to try again is an essential skill that they will be able to apply throughout their life.

Once their fort is completed, the brain magic continues to happen. There is something about this small safe place that helps children regulate their bodies and their emotions. Many times, it provides a physical comfort just being tucked away in their special place. It is a place for them to escape any outside worries they may have.

Encourage the fort making! It is a great experience that fully engages all parts of the brain. The next time your little ones begin to make their fort, encourage it wholeheartedly, and watch the brain building magic happen.