Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pin 109

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How to build a great blanket fort.

One of the Rewards for Good Behavior chosen this week was "Build a fort and play in it."  Since this was a reward for being awesome, I wanted the fort to be just as awesome. I turned to my trusted Pinterest to help me out with this.

I wanted a fort with some staying power because little bro has a tendency to destroy forts with a single blow. I also wanted it to be . . . the. . . best. . . . . fort . . . . . EVERRRRR!!!  I wanted it to occupy them for days.

I used some of the strategies in this post to help me do this, but first, I had to clean up the playroom. Here is the shameful BEFORE picture. . .

What kind of mother would let her kids do this??!?!
An hour or so later, I finally started some serious fort building. Yes, an HOUR! I actually sorted all the toys as I put them away, packed baby toys away, and (sshhhh...) threw some junk out! (Yippie!)

My pin helped me in the consideration of creating windows and doors, stocking with toys, blankets, pillows. I had never thought about this before. I was just a toss-a-blanket-over-some-furniture type of fort builder.

Here is the final fort:

I used big binder clips to attach it to the toy shelving unit. The shelves are anchored with a lot of toys and books. See the clips up in the right?

I draped a queen sized sheet over our two small white arm chairs we keep in this room. I wrapped the sheet around the edges of the chairs and binder clipped them together to keep the roof tight. Daddy brought home some fabulously large boxes from work and we used those to provide support, windows, doors, etc. I clipped loose ends to boxes with clothespins to keep them in place.

The sign out side (sitting in the armchair in the pic above)

Hank tried to claim the fort first
 Inside, I used a large box to make an extension of the fort stocked with pillows. Any gaps I filled in with toys or stuffed animals--like the blue giraffe-dinosaur thingy.

One window stocked with action figures, another was stocked with Hotwheels.

Even though he knew this reward was coming, it was still a surprise as I created it after they were asleep one night. In the morning, I sent him to the play room to check it out and he was in love. Both of them were. They played in it all day--and nicely! I was so surprised by the gently sharing going on in there!

I had accidentally left out my pack of clothes pins and within 30 minutes the boys had discovered them. There were pins all around the fort, especially concentrated at the door. This quickly turned into our message system. Using an envelope, pencil, and paper, we communicated this way most of the day. It was a fun way to encourage him to practice his reading and writing. I would write a message requiring a response and clip it to the doorway sheet. He would respond and clip it back. I wrote things like, "Please go brush your teeth," and "What would you like for lunch? (check boxes) Ham sandwich or Pasta salad?" and "Ask your brother if he wants milk or juice and write it here:_______________."  He loved this message system.

There was one scary moment, though. With all the strategically placed boxes, the boys had designated areas of the fort for specific purposes. The one that brought up concern was when I tuned in to "You go in your bathroom and I'll go in mine." At which point, I chose to intervene. No pretending bathroom! For the youngin' who is not ashamed to pee anywhere and has! The last time they were pretending "bathroom" there ended up an empty toy bucket in the playroom with pee in it! I was not cleaning up any of that this time!!

But all good things must end. Midway through day 2 of the fort, a few rambunctious boys making some poor decisions about their behavior brought the victorious fort down. There were tears, oh, so many, many tears. Sobs, and dramatics. We all had a nice quiet rest and after that everything was okay again. As a consolation, I reminded him that the fort was back in the reward envelope and he could choose it again if he wanted.

Total cost: $0

Total time: After cleaning up the room, I think it took about 20 minutes to build the world's coolest fort.

Final verdict: I came from a family of all girls, so CLEARLY, my fort building skills are not up to par. These tips helped me to be world's coolest mom, if only for a day.

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