This is one of those art projects for kids that has been on my to do list for a long time. I saw this play space on one of my favorite blogs The Artful Parent and new I wanted to try my own take. Then I was talking to a friend at work who said he used to build art forts from foam core for his kids all the time when they were young. I loved the idea so we gave it a try this summer and it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Art forts are awesome because they are never really done. You can keep on working on them over and over. Now that’s my kind of project. Here’s what we did (and what we keep on doing.)
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foam core, duct tape, box cutter, art supplies of your choice (markers, crayons, paints, sharpies, stamps, collage materials, anything goes)
First, I picked up some huge foam core boards at Trash for Teaching. If you live in LA, I highly recommend you check this place out. It’s a bit of a shlep but on Sundays they have family making days that are super worth the drive. If you don’t live in LA, you can find foam core at most local craft stores. For an art fort, I recommend the bigger the better. You’ll need four pieces for a basic box shape like we made but feel free to get creative. I love a box shape for this because I can fold it up and store it easily in the backyard and bring it out whenever the mood strikes. If you live in a cold environment, you can also do this inside and put down a tarp underneath.
Once you have your foam core you will need to tape three sides together with duct tape. I did it by laying two pieces down on the ground and taping them together along the edge, and then I added the third board and did the same. Then, I added the fourth board and did the same. You will then be able to stand them up and create a diamond or box shape. I didn’t tape the first board to the fourth board because I wanted to be able to fold it up easily. Also, it’s nice to give the kids an easy out.
Once all three edges are taped together you can cut doors or windows anywhere you’d like with a box cutter. Kids love the doors. I cut out two rectangular shapes on either side of the art fort and then taped the door back in with duct tape so it could swing open and close.
That’s how you make the fort. You can put a tarp under it and on top of it as a ceiling. My kids love having a place to crawl into. I bought my tarps at Target one season. They are flannel on one side and waterproof on the other like this tarp you can purchase online. From there I just give the kids all kinds of different art supplies and let them do their own thing. What I love about this project is that it keeps evolving. We started with sharpies, then went to paint and now we’re back with markers. At some point I am going to have the kids glue stuff on it. They are just happy to be playing, regardless of the materials, and have this little space to do what they want with.
An art fort is especially great for play dates. My kids have seen it before but whenever we have friends over it becomes exciting again, especially dressed in tutus and Elsa costumes. Oh, and don’t forget to have ice pops after the important art work is done : )
If you are looking for more art play date activities, try this post and this post. Happy playing. Have a great weekend everyone.
Ok, perhaps a stupid question, but you say you fold it for storage and bring out again – so you’re not removing any artwork they’ve done, just letting them add to it each time, right? I was thinking of using the corrugated plastic that the little yard signs are made out of, thinking it could be easily rinsed and started anew, but after reading they resist water (duh), wondering if paint or other washable inks would even stick to it…