How to Build a Fort
How to make a versatile backyard play area, with instructions for parents and kids
Age Range: 6 to 12 years
A backyard fort is the perfect place to let kids' imaginations run wild. They can create a magical world of knights and dragons or pirates and buried treasure—or just a kid-run kingdom. The design of this fort encourages tons of fun, with a super—cool kid-sized hatch—complete with a peephole to check out visitors—and a flag that kids can design and make themselves. There are also two built-in seats so that little warriors—or Mom and Dad can take a breather between make-believe battles. Set aside an afternoon to cut and assemble the parts, and you'll have a playhouse retreat for years to come.
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This fort is made from fencing sections, so most of the cutting and assembly centers around the braces that hold the fence pickets together. The most complicated part of the project is creating the hatch, which requires making new braces to hold together the pickets after they've been cut. These need to be screwed to each picket. The other parts are simple to make. Two corner seats can be cut from a single square of plywood, and the flag is simply a piece of decorated cloth attached to a length of PVC pipe, which you can slide into holes in one corner's brace pieces.
There's a lot kids can do in building this fort. While parents will need to handle most of the heavy lifting, such as carrying the fence sections to the site, kids can help out by measuring, drilling, and holding pieces in place.