Build Epic Indoor Pillow Forts for Imaginative Play Dates with Your Grandkids

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Have you noticed that being a grandma is the equivalent of childhood 2.0? We wear dress-ups, have tea parties, go on post-rain worm hunts, and build Legos! (It’s a tough gig, but someone has to do it!) Like our grands, grandmas get to both use and stretch our imaginations to have fun and keep up, which is why I am always dreaming up new things to do when the grandkids visit.

Today, that something is building a fort!

Not only are forts fun to make and play in, but they also come with a slew of other benefits, including: 

Benefits of Imaginative Play for Children

Little girl in a blanket fort
  1. Cognitive Development: Imaginative play allows children to develop their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, where they learn to experiment, form hypotheses, and draw conclusions.
  2. Social Skills: Imaginative play often involves social interactions which help children understand roles, norms, and values in society. By doing this, they learn to take turns, share responsibilities, and empathize with others.
  3. Language Skills: As children play pretend, they often practice their communication skills, learning new vocabulary, storytelling, and conversation techniques.
  4. Emotional Development: Imaginative play lets children explore different feelings and emotions in a safe environment, which can help them deal with their own emotions better.
  5. Creativity: Imagination and creativity go hand-in-hand. The more a child engages in imaginative play, the more they stimulate their creative thinking!
  6. Physical Development: Often, imaginative play also involves physical activity, contributing to a child’s motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Instructions for Building Pillow Forts

Little boy doing homework in a homemade fort

Classic Pillow Fort

  1. Choose a spot. Ideally, pick an area with a couch or chairs for structural support.
  2. Lay a heavy blanket over your structure to form the base.
  3. Arrange large pillows along the edges of the blanket to support the walls.
  4. Prop another blanket on top of the pillows to form the roof. You can also use chairs for added height.
  5. Arrange smaller pillows and blankets inside for comfort.

Two-chair Tunnel Fort

  1. Find two sturdy chairs.
  2. Place them back to back, leaving a space in between for the tunnel.
  3. Drape a long, heavy blanket over the two chairs, ensuring that it reaches the floor on both sides.
  4. Secure the blanket with heavy books or objects on the chairs.
  5. Fill the tunnel with pillows and blankets for comfort.

Table-based Fort

  1. Find a large table with ample space beneath.
  2. Drape large blankets or sheets over the table, reaching down to the floor to create the walls.
  3. Make sure to leave an opening for entry and exit.
  4. Arrange pillows, cushions, and cozy blankets inside.

Themed Forts and Accompanying Activities

Friends in a blanket fort

Space Station Fort: Make your fort feel like a space station by hanging glow-in-the-dark stars on the inside. You can also use flashlights for a stargazing activity. Encourage your child to create an alien language or imagine various space missions.

Underwater Fortress: Decorate your fort with blue sheets and stuffed sea animals to give it an underwater feel. You could read stories about marine life, draw pictures of various sea creatures, or watch documentaries on marine biology.

Jungle Safari Fort: Use green blankets and place stuffed jungle animals around. You can play jungle sounds to enhance the ambiance. Kids can pretend to be explorers or animal researchers, making notes on the different species they “encounter.”

Medieval Castle: Build a grand fort and proclaim it as a castle. Children can pretend to be kings, queens, knights, or wizards. Create a story about a royal family, organize a knighting ceremony or a royal feast.

Movie Theater Fort: Create a cozy viewing area inside the fort. Provide popcorn and watch your child’s favorite movie. For added fun, they could make tickets and pretend to be ushers.


Obuby Kids Fort Building Kit Construction STEM Toys

For a fun STEM approach to building a fort, this construction kit is the way to go! (Another bonus? Your grandkids can build anything they want to with this ingenious set!)

Blanket Fort Building Kit for Kids

Why do I love this blanket fort set? My grandkids and I don’t have to raid the linen closets, as three blankets (and all the other tools we need) are already included.

The Original AIR FORT Build A Fort in 30 Seconds

No time (or patience) to build a fort? This one builds itself 🙂


Do you have a million ideas and fort designs running through your mind? Me, too! Have fun with it, Grandma – I hope you enjoy your childhood 2.0 as much as your grandchild enjoys their first go-around.

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