Whether it's a rainy day or you’re snowed in, being cooped up indoors has its benefits — catching up on your favorite TV show, trying a new recipe or curling up with a good book can make a day inside feel like a luxury. All of this sounds ideal until your kids start whining "I'm bored" after being inside all day.
It can be hard to keep everyone entertained and screen time and coloring books can only be fun for so long. However, the right indoor activities can make staying at home a blast — start with building your own epic pillow fort! All you have to do is hunt down a few sheets, pillows and supportive furniture for you and your family to have fun for hours on end.
When it comes to constructing forts, the possibilities are endless. If you’re in need of some inspiration, check out some of these different fort ideas to get you started on your pillow fort assembly.
The tunnel fort is the simplest of fort types as it only takes a couch, a sheet and some pillows to make it work. Simply drape one end of the sheet over the back of the couch and secure the other side on the floor with something weighty like books. A tunnel fort is smaller than others so only kids can fit in here, which makes it the perfect hideout away from all of the grownups!
Supplies you’ll need:
Best For: Creating a secret hideaway for your child to color, read or play their favorite video game.
The camping tent fort is a classic style that brings the sensation of the outdoors inside your home. The tent shape gives the feeling of camping right in your own living room, which is perfect for those who want to feel like they are on an adventure in the wilderness.
Supplies you’ll need:
Best For: An indoor camping adventure or a movie night topped with snacks and hot cocoa.
The house fort is sturdy, roomy and easy to construct. The sheets cover all sides of the table, making the underneath a cozy little sanctuary. Since this fort is more spacious, you have lots of room to decorate and engage in different activities and adventures.
Supplies you’ll need:
Best For: Creating your child’s own little oasis to decorate, cozy up and hang out with friends or siblings.
The castle fort is the grandest of all the different types of pillow forts — fit for any prince or princess. A castle fort requires more room and supplies but leaves plenty of space for all sorts of activities with friends, pets or siblings. To complete the castle appearance, create a tower by using a coat stand to hold the sheet up in the center.
Supplies you’ll need:
Best For: Sleepovers with all of your child’s besties to share secrets, play games and make memories.
Now that you’ve got the ultimate pillow fort in mind, check out these simple steps to assemble your own pillow fort using everyday household items.
The first step to build any pillow fort is to pick the perfect location. You’ll want enough space to make the fort you choose to build big enough for everyone. Not only that, but you’ll want to incorporate different factors like entertainment and design.
If you plan to watch a movie, make your fort near the TV or incorporate it within your structure. If you want lots of natural light, construct your fort near a window — perfect for forts that act as observatories or watchtowers.
No matter which fort you decide to build, you’ll need some furniture to support it. The furniture becomes the sturdy pillars that hold the fort together. Whether it's a couch, some chairs or a table, this is where you can get creative and construct your fort to be exactly how you want it.
Now that you have your location and furniture set up, it's time to build the roof. It’s best practice to use a light sheet for the roof because it can support its own weight the easiest. Throw a large, airy sheet over your furniture supports and secure it with clothes pins or rope. If you’d like, you can layer sheets to make the roof more substantial.
Next, you must identify what you will use as ballast weight. This could be a stack of books, shoes or other pieces of furniture. The ballast weights keep the sheet secured to the floor so the inside of your fort can’t be exposed.
Once the roof is on, your fort will most likely have a few holes and openings that you’ll want to fill in. You can fill these gaps with numerous items around your home like pillows, blankets, additional sheets or even couch cushions. While pillows are sturdier, sheets cover more surface area, so be mindful not to use up all of your pillows for the walls.
Now that you’ve successfully constructed your pillow fort, it's time to let your child’s imagination run wild and make it completely their own. The inside of the fort is their own little retreat, so don’t let them be afraid to get creative with it.
You could start with making it a comfortable retreat by using the remaining pillows and blankets to make a comfy floor or lounging area. String some lights or crack some glow sticks to make the little hideaway cozy and fun. Don’t forget to have them claim their fortress using this printable sign that can be cut out and hung on the entrance.
Now that your pillow fort is completed, try some of these fun fort activities to break in your new little retreat.
One of the best activities you can do in your pillow fort is breaking out the games. Depending on where you assembled your fort, you could set up a gaming console and play some video games or play some app games on a handheld device. Classic board games like Monopoly, Battleship and Scrabble are also a great option and can keep the kids entertained for hours.
Use your newly constructed fort as a venue to host a lavish tea party. Make this an excuse to dress up and make some finger sandwiches and cookies to go along with a fresh pot of tea. Have your child send out these printable invitations to their friends and family members to invite them to their tea party along with these matching tea and snack tags.
If you’re looking for a relaxing activity to do in the pillow fort, try having your child read something they enjoy. Hide away with a good book or comic that will transport them to a different place. Audiobooks work just as well and are even better if you opt for a fort that's dark and mysterious.
Turn your pillow fort into the ultimate crafting station where your child can let their imagination and creativity run wild. Try coloring or drawing pieces of art to hang on the fridge or a crafting activity like these free printable puppy and unicorn masks that can be cut out and worn!
Hiding away in your pillow fort is the perfect opportunity to start journaling. Your fort can give your child the quiet space needed to write down what’s on their mind. Whether they want to write down their feelings, goals for the future or you have a great idea for a plot of a new story, a pillow fort is a safe space to get it all out on paper.
Pop some popcorn and get your favorite snacks ready for the ultimate movie marathon in your pillow fort. If you set up camp near a TV or incorporated it into your pillow fort, this is the perfect activity that’s simple yet very entertaining. You could also set up a projector inside your fort to shine on a blank wall — creating your own private movie theatre.
Transform your little fortress into a luxurious spa retreat. Break out the nail polish and some cucumber slices for a day of pampering and relaxation. If your kids decide to paint their nails, make sure your fort has enough ventilation, as the fumes from the polish and remover could get intense.
A pillow fort is a great place to do homework and get some studying done in a quiet and cozy environment. Make sure you have enough light so your child can complete their work and that they have enough space to keep organized. Attending Zoom classes and meetings is also a great way to utilize the fort as their own learning space.
After putting in the work of building your fort, there’s nothing like using your new cozy retreat for a well-deserved nap. Pile the floor with pillows, cushions and blankets and use a dark sheet for your roof to filter out any unwanted light for the ultimate nap space.
Your fort is anything your child wants it to be — a kingdom in a faraway land, a secret cave in the middle of a forbidden forest or a pirate ship sailing off to find the lost treasure. The whole point is for your kids to explore their imagination and have fun. To help create the ambiance they’re looking for, check out these free printables to decorate their fortress and transform their fun new space.
A pillow fort is supposed to be a space where you and your kids can spend quality time and have a lot of fun. It helps the imagination run wild and will keep everyone entertained for hours. Whether you're building one because you're cooped up in the apartment or you’re looking for a fun activity to do at an upcoming slumber party, get creative and have fun!