Monday, April 22, 2013


Last month our family was invited to a birthday party for our friend's three kids.  That's right, a triple birthday party!  When I was thinking about what gift to give each kid, I remembered my friend saying that when they came home from one particular family Christmas this past year, they had to pack the kids in the van first, then pack the gifts in around them.  They had received so much STUFF they could hardly haul it all home!

I knew that getting them more STUFF wasn't a good idea, so I started brainstorming what I could give that wouldn't be a thing.  Then it hit me - Family Fort Night!

We gave them a birthday card the day of the party that promised a family fort night, complete with make-your-own pizza and a MegaFort that covered the entire basement.  It probably wasn't the most exciting gift to open that day, but we hoped to make up for it with a really fun experience!

To prepare our basement to transform into a MegaFort, we purchased eye hook screws and 48 feet of rope.  We placed the screws into the studs at various distances around our basement.  We tried to place them at a height that would be high enough so kids wouldn't bump their heads on the screws when running around the basement, yet low enough they would be able to reach the rope in order to help build the fort.  When we strung up the rope, we made sure that it crisscrossed the basement for maximum fun.  That way we could break the MegaFort into multiple rooms if we wanted.

We set up a small tent and tunnel in a different part of the basement for the youngest children, in case the bigger kids wanted to play in the MegaFort without the smaller kids. 

Once our friends arrived, we started hanging up the walls and ceiling of the MegaFort.  With clothespins we hung up tablecloths, bedsheets, and other pieces of fabric we found around the house.

We used this row of scarves as our entrance into the tent.  It also worked great for peek-a-boo.

Once the fort was complete the kids began to do a lot of crawling, chasing, giggling, and squealing.  The canopy of fabric above made it feel cozy inside, and the MegaFort entirely transformed the wood-paneled basement into a magical space.  As much as I dream about remodeling that basement, I know I wouldn't have so easily placed screws all over the walls had it been newly-finished drywall instead of old wood paneling!  I guess the basement is good for something after all.  :)


I hope it was as much fun for the kids to receive the gift as it was for us to give it.  We sure had a good time!  This has me thinking about gifts in a new way, and I look forward to seeing what else we will do in the future.

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