|A den each, and the garden looks like a shanty town!|
|Danny wishing he could go in Zac's den.|
You can make dens indoors or out, so it's an all year round activity.
Indoors it will probably involve moving furniture. When children are really little they'll need quite a lot of help with this, but as much as possible it's good to let them be the architect and tell you what they want you to do so that they still feel like it's their creation.
Even when you do the heavy work, putting a roof on a den is not always easy to do. My tip is- give them the largest blanket/ bedspread/sheet you can find. Trying to stretch something like a towel between a couple of chairs quickly gets very frustrating if it keeps falling off the end you're not holding! Clothes pegs for attaching sheets are also useful and kids learn how to do this pretty easily.
|A bedspread tent over a plank.|
|A hidey-hole in the hedge.|
Similarly, if building a den is tricky, you can use a real tent instead. Some of them are so easy, even young children can pretty much put them up by themselves. They will inevitably decide they want to sleep the night in there, and unless it's raining or freezing it's usually worth saying yes to avoid the battle- they're bound to be back inside long before you want to go to bed anyway!
Making dens was a fundamental part of my childhood. When I was young I was allowed to go off to the nearest area of woodland with my brother or some friends to play. We used to spend hours making dens- propping branches up against trees and covering them with twigs and greenery; swinging on home-made rope swings, sliding down the chalk pit in a tin bath etc.We had A LOT of fun. I was not pre-school age, but I probably wasn't much more than 10. The best thing about the den making experience was that we were there on our own. We made all the decisions about how and where to build, negotiated over whose ideas we should use, felt the sense of achievement when the den was completed without any adult help or intervention.
|Building a den in the woods with friends.|
I just found this web page which has good den-building advice for older kids:
And loving the den with decorations in this great post: