Spaghetti Box Kids

Strategies, Tips and Activities for Learning

learning through play

Easy To Make Tent

August 20th, 2008 · 7 Comments

Great activities build your child’s confidence in expanding an idea or theme.

Making a tent with sheets will change the way your child looks at space. The walls and rooms in your house are static. You can’t move a wall or change the size of a room from one day to the next. Your child is very aware of this fact because children love to explore spaces and test limits.

One of the reasons your child will love the concept of making a tent with sheets is that it transforms space. It creates a new place for your child to go. She will naturally assume ownership of this space because:

  • It’s just her size
  • She helped make it in the first place
  • She’ll find it necessary to make repairs

How to make a tent with sheets:

It’s pretty simple—just drape a sheet over the back (or side) of a couch. Now pull the sheet taut to the floor and secure it with a stack of books on the two corners and in the middle. What does a repair consist of? Usually the tent will begin to sag, and repairing it merely requires pulling it taut again.

Now with your tent in place, consider the following activities:

Campsite reading hour: there is hardly a better sanctuary than Saturday afternoon story time in the tent with a few pillows and your child’s favorite books. This should be nothing short of delightful for both you and your child. Make it even better with a bowl of healthy finger food and a juice box. A twist on this activity: in the evening turn reading hour into a campsite beneath the stars. This simply involves reading in the tent by flashlight. Alternatively, use a battery operated globe light to remove the burden of holding up the flashlight. This activity combines the wonder of reading with the fascination of a campsite. There is hardly a better way to enrich your child’s esteem for story books.

Camp out in the tent as if you were in the wilderness. This activity is a lot of fun and may easily become a household favorite. The part your child will like the best is finding food. There are two ways to do this: fishing or fruit gathering (or both). Fishing: cut out construction paper fish—five or ten is plenty. Tape a small magnet to each fish. Now make a fishing pole: tie a string to a stick and attach a magnet to the end of the string. Have a pan, paper plates and utensils in the tent. Spread the fish around the living room floor. Now, while you are back in the tent exchanging hiking stories, one of you gets hungry and it’s time for your child to go fishing. “Cook” the fish in the pan and “eat” them. Exchange adventure stories about the wilderness while eating. Fruit gathering: cut out construction paper berries and fruit. Place them in moderately hard to find areas and go on a berry gathering expedition. Use small buckets to gather the berries, then return to campsite and enjoy your meal and adventure stories.

Make two tents—one for you and one for your child. Position your tent on the other side of the living room or in another room. Make a very basic river using whatever you have on hand– books or sheets of construction paper, etc. The river should be located somewhere in the middle of the two tents. “Meet” your child while on a food gathering expedition. Here is your dilemma: you are not allowed to cross the river, but you have not found any food to bring back to your village. Ask your child if there are any berries on her side of the river that she is willing to share. Allow her to hand you berries across the river to add to your bucket. Is she willing to give you all the berries from her side of the river, or will she want to save some for her village? What are her village’s secrets for growing so many berries? Expand on the concept of the river as a boundary. Work together to make a bridge. Simulate sleep, then wake up to find the bridge ravaged by storms. Your child will never tire of rebuilding the bridge.

In sum: tent activities nurture your child’s imagination and expand her concept of spaces and places. They are easy to set up, and offer countless variations that your child can enjoy again and again. Give your child a learning opportunity like no other: make a tent.

(If you keep a schedule, be sure to mark a time for tent activities. . .)

Tags: Kids’ Activities

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Emily // Jul 1, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    I love the kids activities you describe to play in the tent-and in the surrounding “wilderness”. The’yre all good, but the fishing one is really creative. Great article.

  • 2 Spaghetti Box Kids // Jul 2, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Thanks for the feedback. Glad you enjoyed the things to do after you make the tent. If you liked the fishing game, there’s more magnet activities in Kids’ Science: Fun with Magnets (part 1 and 2).

    All the Best–
    AV

  • 3 Jeremy // Feb 23, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Thanks for sharing! Camping is such a great bonding activity and I appreciate your ideas. It is really important to keep kids of today involved in these kind of things and unfortunately it seems like many people just don’t. Hopefully that will soon change…

    Thanks again,
    Jeremy

  • 4 Spaghetti Box Kids // Feb 24, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    I agree. It’s important to participate in imaginative play with your children. This activity allows kids to have a lot of creative input on the procedures, and it’s a pretty easy take for parents.

  • 5 theseoman // Feb 17, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Nice job. Lots of neat ideas here. I mean, it’s a simple activity, but you make it seem fresh and cool. Keep up the great work.

  • 6 Spaghetti Box Kids // Feb 19, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Thanks for the input. Best of luck with your tent. -AV

  • 7 mieszkania poznan // Feb 17, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    …nice post…plenty of cool ideas…thanks!

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