There is a brief period of time in every person’s life where living in a tiny, dark area not much bigger than the size of one’s own body seems perfectly acceptable and almost preferable. Forts were the closest thing to a clubhouse a child could get and for some, they were just as exclusive. No boys allowed. No girls allowed. No cooties. No homework. No parents. No vegetables. The induction into “fort life” was a childhood milestone, almost bigger than getting light-up sneakers or signing up for Neopets. Simple as it seems, the type of fort one preferred was of the utmost importance.
Whole Room Forts
What better way to ruin a mother’s newly cleaned house than to drape it with the contents of the linen closet? Blanket forts, although the most complex of the fort series, were always the most rewarding due to their powers of living room transformation. Strategic furniture arrangements combined with bed sheets large enough to cover a small country resulted in well-fortified lairs fit for royalty. As long as you refrained from touching the hovering ceiling, the blanket fort was the prime residence hall and could make bedtime an experience to look forward to (parents take note).
Anything I have ever lost has been found at one point or another beneath and in-between the cushions of my living room couch. Couch cushions are right up there with sock guzzling laundry machines and forgetful mothers when it comes to lost items. Creating a couch fort not only unearths these long forgotten treasures but also inspires the urge to construct stuffed skyscrapers and hop across the newly exposed couches. When deconstructed, the scattered cushions can also act as stepping-stones should an impromptu game of “The Floor is Lava” arise. With this design, the opportunities are endless.
“Wait, is that a new refrigerator? What did it come in? Was it a box? DID YOU KEEP THE BOX?”
Maybe I was a weird child, but the prospect of a giant box was enthralling to me. Now, I’m not good with math but I’m pretty sure there is a formula somewhere stating a direct relationship between box size and magical qualities. (I’m like 67% sure I did not just make that formula up.) In kid-land, cardboard boxes provide the most opportunities for adventure. A little tape and markers could turn an ordinary box into a towering castle or a dangerous submarine or even an Optimus Prime replica. Little boxes could become hats or swords or some other complicated weapon for the artistically inclined. Out of the bunch, box forts were the most sturdy and held the most potential for the creative imagination. They were also fun places to stick younger siblings in, if you didn’t mind getting a scolding from annoyed parents.
I love winter. I love it more than all the chocolate cupcakes and sparkling apple cider in the world combined for a variety of reasons, only one of which involves snow forts (the others relate to Christmas, hot chocolate, and the diminished need to shave). As a result, my fondness for snow forts may verge on irrational for some of you but hear me out. Snow forts are the most prestigious of the forts as they are the most intricate. Building a snow fort requires stamina. The combination of biting winds that blow snowflakes into your eyes and the layers of untouched snow, which always manage to solidify gloves, makes the creation of this structure a taxing endeavor. There are unspoken rules regarding snow fort construction as well, such as the appropriate wall/ceiling ratio theory and the proper angle at which stairs can be built. Anyone who can master these tacit rules of snow fort establishment can accomplish just about anything (besides rocket science, quantum physics, and everything else that is obviously less important than winter activities).
I may have physically outgrown the days of couch forts and snow castles (fitting inside a cardboard box is more of a miracle now than a pastime) but my appreciation for the childhood activity remains strong. Someday, perhaps, in the future, when science geeks and math experts combine their efforts to create an aging reversal procedure to make me small again, I will be able to relive the golden age of fortlife, the original VIP experience that made living in an overstuffed cave seem almost enjoyable.
Image via MosbyBuildingArts.com