Explore kids fort ideas that are fun, educational, and teaches mindfulness
Do you ever look at your kids, from your comfortable spot on the couch pretending to not exist so that they keep playing, and wonder: should I be doing something to make this a purposeful play?
And what about mindfulness? What can I do to help my kids be more mindful?
You can’t see me, but I’m raising my hand!
Being a parent is exhausting and most days I daydream about a long, uninterrupted nap.
But nope, we must have coffee to stay awake and continue on with our days trying to raise intelligent, mindful children.
Then a magic happened!
I was excited to learn that when children are playing imaginative play, they are not just playing.
Pretend play also facilitates brain development and mindfulness.
So when they’re playing pirates and jumping all over the couch even though you’re clearly sitting on it and getting trampled, and when they ask me to help build their kid’s fort kit, it’s helping their brain development.
This is why I encourage a lot of pretend play and provide lots of Montessori toys for toddlers.
Plus, it keeps them busy and lets me do what I need to do for a little while!
Some of our favorite Montessori toys for toddlers are fort building kits, play silks, and open-ended wooden toys made with only natural materials.
These are all great for brain development and for putting together mindfulness activities for kids that are available on our website.
Key Takeaway: A child’s creativity, language and social skills can be developed through imaginative play.
The Science Behind Imaginative Play
Pretend play? Good for their brains!
One amazing thing I learned recently about pretend play is that it actually helps develop executive functioning.
Executive functioning isn’t exactly part of our daily vocabulary, so if you don’t really know what it is don’t worry: I didn’t neither.
Executive functioning is really the management system of the brain which helps us to set goals, pay attention, prioritize, and more.
Children who struggle with it usually struggle in school so executive function is something that’s really important develop.
A research showed that children who pretend play are able to have more advanced executive functioning skills.
The idea is that when they’re pretending it puts a distance between the child and the tasks and allows them to step back from a situation and think about multiple solutions. How cool is that?
Pretend play is also important for language development.
When we’re at the playground and our kids are playing together, or even alone, they’re putting together different scenarios and communicating with each other.
It helps in their language skills development because they’re engaging with other kids, pretending to be a different character (or animal), and using words to represent objects, people, and events that are taking place.
Key Takeaway: Imaginative play develops executive functioning that manages thoughts, actions and emotions.
How does imaginative play help a child’s brain development?
- Imaginative play helps to develop the part of the brain that regulates behaviors
- It is one way that children can practice performing higher-level executive function
- During pretending play, children are working on their language development
- It’s one natural way that we can encourage our children’s brain development
- It allows them to practice mindfulness
Fun and easy daily activities that foster pretend play
- Pretend to serve a meal to family or stuffed animals using our wooden play food accessories kit. A play silk can also be used as a table cloth or to decorate.
- Use play silks to make a blanket for your doll
- Create an ocean scene with play silks as the water and islands
- Wear play silks as capes, pretend to be super heroes and save the world
Ways to use our fort building kit for pretend play
- Make a puppet show stage area with the fort building kit and hold a puppet show for friends (or even dolls or stuffed animals)
- Use the fort building kit as a pretend house to play house with stuffed animals
- Pretend you’re camping out in the woods and use the fort building kit as a play tent and cooking over a campfire
- Bring some stuffed animals into the fort building kit and pretend that you’re a vet and you’re taking care of sick animals to make them better
- Play house using the kids fort kit as your home
- Play pirates and pretend you’re on a pirate ship made from the kids fort kit
- Pretend you’re on a long plane ride and make a plane from the fort building kit
- Go on a safari and pretend your fort is a safari tent, made out of the fort building kit, with animals roaming around outside
Key Takeaway: Fort building kits and play silks are perfect tools for imaginative play.
Ways to use our fort building kit for portable calm corner
Kids have a hard time regulating their emotions.
If you’re a parent, that’s clear as day.
Whether your kid is a hitter, biter, screamer, or has some other frustrating way of expressing negative emotions, I think we can all agree that teaching out kids mindfulness will help them in life. Not to mention help save our sanity as well.
As a parent I know that it’s my job to teach my child mindfulness so that they can eventually take control of their emotions. Preferable sooner than later. But I also know that young kids need help with this. A lot of help.
One of the best ideas I’ve found is to create a “calm corner”. A calm corner is basically a small, safe space where my kids can go if they need a moment of calm.
It allows them to sit with their feelings for a bit, practicing mindfulness, while they have a little alone time.
In the calm corner, I usually provide some quiet mindfulness activities and Montessori toys for toddlers, along with some things that can encourage them to do a feelings check. A feelings check can teach our kids mindfulness by creating the habit of checking in with themselves.
A fort building kit can help to make this space, and it’s best to make it cozy and simple so that they feel safe and secure when inside.
Below are some mindfulness activities for kids that you can use in your calm corner. Try it out, seriously.
The first time your child starts to lose control of their emotions and retreats to their calm corner instead you’ll be running back here to thank me.
Ways to use our fort building kit for mindfulness activities for kits
A fort building kit can be a great way for kids to practice mindfulness. Below are some mindfulness activities for kits that you can try out.
- When building the kids fort kit, our children can practice mindfulness while they’re putting the pieces together and truly enjoying the experience and being mindful of how they’re feeling as they do it.
- Inside the kids fort kit they can take time to themselves and set up their own corner to allow themselves to calm down and check in with their feelings
- Practice breathing exercises in the fort such as pinwheel breathing where you use a pinwheel and blow on it to show them how to slowly inhale and exhale
- A quiet place to lay on the floor and color
- Make the fort into a yoga fort where they can practice some yoga exercises
- Create a peaceful meditation fort where they can practice some guided meditation
Key Takeaway: Fort building kit turned as calm corner will introduce mindfulness activity for your child.
You don’t have to be a genius or spend all day doing especially planned activities with your kids to encourage brain development and mindfulness.
Seriously, who has the time or patience for that?
Simply focus on pretend play, lots of pretend play.
A kids fort kit is a great Montessori toy for toddlers that can give them hours of pretend play ideas and even provide them with a calming corner where they can practice mindfulness.