15 January 2016

The Fort

Growing up in this area, my friends and I were always building "forts" in the open spaces and canyons surrounding the neighborhoods. Not real structures in the branches of trees, but more like we'd hike through the underbrush until we found a nice large bush or cluster of low growing trees & then we'd gradually remove some of the sticks and plants and kind of hollow it out to play inside. 

And I absolutely love it that I got my boys interested in fort building too. It's a great activity that promotes creativity and gets them outdoors and enjoying nature. It's something that they can all enjoy together, a free activity, and something that I can go do with them or they can go on their own. It burns some energy and gets them some exercise (at least while they are hiking to and from the fort). They can take the dog so he gets to go on a little hike too. They can get as dirty as they want (without making a mess at the house), and then they just run upstairs and take showers as soon as they get home (so I can then check showers off the list of things to do that day). I remember the planning and all the grand ideas we had for our forts when we were kids, and I'm glad they get to have that good old fashioned fun too. 

Today the boys had the day off school, so I went with them to their new fort that they started working on a few months ago. Michael's parents asked what the boys would like for Christmas this year, and we told them supplies for their fort, so they got a swing, walkie talkies, pullies, rope, twine, hand shovels, binoculars, small saws, some large pieces of burlap, and some big hedge clippers. (How many 12 year olds do you know who would be super excited about clippers?  And 10 year olds who would enjoy unwrapping burlap tarps Christmas morning?  But they were). 

Anyway, today they were so excited to show me all the work they have done on their fort.  The other day they positioned two long pieces of wood across tree branches overhead and then set lots of sticks across them to make a roof. And today I helped hem find a good branch to hang the swing from (the last one they tried to hang it from on their own broke when one of the boys was swinging and another boy was climbing the branch, so they learned not to do that again).  I also helped Lijah use one of his sheets of burlap to make a hammock -- it's a little high for him to climb into, but it's a perfect fit once he gets in. I had to come home to take Kolby and his friend Carter and drop them off for their first snow camping scout trip to Mt. Laguna, and Harley and the other boys opted to stay and play at the fort for the afternoon. 

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