Backyard Discovery Blog

Why Children Love Forts!


With the emergence of new creative fort activities to do with your little ones, it’s safe to say that forts are here to stay! What’s more, that they occupy a huge part of our children’s hearts. But what about them? Why do kids love them so and what do experts say about their role in their development? Let’s explore this curiosity.

The Stay Away's and Keep Away's of Forts 

Does the idea of a fort invoke themes of protection, privacy, defense and secrecy for you? Maybe you know well that forts are the most imaginative and fun places for your child to be! But if they’re so playful, why do kids playing in forts sometimes tell others to stay out and for us to keep away?! Well, maybe all the, “stay out!” “you’re not allowed to come in” and “this is MY fort” stem from the deep military origins that forts have. Afterall, a fort is defined as a strong or fortified place meant for safety and retreat. With so many places for little imaginations to go, today’s forts come in all shapes and sizes allowing for a special hide out and awesome addition to your swing set, where pretend worlds are welcome.

What's Happening Inside There!?

Kids can do so many fun activities in inside of them, like telling stories and secrets, and drawing and coloring. Forts often inspire kids to participate in imaginative play, pretending to be superheroes, princesses or pirates! Educator David Sobel writes about why they’re such special places for kids. An education writer, Sobel helped develop the philosophy of place-based education. In 2002, he authored the book, Children’s Special Places: Exploring the Role, Dens and Bush Houses in Middle Childhood. While interviewing children, one boy explained, “Sometimes I make a little playhouse for myself. I bring things to eat and read books.” Be it a pirate or a princess, sometimes kids climb to a fort or crawl into one, because they simply want to snack and read! 

Benefits of These Special Places 

According to Sobel, kids love having a sense of privacy, independence, and self-sufficiency. Kids love forts the way they do, because they are small yet manageable worlds that are both calming and reassuring. All the stay out’s and keep away’s that kids say to discourage us from entering their beloved forts is often driven by their need for calm and quiet time. No matter the shape or size, we believe in this magical spot for your children. Check out our swing sets with built in forts like the cozy Madison Swing Set or the colossal fort experience of the Safari Swing Set. We look forward to seeing pictures and hearing your stories of how your child uses his/ her magical space!



Dens. (2016). In Retrieved from                                 

Sobel, D. (2002). Children's Special Places: Exploring the Role of Forts, Dens, and  Bush Houses in Middle Childhood. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.                                   

Forts. (2016). In Retrieved from                                           




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