When searching for the best toys for kids, an item that they can use indoors or outdoors, works for solo or group play, doesn’t require batteries or screens and gets them moving seems like a unicorn. But don’t forget – there are fort-building kits for kids!
Many of us grew up building forts, but these makeshift constructions often caved in pretty quickly. A fort-building kit builds on this childhood tradition (see what we did there) and improves it, adding safety, security, and even some STEM learning properties.
Building forts is a timeless element of the childhood experience. And let’s be honest: plenty of giant kids (known as adults) still love to play with toys and construct a good hideout when the chance comes around. That’s why investing in one of the best fort-building kits for kids is a decision everyone can get behind.
What to Consider Before Buying a Fort-Building Kit
Creative play is time well spent for kids of all ages. Building a fort fosters this creativity and inspires critical thinking and problem-solving skills, not to mention teamwork and imaginative play. Fort-building kits take those concepts to the next level. With the stick-and-ball fort-building kits, children unknowingly develop STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), while other kits offer a sturdier base that will keep the fun going for hours.
Another big reason to choose a fort-building kit is the absence of technology. Too much screen time can have a negative impact on children, so any activity that encourages practical skill development while spending time away from smartphones, TVs, and computers is far more valuable than the price of the kit alone.
What Is The Best Fort Building Kit?
We were spoiled for choice when it came to finding the best fort-building kits. The good news is that many types and styles of fort-building kits are available, several of which are well-reviewed and friendly to conservative budgets. However, consider the following questions before deciding which one is best for you.
How many children are going to be playing with the kit? Most kits can accommodate one or two children without any problems. If you have more children to entertain, it may be necessary to purchase multiple kits to increase the available pieces and play area, turning your fort-building kit into a fortress-building kit.
How durable do you need the kit to be? As previously mentioned, fort-building kits come in various shapes and sizes. This also means different sets are better suited to different ages, especially regarding their ability to destroy things. Be sure to check the age advisory on any fort-building kit to ensure it’s suitable for all the ages in your group.
Do you want a kit for indoor or outdoor play? Most fort-building kits are for indoor play, but some can be constructed outdoors as well. Make sure you think about where your fort will be erected and ensure the space and surroundings are suitable for the purpose.
Many of the kits included on our list are suitable for a wide range of ages. This includes several forts that require no hands-on construction, making them well-suited to parents who want to unwind while watching their children (especially the younger ones) play independently.
Whichever fort-building kit you choose, you’ll be grateful you found an easy, technology-free way to expound some of that endless kid energy while creating lasting memories for the whole family.
1. The Original TOTE-A-FORT
Looking for that perfect kit for your kid to take to their next sleepover or playdate? The Tote-A-Fort is a pretty nifty pick. It comes with three lightweight polyester blankets and bean-bag-inspired weights that stop a fort from collapsing in the center. Plus, the blankets come with Velcro fasteners so that they easily adhere to one another, making it easier for little kids to build. The best part is that you can throw it all into the cinch sack and easily tuck it away or take it on the go.
2. Easy Playhouse Fairy Tale Castle
BEST FOR YOUNGER KIDS
Smaller hands may have a harder time piecing together extravagant forts, which is where this playhouse castle comes in handy. Kids can still customize the fort and make it their own with markers, crayons, stickers, and other crafting supplies, while tired parents can watch all the action go down from the comfort of their seats with a hot beverage in hand.
3. Tiny Land Kids-Teepee-Tent with Lights & Campfire
We have the fort for you if you can barely remember the days your home looked organized, put together, and not filled with plastic toys in every corner. The non-eyesore Tiny Land Kids-Teepee-Tent with Lights & Campfire is a beautiful tent and fort hybrid that will look whimsical in your child’s room and like a Pinterest-worthy display in your living room. Great for playtime, quiet time, and even bedtime (kids love sleeping in forts), the Tiny Land tent comes with a toy campfire and 13-foot starlights. It also includes a carrying bag for easy storage.
4. RAINBOW TOYFROG Straw Constructor STEM Building Toy
BEST FOR STEM
Who says a fort has to be larger-than-life, especially when you’re a little kid? If you’re looking for something fun to build with the kids that will spark their creativity and develop their STEM skills, this RAINBOW TOYFROG Straw Constructor STEM Building Toy set is a great addition to the toy room. There are 300 pieces to help build various forts and other fun creations, plus the BPA-free material cleans up easily with soapy water or wipes. The set is designed for ages 3 and up, but parents should be aware that the connectors are on the smaller side, so definitely keep an eye out if you’ve got a kid who likes to put things in their mouth.
5. Bankers Box at Play Cardboard Building Blocks
If you’re looking to encourage building skills in your children, choosing the Bankers Box at Play Cardboard Building Blocks could be a smart move. Instead of a predefined fort to assemble, this kit comprises 40 individual blocks in six different shapes and sizes. This gives your kids plenty of freedom to construct whatever they desire, whether it be a tower, a box, or a fort. In addition, thanks to their strong corrugated construction, these blocks can each hold up to 150 pounds. We’ve seen these blocks in multiple preschool rooms and any toy that can survive that many 2-year-olds gets our seal of approval.
6. Foamnasium Blocksy Kids Couch
If you’re looking for a fort that can double as a couch, a reading nook, and a bed for sleepovers, the Foamnasium Blocksy Kids Couch is up to the task. The couch includes two large folding pieces and two triangles, which work together to let kids explore different configurations for forts, slides, playhouses and more. The durable play couch is a great multi-purpose toy and furniture combo that is safely designed for kids (no harmful chemicals here) and makes a great group gift for siblings.
7. Crazy Forts
GREAT GIFT IDEA
This award-winning sticks-and-balls set has redefined the way kids build forts, all while engaging young minds and sparking creativity. The 69-piece kit comes with everything you need to build a solid foundation indoors or out, and you can fancy it up with a bed sheet or blanket. Tunnels, domes, and several other creations are at your fingertips with the accompanying instruction manual, but if you really want to get wild, invest in two sets and try out some of the double-build suggestions, too. This fort-building kit is one of our favorites, and it’s also one of the best toys to give kids if you’re looking for a birthday or Christmas gift.
8. Power Your Fun Glow in the Dark Fort Building Set
How many kids build a fort in their bedroom and then ask if they can sleep in it? This is the perfect kit for sleepovers of any fort builder’s dreams. This STEM-building set is designed for ages three to 14 and is customizable to various shapes. But the most exciting part is that once you’ve constructed your fort, you can turn off the lights and watch it come to life in that neon, glow-in-the-dark kind of way.
9. EagleStone 3-in-1 Kids Play Tent
BEST FOR TODDLERS
Toddlers don’t always have the patience to build a fort (or to color one), but they definitely have the energy that they need to get out in other exploratory ways. Enter this play fort-building kit with a rocket ship main area, a tunnel for crawling through, and a ball pit with a basketball net for extra fun. It’s easy to set up and comes with a lightweight carrying bag, which means you can bring it to the grandparents’ house or easily tuck it away when not in use.
10. USA Toyz Rocket Ship Pop Up Kids Tent
For a fort that won’t break the bank and folds into a convenient carrying bag, it doesn’t get much better than the USA Toyz Rocket Ship Pop Up Kids Tent. The space-themed tent has enough room to fit up to three small kids and includes a projector toy that displays spaced-themed images that little explorers will love. The water-resistant polyester can be wiped clean and we love this as a travel option thanks to the tent’s compact storage size when folded and placed inside its included carrying bag.
11. The Original Air Fort Build A Fort in 30 Seconds
If you don’t want to waste any time on assembly and prefer to avoid the mess that sheets, pillows, and other furniture pieces can bring, The Original Air Fort Build A Fort in 30 Seconds may be the right choice. As the name suggests, erecting the fort in as little as 30 seconds is possible using any standard box fan. It also comes backed by over 10,000 five-star ratings from parents and children who love the play area it creates. The inflatable fort is available in more than 10 different designs, including a UFO, a farmer’s barn and a beach ball.
The Original AIR FORT Build A Fort in 30 Seconds, Inflatable Fort for Kids (Royal Castle)
12. Make-A-Fort Building Kit
The Make-A-Fort Building Kit prides itself on being a convincing distraction from TVs and smartphones. Designed for children over the age of four, this 108-piece, USA-made kit features a panel-and-brace joining system to provide plenty of freedom when creating a fort. It’s also constructed from cardboard that is six times stronger and more durable than the cardboard found in your average box. The kit is fully reusable and can be kept inside the provided case when it’s not being used. Plus, this is more convenient when storing the set in a cupboard or under a bed.
13. Fort Boards Fort Building Kit
Tunnels, castles, boats, and even submarines are possible with these award-winning fort boards, which can be tilted to all kinds of angles for endless creative play. The kit comes with 44 boards and 46 connectors that can be used indoors or out to build more than 20 square feet of surface area. Plus, the durable plastic material means that this kit should hold up quite well for any younger siblings, cousins, or friends who may want to use the boards a few years later.
14. HearthSong 32-Panel Igloo Fantasy Forts Indoor Building Kit with Hook and Loop Connectors
BEST FOR FROZEN FANS
If you have Frozen devotees in your home, they will love building their own ice castle with the HearthSong 32-Panel Igloo Fantasy Forts Indoor Building Kit with Hook and Loop Connectors. HearthSong has several colorways and patterns available in their fort set and we especially like the Igloo, which allows kids to enjoy a ‘snow day’ while still indoors. The award-winning, modular cardboard pieces allow kids to continually rebuild their forts. As a bonus, six panels can be used to create a storage container to hold the pieces when playtime is over.