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Who doesn’t love a good fort-building session? Whether you used to take the cushions from your couch or throw blankets over questionably constructed pillars, it’s always fun to try and crawl around without causing your construction to cave in. Building forts is a timeless element of the childhood experience. And let’s be honest: there are plenty of giant kids (known as adults) who still love to construct a good hideout when the chance comes around. That’s why investing in a fort-building kit 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 definitely fosters this creativity and can also inspire critical thinking and problem-solving skills, not to mention teamwork and imaginative play. Fort-building kits just take those concepts to the next level. With the stick-and-ball structure 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 which encourages practical skill development while spending time away from smartphones, TVs and computers is far more valuable than the price of the kit alone.
How We Chose the Best Fort-Building Kits
When it came to finding the best fort-building kits, we were spoiled for choice. The good news is that there is a wide range of types and styles of fort-building kits available, many of which are well-reviewed and friendly to conservative budgets. However, before you decide on which one is best for you, consider the following questions.
How many children are going to be playing with the kit? Most kits are able to accommodate one or two children without any problems. If you have more children to entertain, it may be possible to purchase multiple kits to increase the available pieces or play area. Of course, this may be limited to the amount of space and budget you have available.
How durable do you need the kit to be? As previously mentioned, fort-building kits come in a range of different shapes and sizes. This also means different sets are better suited to different ages, especially when it comes to 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? Within the wide range of available fort-building kits, you’ll find some which are made for indoor use, some which are made for outdoor use and some which can be constructed indoors or outdoors. 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 a number of forts that require no hands-on construction, making them well-suited to parents who just 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 seat, a hot beverage in hand.
3. Kizi Haus Fort Building kit covers
BEST CUSTOM COVERS
If your family is looking for a more creative fort-cover solution, Kizi Haus makes customized covers that fit directly onto its fort-building kit. The result is a customizable fort with a secure cover that won’t fall down during play, which keeps the fun going for longer — especially if you’ve got younger children running around the thing without actually paying attention to what they’re doing.
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 younger 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 you build a variety of forts and other fun creations, plus the BPA-free material cleans up easily with soapy water or wipes. The set is designed for ages three 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 really 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 is made up of 40 individual blocks in six different shapes and sizes. This gives your kids plenty of freedom to construct whatever it is 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.
6. Obuby Kids Construction Ultimate Fort Builder Kit
Why build a regular old fort when you can construct an igloo, a rocket or a castle instead? The sky is, as they say, the limit with this 120-piece fort construction set. It comes loaded with 75 sticks and 45 balls that can be connected to build a variety of structures, secretly helping your little ones develop STEM skills while they play. Once your fort is in place (perhaps with a little adult supervision), it’s sturdy enough that you can throw a regular old blanket or bed sheet overtop for extra fort goodness.
7. Crazy Forts
GREAT GIFT IDEA
This award-winning sticks-and-balls set has definitely 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 all other creations are at your fingertips with the accompanying instruction manual, but if you really want to get crazy 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? Well here’s 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 a variety of 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, which comes 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. Nature Bound Camouflage Net for Kids
BEST OUTDOOR FORT KIT
If your kid is totally into nature but too young for a blind, this portable camouflage net may be the next best thing. In terms of outdoor forts, it’s one of the coolest around because you can set it up anywhere (over another fort-building structure, draped over a tree or even over a picnic table), but it can also be used indoors as well. The giant net comes with a drawstring sack that makes it easy to tuck away or bring camping, or just hang the net from the ceiling to add even more outdoorsy ambiance to your playroom.
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 which sheets, pillows and other furniture pieces can bring, this The Original Air Fort Build A Fort in 30 Seconds may be the right choice for you. As the name suggests, it’s possible to erect the fort in as little as 30 seconds 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. Furthermore, the inflatable fort comes in over 10 different designs, including a UFO, a farmer’s barn and a beach ball.
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 which 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 you want to store 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 make use of the boards a few years down the line.
14. Donco Kids Antique Louver Low Loft Bed
One of the best pieces of home furniture to turn into a fort is a bed, especially in the case of this Donco Kids Antique Louver Low Loft Bed. The design features a raised, ladder-accessed twin bed which creates an open space underneath. This space, combined with the supplied blue tent, creates the ideal place for becoming a children’s play fort. This tent surround is also easily removed for easier access or cleaning purposes.
15. Backyard Discovery Eagles Nest All Cedar Playset
The Backyard Discovery Eagles Nest All Cedar Playset may require a little more adult involvement when it comes to assembly than the rest of the forts on our list, but that doesn’t mean it is any less exciting to play in. In fact, this comprehensive playset includes a range of entertaining elements to keep kids entertained for hours at a time. From the 10-feet wave slide and the five-foot rock wall to the wrap-around exterior porch and full picnic table, there really is something to keep every child happy.
16. Magic Cabin Mighty Fantasy Forts Color Block Set