When we were growing up, we all dreamed of building and having our own backyard fort. We built forts out of sheets, chairs, tables, blankets, and pillows.

Most things we play with as kids are on a much smaller scale. However, backyard forts are the largest and most ambitious projects that kids will ever undertake. There is nothing like working with your parents and siblings to build a backyard fort. This is truly an outdoor activity that will keep the whole family occupied for days.

You can make almost anything into a fort if you try hard enough, but we’ve provided some inspiration for any creative builders out there.

We’ve gathered up 16 of the most awesome DIY backyard forts for kids that we could find and put them together in one place. These forts are creative, functional, fun, and best of all they are extremely cheap to build!

DIY Outdoor Fort With a Slide

A fort with a slide is pretty much like two toys or playthings rolled into one. Who wouldn’t want that?

It is a backyard fort with a side attached to the side of the fort. If you have young children, they can play inside the fort and then go down the slide.

This will make a great place for them to hang out on a hot day. This would also be a fun place to get some shade on a cold day.

Kids love this type of fort because it gives them an extra toy that is right outside their door! You can find full instructions at ‘A Dream A Day’.

Backyard Fort with a Dome Shaped Top

Kids of all ages will love playing in this backyard fort/tent. It’s got a unique design that comes from being inspired by geodesic dome tents used by backpackers and hikers.

This particular tent is custom made so it may not be possible for everyone to recreate. However, you could try to make a similar tent by using the same ideas and concepts.

DIY Outdoor Tree Fort

This particular fort is built on the side of a tree. This will give kids a chance to climb up and have a nice, elevated view of the backyard or park.

You will likely remember these as a kid and the reason is, it is one of the most popular types of forts people build for and with their kids.

DIY Outdoor Blanket Fort

Simple Blanket Fort
Simple Blanket Fort

The blanket fort is the most popular fort that kids can build on their own without adult supervision. This is because it is the least permanent and will come down easily.

You can use a simple clothesline to form the structure of the fort, but you need sturdy material to hold it together.

This means either using rope or even fishing lines instead of clotheslines.

Then all they need is a blanket or two and a few chairs or other items to help them stay inside the fort. Once they have everything set up, it is time to play!

DIY Outdoor Fort With a Tunnel

This particular fort offers a tunnel that kids can crawl through and go from one side of their backyard to the other.

This is a great way for them to stay out in the sunshine while enjoying some quick access back inside your home.

DIY Castle Fort

This is exactly what it says on the tin. It is a fort designed to look and feel like a castle. Any young child would love to play in this backyard fort!

You would likely purchase one of these than build one yourself. They are generally built out of hard plastic and very sturdy.

DIY Fort From Pallets

You could build an entire house with pallets, so why not use them for a backyard fort? If you have some extra time and want to impress your kids, this is the project for you.

The best part about building with pallets is that they are easy enough for most people to create without any prior experience or knowledge of construction. However, it will still look better than most DIY projects.

DIY Pirate Ship Fort

This type of fort is built to look like a pirate ship. Most pirate ships are decorated with a lot of bright colors and this type of fort can be, too!

However, you will probably want something with a little more permanence. This is why most people use wooden pallets to create a frame for their backyard pirate ship fort.

Then they add hay or straw on top to look like the deck of a ship. The blanket can cover any part that kids might crawl through in order to stay safe during playtime.

DIY Ropes Fort

A ropes fort is a little more sophisticated than most. It is actually designed and built as a climbing structure.

This type of fort is typically made out of different types of ropes so you will need to have this skill set before embarking on this project. However, it can be very rewarding for adults and children alike!

DIY Teepee Fort

The tepee is another popular backyard fort that kids just love because of how fun they are to play in!

Although they may not stay up forever, it only takes a few minutes to set up or take down your teepee. This means you can move them around the yard as needed.

DIY Bridge Fort

You would need quite a large open space and two decent-sized trees to build one of these forts. However, the payoff is huge because it comes with a bridge!

There are plenty of ways to build bridges but this particular one involves lashing together some rope so they form a sort of suspension system between two trees.

DIY Double Decker Fort

Not only does this type of fort have one level, but it also has additional levels with a ladder leading up to each level.

This type of fort is more than just a playhouse. It is an entire world for kids to build and explore.

The only problem with these types of structures is that they are quite large, so be sure your yard can handle it!

Basic Fort

The basic fort is similar in construction to a tree fort. It is normally built against a tree, has a set of ladders leading to a single platform. It is one of the easiest to build and also one of the smallest on this list.

DIY Fort With Tarp

Tarps are great because they come in so many different colors and patterns. This means you can find one to match any design idea of your choosing.

All you need for this type of fort is the tarp itself, which you tie between two trees or posts in your yard.

Then you attach rope horizontally across it so kids have somewhere to climb around on without falling through.

Rustic Fort

The rustic fort is mainly built out of wood pallets, which is what makes it so unique. It looks like something out of a storybook because it has that rustic, old-timey feel to it.

However, these types of forts can also be very dangerous if they are not built properly.

They often collapse since the pallets only provide enough support on one side. This means you must build some sort of framework behind the fort in order to make it safe and sturdy!

Some people even add flowers to make it seem more authentic.

Adventurer Fort

The adventurer fort is a collection of several different forts rolled into one. This type of fort is built out of different types of materials, which also includes some rope ladders and tunnels for crawling through!

The main purpose is to include as many things to climb on and slide down on as possible.

FAQs

Is building a fort good for kids?

Yes, building a fort for kids is good because it provides a home away from home and also a space they can call their own. Oftentimes as adults, we need some quiet time for reflection. The same is true for kids.

Why are forts good for kids?

Forts are good for kids because they help them let off some steam, express creativity, and allow their imaginations to run wild. They also teach children about responsibility because it is important that they take care of their fort adequately so they can enjoy it to the fullest!

Why is building a fort fun?

Building forts is a fun activity for both adults and kids alike. They get to work hard on the construction and then feel good about themselves once they see the finished product. It also allows the parents to spend precious time with their kids, even if they are just working alongside each other.

Are building forts safe for kids?

Yes, building a fort is safe for kids because it allows them to learn about appropriate safety precautions and how to build sturdy structures that stay up. That being said, do take care when constructing anything in your yard. There can be rocks or nails that could cause injury if you are not careful.

What is the best material for building a fort?

The best material to use when building a fort is wood pallets because they are very strong, durable, and affordable. You can even paint them or decorate them with other materials once you decide on the design of your fort.

What do you put in a fort for kids?

Place craft projects inside the fort so the kids can use their imagination to make things while having fun at the same time. This encourages their creativity and time spent outside.

Why do we like blanket forts?

Blanket forts are the easiest to make and simple materials like pillows and blankets can be used. Kids also love constructing them and crawling inside for games and stories.

How do you hang sheets from the ceiling for the fort?

3M hooks are brilliant for holding up bedroom sheets. They also don’t leave marks on the ceiling after use.
Make sure you use the big hooks that can hold up to 3-5 pounds of weight. The small hooks won’t be able to handle the weight and will make a hole in your ceiling.

So there you have it. A collection of the many different forts you can build for your children in the backyard.

Many of them are quite easy to build, others more difficult and some will need to be purchased from the store.

This should give you plenty of ideas for your own backyard fort.

There are also specialist kits you can buy for some of these if you are not very technically minded.

They usually come with easy-to-follow instructions, so they are a good place to start before attempting any of the more challenging projects on this list.

Remember that many kids love having backyard forts because it is an entire world separate from everything else!

It gives them the freedom to be independent and have fun all by themselves without being disturbed.

So what are you waiting for?

It is time to get building!

References:

Blanket fort image – Chris Barr from the valley, batCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

sandcastle next to the sea.
16 Awesome Forts For Kids
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Passionate about helping households transition to sustainable energy with helpful information and resources.

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