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zaterdag 10 december 2016

Let your imagination run free in a homemade den

An igloo in the Arctic, a fairytale castle or a wig-wam in the Wild West – the places a den could take you as a child were endless.

But studies show children spend less time outdoors than ever – less time even than prison inmates. So this Christmas break, why not rediscover the joys of real playtime? Get together again and build a brilliant den – outdoors on those wonderful days of winter sunshine or indoors when it’s more grey than glittering.

The Ultimate Adventure Den

If you’re lucky with the weather, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your children playing outdoors. And you don’t need acres of garden space for them to enjoy a proper old-fashioned den.

What you’ll need:

Bamboo sticks (like the type you can buy at a garden centre) or long sticks/branches
String (garden twine is perfect)
Old sheets or picnic blankets

How to make it:

  1. You need to start with two bamboo ‘tepees’ to support your structure. Make each one by leaning three or four bamboo sticks together, crossing over about two inches from the top and securing
  2. Get the children involved with the know tying – they don’t have to be pretty, perfect knots. It just needs to be secure!
  3. Once you have two sturdy pyramids, set them out just slightly closer to each other than the length of your longest bamboo stick. This is now your roof stick
  4. Lay your roof stick across the top of both tepees and secure with more string. That’s your den structure built!
  5. Drape your sheets or blankets over the top of the frame, leaving a gap for getting in and out at the front. If it’s windy, you can secure your sheets with clothes pegs
  6. Use a picnic blanket or tarpaulin (or even bin bags in a pinch!) as a ground sheet – especially if it’s a little damp
  7. Add cushions to sit on
  8. Put up your own personalised den sign.

Top tip: Add a camping lantern (or a torch hung up by its cord) to one side of your den and you can use it in the dark!

The Rainy Day Hideout 

This is a great one to have up your sleeve when the children are bored and the weather just isn’t playing ball. It takes around twenty minutes to set up, but can offer hours of imaginative play time.

What you’ll need:

A table (relatively high, a dining table or desk is ideal)
A laundry basket or large bucket
Sheets, blankets, duvets and so on
Two chairs
Cushions or pillows

How to make it:

  1. A table will be your base. It’s easy to set up, easy to tidy away and more sturdy than just sheets.
  2. Add an upturned laundry basket or bucket on top of your table for that tepee look
  3. Place a chair on either side for more space inside
  4. Now drape your soft furnishings! Fitted sheets are great as the elasticated corners can be tucked under table legs to stay in place
  5. Layer up for a darker, cosier den. You could even have a scavenger hunt around the house for materials – blankets, duvets, even Dad’s dressing gown!
  6. Pile up pillows and cushions inside for the perfect play area
  7. You can use an extra sheet over the front as a door – just hang it from the lip of the table and pop something sturdy on it to keep it from falling down
  8. Put up your own personalised den sign.

The post Let your imagination run free in a homemade den appeared first on Under the Treetops.



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