Use your imagination create the perfect homemade den
The places a den could take you as a child were endless, an igloo in the Arctic or a fairy-tale castle you could let your imagination run wild in your den. So rediscover the joys of using your imagination and get together again and build a brilliant den, whatever the weather.
The ultimate outdoor den
If you’re lucky with the weather, you’ll need to go on a gathering expedition for all the sticks, twigs and leaves you can find, but you’ll be able to show off the ultimate outdoor den. You don’t need lots of space in your garden to be able to enjoy a proper old-fashioned den.
What you’ll need:
Sticks or bamboo sticks (the type you can buy from a garden centre)
String (garden twine is perfect)
Old sheets or picnic blankets
How to make it:
1 You need to start with two stick or bamboo ‘tepees’ to support your structure. Make each one by leaning three or four sticks together, crossing over about two inches from the top and securing
2 Get the children involved with the knot 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 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 den
This is a great one to have up your sleeve when the weather just isn’t playing ball and the little ones need a little entertainment. 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
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.
See where your imagination can take you on a break at Center Parcs.
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