Did you know that the Louvre originated as a fortress? The biggest art museum in the world, the guardian of the Mona Lisa and 400,000 other treasures, wasn’t designed to cultivate beauty. Sometimes fortresses can bring unexpected benefits. 

When scary things are happening outside our doors, we sometimes feel the need to retreat inside. Maybe you see this instinct even on a child’s level when they crawl under the covers to hide from imaginary monsters or a thunderstorm. Kids also like to build forts for pretend play, reading, and relaxation. I’ve heard that some kids are logging into online learning classes from their cozy forts.

It turns out that even simple pillow forts and treehouses can provide psychological benefit, according to researchers in a Washington Post article. When families are all together, all the time, forts can provide a little slice of personal space: a space to think, dream, and imagine.

The article shares the perspective of David Sobel, the author of a book on children’s forts, who thinks the desire to build forts serves a healthy biological need. It helps children to grow their sense of self and gives them a place to process their emotions in private. And educator Carol Stock Kranowitz thinks fort-building is a primal form of self-therapy particularly useful for times when our nervous systems are on high alert.

Emotional fortress for a child in front of a tent.

For some students, such as kinesthetic learners or students on the autism spectrum, remote learning that consists of staring at screens all day has been particularly taxing. So the sensory elements of forts and treehouses–cozy blankets and pillows, twinkling lights, music or chirping birds– often bring welcomed input. And take a peek at My Burrow that can provide a fort-like feeling creating a space to move or relax while providing sensory feedback. 

In my upcoming monthly publication, Be Ready Explorers, the Explorers understand the appeal of forts and secret treehouses wrapped in lights and pom-poms! They look for leaves that hang so low they create natural little tents to crawl inside. Read more about the Be Ready Explorers and their custom treehouse giveaway goal here (launch day, June 16th)!

And the next time you find yourself curious, exhausted or possibly annoyed by the pile of pillows in the middle of your living room, remember that your kids are not only having fun in that fort–they’re building ready minds.

Have your kids built any forts during this time? How about you? Where are you retreating when you need quiet? Share in the comments!

PsOur biggest adventure yet is coming next week!

June 16th is the official date of The Be Ready Explorers Kickstarter launch! Want to receive more information about our launch? Follow along by clicking here!