Kids love a tent to play in, and curling up in a reading nook is so much fun. For those reasons we decided to give our kids a sweet little play tent for Christmas this year. We had two requirements. It needed to be cute and easily stored. I didn’t want something huge and ugly in my living room, and I wanted to be able to take it down and set it up in seconds. Today we’re sharing how we created our DIY play tent and reading nook as part of the Fort Building Challenge from Building Blocks and Acorns. Be sure to check out all the other inspiring forts all month long here as well as our recent pillow fort here.
I love this tent because it is super cute, easy to set up, and so quick to stash away. It stores almost flat in the garage and then I can bring it out for a fun afternoon of play. I’m trying to encourage the kids to engage with books on their own, so I set up a few pillows in the tent and some of their favorite books. They brought in their favorite animals and “read” stories to them while I did dishes and fixed dinner. It was so peaceful that at one point I was concerned, but they were just sweetly looking at books and hanging out in their little reading nook.
We leave it out for a few days each time, then put it away for a week or two so it is like new the next time we bring it out. A friend taught me the joys of toy rotation a few years ago and she is a genius. You can see a few of the books that are in heavy rotation at our house right now. The Pearl Girl is obsessed with First 100 Words and The Poky Little Puppy, while Bear is loving Freight Train and Winter Days in the Big Woods . I need to add more of those My First Little House Books to our library, because mommy loves them as well.
We were inspired by this super cute play tent tutorial over at Grosgrain, but decided to make a few changes to stabilize the tent and make it a bit sturdier. Here’s how you can make your own.
- 2 – 1x2x8 select pine boards (nicer wood for the pieces that show)
- 2 – 1x2x8 furring strip boards (saving $15 over the more expensive wood)
- 1 – 3/4 in x 48 in dowel rod
- 2 – 2 in lag bolts + nuts
- 4 – 1 1/2 in wood screws
- drill with a spade bit
- twin sheet – find a fun vintage one at your thrift store
- staples (we used a staple gun)
- 1 yard of pom poms or other trim (optional)
- Cut your select pine boards in half to get 4 48 inch pieces.
- Measure 6 inches down from the top of each piece and mark it.
- Drill a 3/4 inch hole with your spade bit where you made each mark.
- Put two of the boards on top of each other and line up the holes, then insert the dowel rod. Repeat with the other end.
- Cut 1 of the furring strips in to 2 pieces at 43 inches each. You will have 5 inches of wood left over. Add it to your craft hoard.
- Cut the remaining furring strip down to 38 inches.
- Attach the 43 inch boards as braces on each side of the tent using the wood screws on the outside of the A frame. Be sure to drill a pilot hole in to the end of the furring strip before attaching it to help prevent it from splitting.
- Attach the 38 inch board to the back side of the bottom of the tent as a brace. Drill a hole through the furring strip and the A frame board. Attach using the lag bolts. To store the tent, just unscrew the nut on one side of the back brace to fold up the brace and fold the tent flat.
- Center your sheet over the top of the tent and pull one side down and taunt under the side brace. Staple it to the side brace using your staple gun. You could probably glue it down with a glue gun. Repeat on the other side.
- Drape your pom poms or other decorations over the top of tent, and invite your kids to play.
What’s your favorite way to set up a reading nook for kids? Read more of our DIY ideas here and our fun play ideas here.
Follow Becca Eby ~ Bare Feet on the Dashboard’s board DIY on Pinterest.
Don’t forget to check out all the other Fort Building Challenge Ideas here.