Spending time outdoors with your child is beneficial to both you and them. If you have a garden with trees or a nearby woodland, then I recommend building a den. Dens make perfect birdwatching hides for those who are keen on spotting our feathered friends. They provide shelters and basecamps for woodland walks or picnics in the woods. Building Dens offers a range of advantages to children of all ages.
Physical development, problem-solving skills, teamwork, and stimulating the imagination to name a few. Children will build on their learning by thinking creatively and then taking their ideas and figuring how to make them a reality. It can also be great fun for the whole family and it's a wonderful way to spend healthy time in the fresh air together. So it's time to head outdoors and try out our top tips.
In this post I discuss the following topics:
You will need:
TOP TIP Try to use a sturdy tree with lots of nooks and nobbles, or a low branch. This type of tree will help keep your sticks in place when you start building. Spend some time searching for some strong branches on the ground that you can use to make a good starting framework for your den. If you ensure that they’re wedged securely into your tree, they won’t move easily. The next step is to start filling in your walls by placing more smaller, thinner sticks close together against your tree and main long and thicker branches.
TOP TIP Flat ground is easier to build on, try to avoid large tree roots under your chosen tree. You'll also be able to roll some log furniture inside then too
These all sound really fun for older children, but what about younger ones? Perhaps you're worried that your children are too small to build a den? Here's a tip for building a simple smaller den with toddlers or small children. It is a lovely way for even very small children to have a go at building.
TOP TIP If you lean sticks against a tree like a lean-to, you don't have to do as much building and it's really quick to construct. This can be a bonus for impatient little ones. .
If you're not keen to brave the garden or woods or the weather is not conducive to outdoor adventure, you could have a go at building an indoor den.
You will need:
The advantage of this type of den is that you don't need to have it against a wall or sofa. You could build it in the middle of the room or even outdoors on a clear day.
Whether indoors or out, den building has many benefits for children of all ages. It engages little brains getting them thinking creatively and solving problems. It encourages them to work together and it helps develop their communication skills. So when next you find you have nothing to do or the children are needing a distraction, take a walk to your living room, garden or woodland and build a den together.
Read about other inspiring building ideas here.
I am a preschool and primary school teacher and mum to 3 children. I have been involved in education since 1997 and have trained in a variety of educational specialist areas. It is with this expertise that I write articles to help parents and educators provide quality learning experiences for the children in their care.