Are you in charge of the kitchen at home? If you are a mom, more than likely you are. You know where the good knife is, you know that 350 on your oven is more like 345 and you know just how much sour cream you have in the fridge when you remember the recipe at the grocery store.
Your son needs a fort the way you need your kitchen. He needs to be in charge of and create a place where his imagination can run wild, where he can think, where he can meet with his buddies and where no girls and no moms are allowed. A place where he can daydream, be creative and call his own. He needs a fort outside in the back yard.
Your son needs to plan a fort as much as he needs the fort itself. Meg Meeker, MD author of Boys Should be Boys, discuses the need for boys not to be forced into organized activities exclusively and the need for forts. Boys thrive when they organize games and adventures and projects on their own. Forts help them learn lessons and gain confidence on their own away from parents and organized teams. Sports and teams are wonderful, but they
don’t replace the developmental need for a fort.
Building a fort in minecraft is not the same as building a fort in the back yard. He will make some decisions, but the fort still belongs to the game, it is not truly his and he can’t get in it and daydream among other things. I will cover more on this later.
This week my boys are working on their fort ideas; it was a project they wanted to do this summer and they are just getting started on it. It will take some time. The photo today is of the pile of wood that is in the garage that they are using for inspiration. I am not sure what they are going to do with it and that is just fine I don’t need to know. Ask your son a question: “If you were going to build a fort in the back yard, where would you build it and what would you use?” Get him outside looking around and thinking about the process of building it or upgrading his current one if he has one already. Try to let him be in charge and encourage him to build one from scratch around the yard and house: leftover wood, bricks, old tires, tree limbs etc. Resist the urge to call the pre-fab swing set one from the home improvement store his fort. His fort doesn’t need to look like that. Have him make a drawing (rough draft or detailed) and a list of what materials he may need and start scouting a place in the back yard for a good location. Good luck on staying behind the scene on this one. This project will be ongoing and you and I will both be surprised with the progression; I’ll keep you posted!