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STEM Activities

STEM Activity: Fort-unate Family Fun

Happy National Sibling Day! Invite your sibling(s) or friends who feel like siblings and follow the steps below to create the ultimate fort.


Materials Needed

  • Binder clips
  • Blankets
  • Chairs
  • Craft paper
  • Cushions and/or pillows
  • Markers, crayons, colored pencils
  • Recyclables
  • Rubber bands
  • Sheets, blankets or fabric


Step-by-Step Instructions 

  1. Select an open area to build your fort. If the weather is nice, consider building it outside!
  2. Use chairs or other objects to create a solid frame for the structure of your fort. You can test different attachments and arrangements to figure out what is sturdiest and safest.
  3. Add onto the frame to cover open spaces. Consider draping sheets or blankets on the outside for walls.
  4. For creative attachments, try using binder clips to bring sheets together or rubber bands to attach fabric to chair posts or door handles.
  5. Create a door or passageway into your fort. Think up a secret passcode, knock or other form of identification that will be required for entry. (Did you know that the iris in the eye can be scanned as a form of identification?)
  6. Brainstorm potential fort names. Might you use family or friend names?
  7. Design a sign featuring your fort’s name and display it outside your fort.
  8. Decorate the inside of your fort so it is cozy and inspires daydreaming about new inventions. Consider using cushions, craft paper, art supplies and anything else you might find around your house.
  9. Put a few games inside your fort or create new ones using recyclables.
  10. Sketch the final design of your fort, so that you can remember it after it gets taken down. Save your sketch for future fort-building inspiration!


What Are We Discovering?

Creating a sturdy framework for your fort helps guarantee that it will not fall under pressure. Mathematically, triangles are known to be one of the strongest shapes in architecture. They provide strength and support because each individual side is supported by two other sides. In engineering, triangles make up support structures called trusses, which are used to build bridges, skyscrapers and houses.

Just like forts, relationships with family and friends benefit from a solid framework. By being kind, working together and respecting one another’s ideas, you can create a solid foundation for teamwork. And there’s no limit to what you can achieve through teamwork! Just look at National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductees Orville and Wilbur Wright. These brothers worked together to achieve the first powered, sustained and controlled flight of an airplane! What else do you think you can accomplish when you work as a team?


Looking for Even More STEM Fun? Check Out Camp Invention!

If your child enjoys STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities, they will love Camp Invention®, NIHF’s nationwide K-6 STEM summer camp. To learn more about this year’s brand-new program and to reserve your spot today, we invite you to visit our website.

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