Dens can of course take the simplest of forms, with a simple placement of a sofa cushions under the table - but the best sort are built outdoors in the fresh air. Outside, children are offered an ever-changing landscape to challenge their problem-solving skills and ignite their senses.
Get your child to collect & carry their own kit - handing over responsibility but critically ownership of what they need to build their den. We'd (predictably!) suggest a den kit, complete with tarp, ground sheet, mallet, pegs and rope.
There is such a huge temptation for all well-meaning adults to help the kids using their age-won experience and expertise. However, allowing children to use their own ideas, imagination and skills often brings about the best results. They might ask for help - but try not to rush in. Question them on what they think needs to be done, how they think the problem could be solved, and let them try to work it out. There’s no right or wrong way - there’s no ‘failure’. There’s only learning.
Kids love to be given time from adults. A den-building adventure is the antidote to the formal learning and prescriptive activities that make up much of the term time week. Chat, laugh, explore and congratulate them on their handiwork. The space and one-to-one time that you get with den building is gold-dust for your child and often, they’ll surprise you with their capability and insight.
The only thing better than building a den is eating something delicious in it. Fact. So be sure to pack some good ones to enjoy together.
We’ve been making den kits for over 10 years, yet every time we watch a child try building one for the first time, or see a tagged child’s proud ‘I built that!’ face - we feel that shot of pure joy ourselves. We're sure that you'll feel that too.
So go, seek, explore - and take the child/ren in your life with you. Let them set up and make their own secret space, and offer them the robust tools and materials to make it really cool. They might even let you in when it rains!
For some top tips for keeping warm outside, then take a look at our blog on Keeping Cosy on Chillier Days, or take a look at our fun activities for the kids whether at home or away for some fun inspiration.