Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide - Crazy Forts


I've mentioned before how much my kids enjoy building forts. I think it probably all started with a tent and tunnel that my kids had when they were younger. It was easy to assemble and leave set up for them all of the time. As they have been getting bigger, it didn't work as well and we moved from a tent and tunnel to fort building. I based the initial fort building on skills that I had developed myself as a child - using cushions, pillows, blankets, chairs, couches, and tables to build forts. (I used to build forts with cards too, carefully laying out my rooms on the floor and then moving about my "house".)

A month ago, I had the opportunity to play with and review Crazy Forts. With Crazy Forts, you use the balls and sticks to build the framework for your fort and then you cover them with bed sheets to make a private hideaway.

My daughter is a little young to be able to design and build, but she loves playing inside. My son, on the other hand, has mastered building the Crazy Forts. We started with the directions, available on their site, for each of the forts pictured on the box. Then, we moved on to free-form forts. We built one, just last weekend, where we really only had an arched wall structure that bridged between our recliner and our sofa in the basement. Then, when we covered it with bed sheets, we put the sheets between the wall and the furniture to allow for a bigger fort.

The kids will play in the basement for hours with the fort. Sometimes, each visit to the basement to check on them reveals a new fort that they have built. They have left a "mailbox" outside their door, which is where I am supposed to leave notes to let them know when dinner is and such. I love sitting just beyond sight and listening to their pretending out loud that they do with each other when they are playing inside their private fortress.

I like that the directions for building the different forts - igloo, castle, rocket, house and tunnel - provided the foundation to help my son understand how to use the different angles on the ball to build varying heights and shapes. Now that we have moved on to the free-form forts, it challenges my son's (and mine, too) sense of spatial orientation to be able to construct the fort with different angles and have the sticks meet up to be connected with a ball. When we built our arched wall last weekend, we had to do a bit of a rebuild when we found that it wouldn't work the way that we constructed it. Building the forts also helps him understand a little bit about strength and stability in construction and where you need a supporting "beam" and where you can skip it.

I will say that you have to make sure that you put the words Crazy Fort on the ball up to ensure things align correctly. This also puts the flat spot on the bottom, which is good for the bottom layer. Sometimes, you will find that you have to rotate the ball 45 degrees, to get some of the angled positions where you need them - as long as you figure this out early enough in the build, this is fairly easy to accomplish. In addition, you have to make sure that the sticks are firmly seated in the ball so that they don't come undone as the children are crawling around and bumping into the frame as they play inside. It took us a little while to master this, but now we know to simply do a once over to check all the connections before adding the sheet. We still have instances of the sticks coming loose, but there aren't as many as their had been initially and typically are simple enough to reconnect.

I like that Crazy Forts challenges my children to think, but also provides them hours of entertainment. My kids like playing with Crazy Forts - in fact, they have added a second set (and third, if you consider they both have asked for another set) of Crazy Forts to their Christmas lists, so that they can build bigger forts with more space.

No compensation was received for this post. I was provided with one box of Crazy Forts to review and share my experience. All opinions expressed are my own.

11 comments:

Stacy said...

These look like alot of fun!
smtilton @ comcast.net

maygan said...

that looks like so much fun!!

Noelle said...

we love making forts

Laura said...

Fun! My daughter would love this!

Jennifer said...

These look fun!

Cathy said...

What kid doesn't love forts??

Thabal said...

It sure does brings back a lot of childhood memories :)

thabal628 (at) gmail (dot) com

LoveCubed said...

my 2 kids would LOVE this! so awesome!!

lewalk said...

Oh my gosh. How cool! Hubby and I have tons of nieces and nephews who would love this. Not to mention having to fight my daughter for it. Lol. Thank you for the chance to win.

lewalk(at)hotmail(dot)com

shirley said...

These look like FUN, FUN, FUN!
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Jenn said...

Sounds like something my boys would LOVE!