In preparation for the UK’s national lockdown, we’ve been thinking of ways that you can keep your kids entertained (or maybe even you grown ups!).
We feel the perfect way is by making a den. Dens can stay up for months, and provide endless fun for kids.
Normally the first thing you have to think about is whether you’re going to be creating your den inside or outside. This affects which materials you use, as outdoor dens have to be waterproof or able to be wet. Consequently, an indoor den is much more flexible in that respect.
If you’re making an indoor tent, we recommend having a base of:
- Bunk Beds
- Chair / Sofa
- Tent Frame – our POP Tents are great for this as they only take a minute to put up.
- You could go all out and get a Tipi
- Cardboard Boxes
You then need to think about how you will actually make your shelter, and what extras you might need. We suggest:
- Blankets / Picnic Blanket
- Sleeping Bags- our Maui ones are nice and colourful. Find the pink here and the blue here.
- Lights- the Teda hanging lantern is small, bright and great value.
- Colourful fences- our windbreaks make the perfect protection for your den.
- Activities and Snacks- our melamine dinner sets are perfect for inside dens.
- Airbeds– these mean you can even camp out in them!
These materials can be adapted if you wanted to make your den outside. The base of a POP tent is perfect for both situations.
Now to start building!
Here are our tips for each base.
1. Bunk Bed
If you have a bunk bed or a cabin bed, you’ve got a ready-made den structure just waiting to be transformed into a cosy hideout. You simply need to tuck in some sheets and blankets around the top bunk to completely surround the bottom bunk or under-bed space and hey presto! Den-ready in seconds.
2. Seats / Sofas
Got a few dining room chairs or two sofas? Simply arrange them back-to-back with space in between for your den. Then all you need is a big sheet or blanket to drape over the top as a ceiling and you’ve got the beginnings of a den.
Tables act as all-in-one walls and ceilings, meaning you won’t need as many sheets and blankets to finish off the main den structure. You can also join up lots of different tables to make quick den extensions – just add blanket walls and you’re done!
Want to make a really really big den? Try tying lengths of rope or string across a few far-apart points (make sure they’re strong and won’t tip over) and then drape your blankets and sheets over the tops to create a roof.
Open up your POP tent and fill with accessories.
How To Decorate
1. Light it Up
Once your den is built you can add a hint of magic with some lights. Use battery-powered lights as these give you greater amounts of freedom and are much safer to use for a den.
2. Get Comfy
A den isn’t a den unless it’s comfy and cosy. Scatter the inside of your den with lots of cushions, pillows, sleeping bags, airbeds and soft toys to give you something soft and squashy to sit on and snuggle up with.
3. Just Add Fun
Dens are the perfect place for games, movie-watching, reading and midnight-snacking. Stock your den with a few tasty snacks and lots of fun activities for hours of entertainment in your new home-within-a-home. Don’t forget the password!
Finally, here are a few very important rules to follow to make sure your outside den building is safe and fun for everyone:
1. If you’re building an outside den, make sure you respect the environment and don’t damage anything that’s living there.
2. Only build your outside den in your own garden or somewhere you have permission from the person who owns the land.
3. Always tidy up after yourself when you’re finished with your den and don’t leave any litter. The best den builders leave no trace!
4. Make sure an adult is supervising your den building and aware of what’s going on
5. Don’t use anything too heavy as the roof or main structure of your den in case it falls; you don’t want to get hurt!
6. Don’t use anything breakable to construct your den, and don’t take anything breakable inside your den. Accidents happen and sharp edges can cut you.
7. Make sure you ask your parent or guardian’s permission if using any furniture to build your den
And finally have fun, be safe, and build the den of your dreams!