6 Creative Ways to Practice Language Skills in a Blanket Fort

dad and daughter working on language skills in blanket fort

With the holidays behind us, winter ahead of us, and Covid-related concerns on the rise, many of us are finding ourselves with a case of cabin fever. Sometimes it can feel like you’re running out of safe, indoor activities, but one way to get cozy at home with your kids that always feels fun and new is to help them build a blanket fort.

This activity gives them a fun hideout and can also be a great opportunity to practice some thinking and language skills! Here are a few ideas to sneak some language skills practice into your kids’ fort-building adventures.

Executive Function – Before constructing your fort, ask your kids to plan what they will need to make their ideal cozy cave— do they need couch cushions, pillows, blankets, etc. They may come up with creative ideas for doors, windows, and/or decorations. Talk with your mini architect about what steps will be involved in arranging furniture and fabric to create the space. Decide together if there will be rules involved in hanging out in the fort. Older kids might enjoy sketching and labeling a plan before beginning. It can be as simple or elaborate as you like!

Practice Prepositions – If your child is still learning prepositions, blanket forts offer plenty of ways to incorporate prepositions into your games. Talk with your child about entering the blanket fort through the door or a tunnel, going in and out of the fort, draping blankets over the furniture, placing pillows on the floor for seating, and so on.

Working on Directions – Kids are constantly following directions at home and school, and it can be fun for them to call the shots. Be their blanket fort construction worker and ask what they would like you to do next. If they use vague language or incorrect grammar, you can respond in a couple of indirect ways. One is to “misunderstand” what they said so that they will self-correct to be more clear. Another is simply to restate their words more accurately when answering them. These natural forms of correction keep it lighthearted, and are one of our favorite ways to work on language skills!

Pretend Play – There are plenty of ways to incorporate pretend play into a blanket fort. Encourage your child to come up with ideas about what type of place it is—perhaps a store, a castle, a restaurant, or the Batcave—and build play around that. Stuffed animals or dolls can stop by to say hello, attack the fort, take a nap, and more. The options are endless.

Build Vocabulary Knowledge – If the fort is also a top-secret hideout, kids may enjoy requiring a password to gain entry. Maybe the visitor must answer a question or name a member of a category to get in. If your child is still learning personal information like their address or parent’s phone number, these are another way to make sure they can rattle them off to get in.

Reading Nook – A quiet, cozy tent and a cup of hot chocolate (lids are recommended!) can create an ideal setting for getting into a good book. Make sure there’s adequate lighting for your child to take a break from screen time with some reading! Coloring, drawing, or journaling are other creative activities that can supplement your language skill games and may work well if the fort has enough room.

These are just a few of the fun ways you can build language skills while assembling a blanket fort. Get creative and encourage your kids to think up some fun games of their own!

Written by Mary Stanton, M.S., CCC-SLP

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