Snow forts are super cool, but if you don't make them right, they don't last long. But there are some easy ways to make sure you have a snow fort that will survive kids playing (and maybe even wow the neighborhood).
Make sure you pick a nice level spot for your snow fort, and get the kids to help you pack down the snow so you have a good sturdy surface. Then think about how big you want it (you don't need a degree in architectural design, just a basic idea). You can even use sticks to mark out the perimeter.
Do Some Ground Work
Shovel out your little space (square, circle, whatever you've decided), and pat down any snow that's still left (since you won't want to dig too close to your grass) with the back of the shovel or let the kids stomp it down so you have a nice smooth bottom surface.
Make Bricks or Start Stacking
There are two ways to build your walls: Bricks and free form. Bricks definitely look nicer and give you a nice sturdy structure that will last. Free form will let your creativity flow and may be more fun with the kids. and if you do it carefully, you'll still get a decent amount of stability.
To make your bricks: Fill a rectangular shaped plastic container (like Tupperware etc) with snow. Make sure you pack it in really well. Then stack your bricks around the perimeter you've made. If your snow is too soft and fluffy and your bricks are crumbling, add some water to give it a better consistency. Stack your bricks around the perimeter, and then for the next level, make sure the brick overlaps the two below it. If you are going more free form, just start piling the snow up around the squish it down firmly (again, if it is falling apart, add some water to your snowy mix to make it more durable.. If you choose this method, make sure the base is wide, and then make it thinner as it goes up.
If you are putting a roof on your structure, really make sure to use a lot of water to freeze the snow that you are packing, to avoid any possible cave ins. A safer option (and one the kids can do without your supervision, would be to use some old cardboard and cover it with a thin layer of snow. Or even a sheet or some towels just to keep the wind out. Once you've finished building, fill in any cracks, and pack on some extra snow to smooth it out. We'd recommend taking a bucket full of water and pouring it over the outside in order to make it last longer (especially if the kids start playing in there and hit a wall).
Stumped for a design? Here are a few of our favorite ideas to get you started.
Love this multi-level castle! Built strong enough for kids to stand on it with lots of frozen snow and even a slide.
Great idea from: BuildLLC
Don't feel like going all out with the building? Pile some snow around a trampoline for an instant roof.
Great Idea From: All For the Boys
By the power of Greyskull!
Great Idea From: The Infinity Plane
Well, that's one way to solve the roof problem. An old sheet would work wonders!
Great Idea From: The Chive
And if you don't want to go out in the cold, but have some old recyclable milk jugs cluttering up your garage, this is a great option.
Great Idea From: Princess Pinky Girl
Or you could just make one for your pet.
Great Idea From: Buzzfeed
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