Gone Outdoors

How to Build Tents for Kids

by Joe Fletcher

Building tents for kids can provide hours of fun and entertainment for both you and your children. The actual building process can be an educational experience, allowing your child to share in its design and construction, while the tent itself will be a great place for your child to play and escape.

Build a tent indoors. This is an excellent activity for a rainy Saturday and is sure to stimulate your child's imagination. All you really need is a large sheet or blanket. Drape the blanket over a table, desk or back of a couch. Pin down the corners to the floor with books or other available heavy objects to keep it taught and open and---voila! You have a tent for your child.

Expand your indoor tent. Use several blankets or sheets draped over pieces of furniture to make a tent that extends further and has multiple rooms. Get your child's input on how the tent should look and flow. It's usually best to do this in a child's bedroom so there's not a big tent occupying a living room or other multi-purpose room.

Do some camping activities. Once your tent is built, add to the experience by telling stories, shutting off the lights and using lanterns or flashlights, making a campsite snack like 'Smores or playing camping related games like a "treasure hunt" aimed at gathering food and supplies. Continue to stimulate your child's imagination by having him input ideas of things that you'll need.

Allow your child to explore the tent on her own. While playing games and reading stories together is fun, the tent offers a nice escape and your child might appreciate being able to hang out and play in the tent alone.

Build an outdoor tent. Even if you don't have a fancy tent from a sporting goods shop, you can build a makeshift tarp tent pretty easily. While it may not protect from rain and snow, it will still be a fun place to play.

Tie a rope between 2 trees. The rope should only be about 4 feet or so from the ground, but this will depend upon the size of the sheet or tarp that you're putting on it. Tie the rope around before fully knotting it and test the tarp to get the right height. Then secure with knots.

Once the rope is up, drape a tarp or sheet over it. Secure the corners of the tent using a stakes or rocks.

Let your child enjoy his tent in the "great outdoors."

Items you will need
  • Sheets, blankets or tarp
  • Rope
  • Books or anchors


  • If your child enjoys the tent, consider purchasing an outdoor tent for sleepovers and backyard camping.


  • Avoid using heavy objects on furniture to secure the sides of an indoor tent as they could fall and cause injury.

About the Author

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.