Monday morning we went to the zoo. And got drenched by a torrential downpour as we sloshed through rivers of water back to the van, past a car that had stalled in the middle of the monsoon, abandoned by a wet and distraught zookeeper on her way to work. We literally had to dump water out of our boots and shoes when we got home. This is also why my phone is now dead.
But after I bathed the boys (just to warm them up), I glanced at the clock and felt the familiar old sense of dread. It was 10 o’clock in the morning and I had allllllll day ahead of us. Only now, we were stuck inside, as the rain continued on and none of us were up for an adventure splashing in puddles.
So… I wracked my brain and found, in the depths, an idea. A fort. A pirate fort! With fishing! And a treasure map, and skeletons and costumes and fake bones! And DIY Fun was born.
Just so you know, when Andrew left this morning, he left the living room like this.
And before starting this project, I knew it was going to be big. A big mess. If you plan to do this, you may feel the tug of resistance from your inner neat freak. Kick it in the face and move on. Start with a big blanket (preferably blue or green for the ocean):
Next, gather fort materials. Ours usually includes a toddler mattress which we bring up from the depths of the basement, plus a cardboard rocket ship that we save for rainy or snowy days, but anything will do (including furniture, pillows, blankets, anything you like)!
Once you get going, the possibilities are endless. Build yourself a pirate ship!
We included our scariest Halloween decorations to decorate our ship:
… and made a flag per Milo’s request.
Then, I drew the treasure map and suggested the boys study it while I set up the treasure hunt!
I used this box for our treasure box:
… and filled it with pirate booty (and two pirate lollies for a special surprise). Then, I hid it.
I cut up pieces of white paper to make the dashed lines you usually see on a treasure map, only I placed them on our floor to lead the way for these mini pirates.
They found their landmarks along the way: a fierce shark; a palm tree; a fish pond (where they were instructed to catch two fish each and place them in the basket); a graveyard (to collect two bones each); and finally, x marks the spot!
We found the treasure, Mama!
This was so much fun! Oliver informed me that he needed a “pie-wut’s beewd (beard) and nasty teef” to be a real pirate. We solved the beard issue. I told him not to brush his teeth this morning if he wanted nasty pirate teeth.
I think one of the best parts of this game was watching the two of them come up with ideas on their own. Milo decorated the ship completely on his own. The whole pirate puppet holding a skeleton by his hook? Milo. Oliver suggested the pirate eye patches, which we made out of black construction paper and tape. And for the rest of the day, Oliver insisted on wearing the hook while saying, “Argh! Squervy dawg!” (no, not skervy, squervy).
My sides hurt all day from the laughter.
P.s.- Have fun cleaning up. And don’t say I didn’t warn ye!