Afternoon Inquisition

Sunday AI: Forts!

My friends the Bug Chicks released a new video this week about a group of little insects you’ve probably never heard of:  Embiids, or webspinners.  It was, as usual, adorable and informative.

And it also made me remember how much I loved making forts as a kid! Couch cushions! Trees! Blankets! Snow!
Just about anything was fair game.  All you really needed was a lot of imagination and the ability to do some basic problem-solving.

What happened to that? I’m not the only one that made forts as a kid, right?

Do we just get told that forts aren’t cool, and stop building them? Or are we actually converting our adult spaces–cars, bedrooms, etc.–into forts?

I can’t remember building one after 5th grade, but I also moved to Texas then, which had fire ants.  Not conducive to outdoor forts.   I also learned in 6th grade that locking my bedroom door was a pretty effective fortress as well.

I miss forts.

Do you have a fort?  Why or why not?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3pm ET.


Bug_girl has a PhD in Entomology, and is a pointy-headed former academic living in Ohio. She is obsessed with insects, but otherwise perfectly normal. Really! If you want a daily stream of cool info about bugs, follow her Facebook page or find her on Twitter.

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  1. @bug_girl

    I don’t really see the point of “forts” in my house so I don’t have them. Cool video by the way, I don’t think I’ve seen that show before.

  2. I built a cardboard box fort after helping a friend move last year. It was super great! Then I crawled inside and it was really hot in there and my 30 year old knees weren’t nearly as happy about crawling around on the floor as they used to be.

    In the future, I’ll leave my fort building to Minecraft.

    That said, pretending to be Godzilla and knocking down the fort is /still/ loads of fun.

  3. I haven’t made a fort in years! I was thinking about putting up sheets and stuff around my bed to close it off in a fort-like fashion. My ceiling probably couldn’t handle it though =[

    I have lots of mini-forts for my cats. Every time we get a cardboard box, it ends up a cat-place. (We have lots of boxes everywhere.)

  4. I don’t remember doing any fort building but I do remember playing on an old foam mattress with some friends and pretending that it was some kind of a super-speedboat with which we’d either pursue or escape from bad guys. I even remember the exact speed that we imagined our imaginary boat to travel – it was ten thousand million billion kilometres per hour which, you have to admit, is pretty good for an old foam mattress.

    The mattress had a sort of red tartan-is patterned covering which is pretty racy. I loved playing on that mattress although, when I was playing by myself, it wasn’t a boat but a spaceship. I’m not sure how fast that could go but it was probably pretty fast.

  5. I have made forts recently, in my house, because my nieces (aged 7 and 4) wanted to. Some are blanket forts. Some are couch forts. Some are made out of couch cushions.

  6. First, the obligatory xkcd link:

    Secondly: When you’re young the blankets and cushions are HUGE and it doesn’t take much resources to build a comfortable fort – especially since you’re typically smaller and more flexible at that age and more tolerant to odd positions. To make a comfortable adult blanket fort you need a lot more blankets than are just lying around.

  7. I spent a lot of time building elaborate pillow/blanket forts as a kid. And that’s also why I love ‘Community’

  8. I’ve built walls
    A fortress deep and mighty
    That none may penetrate
    I have no need of friendship
    Friendship causes pain
    It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain

  9. The last time I made a fort for myself was actually last year. I had to move my mattress for some reason and when I was about to move it back on to my bed, well… inspiration struck.

    I made the mistake of using a standing mirror as a a support and my dog knocked it over onto my head. The overall experience before that was AWESOME though.

    Also I’ve gotta say, the extra challenges of making an adult sized fort as opposed to a child sized fort serve as discouragement.

    That said, I have just realized that the arrangement of furniture in my room would be perfect for fort-making….

  10. Can’t remember building any forts for the last 25 years or more, but if I ever get to build my own house it’s going to have an astronomy tower. At least it will if I can manage to get a location that’s both central and away from light pollution.

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