Writing + Art: A Fort of Your Own

There are many great things about secret play forts. One is that adults are not allowed inside. Another is that you can build play forts anywhere: behind a couch, within a shrub, underneath a table. You can even build a make-believe fort in a painting. The only tool you need is your imagination.

At Arundel, Sussex
George Vicat Cole
Oil on canvas
32 1/2 x 52 1/16 in. (82.55 x 132.24 cm)
Layton Art Collection, Gift of J.M. Durand
Photo by John R. Glembin

Find a painting of an interesting landscape or interior scene that has several potential locations to make a fort.


Look carefully for a  strategic place to build your fort. Remember that you want to hide it and keep it safe from intruders. What materials are available for building your fort (for example, sticks, leaves, sofa cushions, curtains)?


Explain exactly where you will place your fort. Describe the materials you will use to build it; you can use any of the materials you found in the painting. In this fictional world, you are a master builder, so think big. How will you make your fort blend in with the environment? How will you protect it from people- and animals- that aren’t welcome? Don’t forget to invent a secret password so that only you and your friends can enter!


Read the description of your fort. Compare your building materials with those that others used.