Indoor Den-Building in 5 Easy Steps

I feel that indoor den-building is a key parental skill. I can absolutely guarantee that if I build one, there will be joy on my children’s faces when they find it, and then giggles and contentment for some time to come – a bonus for me and for them! I like to prepare it secretly, whenever possible, as the surprise element makes it all the more exciting.

So, here’s my Indoor Den-Building in 5 Easy Steps guide to creating a successful den…

Indoor Den Building in 5 Easy Steps

Indoor Den Building

The Den-Building Space Decision

Make it as big as you can afford to use, bearing in mind they’ll want that den up for some time, and pop down a play-mat or similar for added indoor fun.

Indoor Den-Building in 5 Easy Steps

The Chair Positioning

Crucial. Ideally, use a few chairs of differing heights. Physics qualifications help here, as you need to get just the right distances apart to make a good size den, without the roof collapsing, or pegs shooting off if too tight – see next stage..

Indoor Den-Building in 5 Easy Steps

The Blanket Drape

A tricky one. You’ll find it will keep flopping and flapping about as you drag chairs and try to fix it. I’d recommend using pegs, so hoping your chairs will accommodate them. Yes, the pegs will ping right off when the toddler starts tugging on the blanket, but it’s all part of the experience. If you also have a play-tent, now’s the time to maximise it and add an extension to the den. It becomes a two room affair then!

Indoor Den-Building in 5 Easy StepsThe Interior Design

Now, you’d be forgiven for thinking that den-building is complete at step 3, as I have left it there in the past and still had two very contented small ones. But, to really crank that excitement up a notch, you need to kit out the inside, too. In this case, I popped a few cars and trains on the play mat, and then set up a little tea party inside the tent. I can assure you that such added touches are very well-received.

Indoor Den-Building in 5 Easy Steps

The Fun

Please, whatever you do, don’t leave it at step 4. Get in there with them and play yourself. A parent is usually a little ones favourite toy of all. It is fun, and if I don’t go in, I don’t get to see these little faces…

Indoor Den Building in 5 Easy Steps

Hope this has helped? Happy den-building!


For other boredom-busters, you might also like Our Top 5 Rainy Day Activities, 9 Bargain Activities for Kids and Painting Fun Without Paintbrushes. Check out the Kids Activities category for a whole heap more, too!

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87 thoughts on “Indoor Den-Building in 5 Easy Steps”

  1. Lol very good tips!! Pur chairs don’t really accommodate pegs so the blanket slips off very easily! So much good fun to be had with a den though, and we’ve been thinking about getting a play tent too. Love the pictures of the kiddies enjoying the den 🙂 xx #thethemegame

  2. I love this. brings back so many memories of growing up and building forts as we call it in america. With the living room furniture. Used to make my mother go mad but we loved doing it after school and on weekend. I can’t wait until my two are a little older and we can do things like this. Lovely and fun. #letkidsbekids

  3. Such cute pictures of your two with their wee heads peeking out! So sweet. And that is the den to end all dens! We have the same tent, but will definitely have to make this porch/annex/awning construction over the Easter holidays. There’s one day’s activities planned! 😉 Brilliant post lovely lady xx

  4. My little ones love making dens too. When I was little my mum used to turn the kitchen table upside down so i could pretend it was a boat!

  5. My three are den addicts! It always seems to be the first thing they do when they get home. All the cushions and blankets in the house get used and the living room is transformed in a campsite! Your play room looks so organised, I am impressed (and secretly wish we had a play room, too!). x Mel

    1. Oh yes, blankets & cushions are in their play tent right now! The play room has to be like that for my sanity!

  6. Now that’s where my den building has been going wrong-I’ve not made it big enough to accommodate a fully grown adult! I have to squeeze half in, half out 🙂 #TheThemeGame

    1. So simple! But, my son keeps banging his head when he’s under the table, so this den is safer until he figured out not to do that!

  7. Great tips. My kids love a bit of den building too. I never thought to add their play tent to it, thanks for the idea! It looks like your two love it.
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

    1. Oh, I do love the surprise element. Adds to the excitement & means I can build it without them getting in the way 😉

  8. I love that you get right in there wth them to join in the fun and more importantly to capture the moment! We tend to make more dens for the ponies and babies (and currently teletubbies) than we do for the real life household members!

    1. Thank you very much! I like it, despite it being overrun with toys – that’s what it’s for, though!

    1. It does seem cool to surprise them, but it’s also for selfish reasons – den-building with them in the room can wind me up!

  9. Brilliant! Love the addition of the play tent. I don’t do this much for Mushroom but used to love dens myself! I had a sister to play with though… So I think I’ll have to do this soon for Mushroom, and get in with him! Great idea for rainy day playdates too 🙂

  10. It’s tricky, isn’t it? We use the bookshelves in their bedroom to weight down one corner of a large sheet, a chair, Tristan’s big leaf to hold up another bit and then tie the final corner to the bedstead. It really isn’t as organised as yours!
    Throwing a big sheet over the dining table is a quick and easy way of creating a den:)

    Lovely post.

    1. Definitely an easier method, though the little one just repeatedly bangs his head then! When he’s a bit older, we’ll move to that method 🙂

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  12. Couldn’t agree more – den-building is an essential parenting skill!
    I built one for the boys last week, it took up almost the entire lounge and they LOVED it! They could even sit in it while playing their video games. I was a big hit that day! 🙂

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