How to build a simple den with kids

How to Make a Den

You know when you see something so simple and genius and have to share…….

As a child I spent hours building Dens which we call Forts in Canada

We went to Lollibop UK last weekend at Hatfield House in Herts, a lot of it was targeted at younger children but we noticed an area on the map for Den Building and Bear Grylls Survival which we thought would be great for slightly older children.  We eventually found ‘ Den City’ (clever name) tucked behind the main tent.  My initial reaction was ‘is that it?’ as it was just a series of ropes tied to the trees.

Den Building for Small Gardens

But boy was I wrong, the girls aged 6 and 7 were supplied with a series of sheets and clothes pegs.  The girls were completely engaged and spent a good hour or hour and a half building dens.

How to build a den

I was inspired and have now hit the local charity shops for sheets and curtains, Wilkos for clothes pegs and the local DIY shop for some rope and tent pegs.  We now have a basket of den building supplies, perfect for keeping kids entertained during the school holidays.  Our garden is tiny but we do have a tree so this should work a treat.  I’m all up for anything that gets the kids outside and develops their imagination.

Win a Plus Plus Mini Basic 1200 Interactive Building Kit from Toyella

I hear you ask ‘What is it?’

Plus Plus are an a building kit from Denmark with a difference.  The simplicity of the design,  two plus symbols stuck together,  provide endless opportunities for creativity.

Interactive Building Kit for Kids

I was thrilled when Toyella resurfaced on Twitter and we reconnected.

‘More time has allowed me to break out of my Twitter coffin Kill Bill style.’ via @toyella

I’ve run competitions for them in the past and genuinely love their stuff.  Carl, AKA The Head Honcho, is offering 5 prizes to my lovely readers!

First Prize: 

Plus Plus Mini Basic 1200 piece set

4 Runner Up Prizes:

Mini Basic 100 Piece Sets

To enter simply use the rafflecopter form below.  Full Terms and Conditions are at the bottom of the form.  But in short UK residents only 18+.  All times quoted are EST and competition closes on the 25 May 2013.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Photo Credit:   The photos are not of the actual prize.  I have ‘borrowed;’ the photos from the Plus Plus Facebook Page.  I hope they don’t mind. ;-)

This competition is listed on Loquax, Prize Finder and Competition Hunter.

Virgin Money Launch

I was recently invited to a ‘secret’ event that was being hosted by Richard Branson at the Senate Building near Russell Square.  I had a sneaking suspicion that it was linked to his new banking venture with Northern Rock, but beyond that I really didn’t know what to expect.  However, as Branson is known for being a bit wacky and intrepid with his adventures, and there was beer on offer I thought I’d make the trip into London to see what it was all about.

Even with this limited information, I managed to persuade Helen from Actually Mummy to join me.  We weren’t disappointed with the surprise!  The 3D projection on the Senate building was amazing and we had front row seats.

If his new adventure is a success, in 20-30 years, if I’m still around, it will be great to say that I was there when Virgin Money launched back in 2012!

Neighbours are at it again!

Our neighbours are at it again.  We’ve been suffering their building works since Mar 2010.   We are normally fairly laid back people and really did like our neighbours; we even drove the boys to the hospital when their father had a stroke.  However, we’ve fought the extension tooth and nail every step of the way.

We objected to the plans on two occasions, the first set were refused they made a few small changes and second set went through to our horror. We’ve had the building inspectors out, called Health and Safety on numerous occasions due to lack of safety equipment, had Environmental Health out as they are burning everything including plastic and god knows what else, called the Fire Department due to unattended bonfires and had all my twitter buddies write to the local council.  It did make them stand up and take notice.

Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to do anything about it.  Once planning permission is granted there’s really nothing you can do to stop it.  It really is disgusting as they’ve been allowed to build on 70% of their garden and it grossly overlooks our property.  I showed video to two planning officers who are friends of friends and they said they have never seen anything like it.  We’re resigned to it but just want them to finish so we can get on with living undisturbed.

As its winter, we haven’t been spending a lot of time in the garden so we hadn’t noticed the latest infraction.  Long before Christmas they were retiling the roof and removed the guttering.  Tonight we noticed that they have removed approx a metre of our guttering, which means that the water from our house including two of the neighbours is pouring straight onto our flat roof extension, bear in mind we’ve had monsoon like rain in the last few days.  For reference, our house is on the right.

I popped around tonight, to politely ask when the builders would be back to rectify it and apparently they’ve run out of money and don’t know when it will be fixed.  I’m sorry, but this isn’t acceptable and not our fault so I will be contacting the council tomorrow and if I don’t get anywhere I will be contacting the authorities as this seems to be ‘wilful damage to property in my books!’  Following that our next step is a solicitor.

I have asked them to replace the guttering and if they don’t we will at their expense.  I will only put enough guttering on so it runs onto their house!  They have also damaged the rendering on our house.

Have any of you experience this?

Any solicitors in the house want to write them a letter for me pro bono?

What should we do?  I don’t feel it’s fair that we should incur any costs.

I’m a Grumpy Old Woman. Are you? Help yourself to a badge.


I love building dens!

I used to love building dens as a kid.  According to my mum we used to spend hours doing it.  My sister and I would use every sheet in the house and any piece of furniture we could move.

After dinner tonight we set about building a den with Madame, using EZ Fort.  It was brilliant fun.  The only thing I would suggest is never build a fort with someone who has an engineering degree or you will get comments like this….

‘Doesn’t have a positive enough fixing’

‘If you want to build a box structure to make it stronger you always need diagonals, you know crane jibs…’

‘You need multi-angle points on the joints or you can’t put them in at right angles…’

For goodness sake, we’re just building a Fort not the Eiffel Tower!

For the most part the construction kit was great, easy to assemble and we could construct it indoors, which is a must here in the UK.  However, if I was going to purchase one for myself I’d probably opt for the Toobeez Life Size Building Set, the next model up, as it looks sturdier.  We found once we constructed it and draped a few blankets over it, it collapsed.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have a light weight sheet big enough.

All in all, it was great fun.  I’m going to let you in on a little secret….this isn’t the first time I’ve built a den since my childhood.  Look what I built in a 5 star hotel a few years ago!  Weirdly room service didn’t bat an eye!  I’m just a big kid.