Make-A-Fort Review: What To Expect From This Hands-On Toy

A fort can provide hours and hours of fun for children. Everything from the build to the play to the inevitable destruction allows children to unleash their imaginations in new and exciting ways.

And because a fort requires problem-solving and structural thinking, it also makes a wonderful toy for STEM learning!

The right fort isn’t about materials — in fact, a fantastic fort can be made out of almost anything. Which might have you wondering: what’s the point of Make-A-Fort? What can these fort building kits accomplish that innovative kids can’t already?

The Make-A-Fort Explorer Kit takes fort building to the next level. With this complete kit, your child’s imagination can run wild, not held back by incompatible materials.

Make-A-Fort is a fabulous STEAM activity for kids who love hands-on play. In this guide, we’ll give you a complete rundown of what you can expect from Make-A-Fort, and how it’s revolutionizing the world of fort building.

What Is Make-A-Fort?

Make-A-Fort is a US-based, family run company that specializes in flat pack forts. A kit from Make-A-Fort includes everything needed to make your own compact fort, and multiple kits can be ordered to create incredible designs.

It’s fort making, with none of the awkward struggle of trying to find one last piece to use for the roof!

Fort making is a hands-on way for kids to play. It gets them away from screens, encourages critical thinking, and lets the imagination run freely.

Even when building a simple blanket fort, a child has the benefit of problem-solving, hand-eye coordination, planning, construction, social cooperation, and fine motor skills. It also boosts creativity and imaginative play!

The Make-A-Fort Build Kit provides all these things, in an easy to use (and reuse) package.

Make-A-Fort is designed for children aged 4 and up, and for group or solo play.

What Do You Get In A Make-A-Fort Kit?

Make-A-Fort only sells one type of kit. This is the Explorer kit, and it’s an improved and updated version of the original Build kit. Included in a single kit are 20 panels, 18 bracers, 18 connectors, and a carry case.

The connectors are used alongside the panels to build the walls of whatever fort you can dream up, while the bright yellow bracers add extra strength to the corners and roof of your fort.

The panels and bracers are both made of upgraded cardboard, a stronger and more durable type of cardboard. The connectors are constructed of a dense foam.

Panels, bracers, and carry kits are all made of recycled cardboard, and can be recycled when you’re done with them!

Make-A-Fort doesn’t sell a variety of kits. Instead, you decide how many Explorer kits you need. One is good for a single young child, but two or three kits are recommended. Buying in bulk can get you a discount.

OUR TOP PICK

Make-A-Fort Building Kit - Build Really Big Indoor Forts for Kids - Get Kids Off Screens and Engaged in Creative Play - Durable, Reusable, and 100% Made in USA

Pros

Strength And Durability

If you’ve ever built a fort out of cardboard, you’ve probably watched as it all comes toppling down with a single awkward bend.

But with Make-A-Fort, you have a cardboard fort with actual durability. In fact, the cardboard used to make these panels can hold up to 6 times the weight of normal shipping box cardboard.

Even the bracers and case are strong, so you can guarantee your Make-A-Fort pieces will hold together much better than the standard cardboard fort.

Because of these bracers and connectors, the cardboard panels of the fort rarely have to hold a great deal of weight. That means reduced wear and tear, for a longer lasting fort.

Of course, everything is still cardboard, so there are limitations. Only play outside with Make-A-Fort on a calm, clear day. Keep the panels away from water, and watch out for any wind.

Make-A-Fort is strong, but not strong enough to hold a child. Children should not climb on top of the fort.

Multiple Designs

One of the most fantastic things about the Make-A-Fort is the sheer number of designs you can create. Especially if you’ve bought multiple kits. But even with a single kit, there’s plenty a child can do with their Make-A-Fort.

Before you start building, take a second to look at the Make-A-Fort website. They have some ideas and designs to get you started. It can help to follow one of these designs at first, so you can see exactly how Make-A-Fort fits together.

From there, the only limit is the imagination (and how many panels you have).

Use the Make-A-Fort kit to design castles, tunnels, and play areas. If you have any pets, the Make-A-Fort can be used to build a fun obstacle course to test your pets' intelligence. And if you have children who like to engage in Nerf battle, then even a single kit can be used to build safe houses for each team.

Artistic Expression

The outside of the Make-A-Fort is covered in outline drawings of playful characters, and the inner walls are plain. The cardboard panels were designed to be colored, and crayons, markers, and paints can all be used to liven up the fort.

We really like this aspect, as it allows children using the Make-A-Fort to explore different types of STEAM play. Putting together the fort tests your math and engineering skills, and the fun characters encourage artistic expression.

Once your child has made their fort, they can sit inside and work on decorating the walls! A versatile toy that still provides interest even after kids have tired themselves out with the build.

Reusable

Cardboard forts tend to be a one-and-done kind of toy. But with the Make-A-Fort, you can pack away at the end of the day, and bring it all out again the next morning. The strong cardboard panels can stand a fair amount of jostling and movement, even with kids who love roughhousing.

At the end of playtime, the connectors and bracers just need to be popped out, and the fort collapses down easily. This can even be a fun part of play — see how many pieces you can take out before the whole fort collapses.

And then all the panels can be tucked neatly into the carry case!

Are There Any Downsides?

As you might expect from a cardboard based kit, the Make-A-Fort doesn’t hold up well to wind and rain. If you plan on building outdoors, then you have to wait for a day with perfect blue skies.

There’s a lot you can do with a single kit, but two or three are necessary to really unlock the potential of Make-A-Fort. That means prices can quickly add up.

And while the panels are durable, they’re still cardboard. Don’t expect Make-A-Fort to last forever.

Honestly, there isn’t much we don’t like about the Make-A-Fort. The downsides are what you’d expect from a cardboard fort, but the increased durability and range of uses makes up for any shortcomings.

Who Would Benefit From The Make-A-Fort?

Make-A-Fort is aimed at children aged 4 and up, with younger children needing some help to put the panels together. From ages 6 and up, kids can generally work out the panels by themselves (even if they need a helping hand at first).

Make-A-Fort is useful for introducing and developing an interest in engineering, art, and math. It can also help with physical skills, such as hand eye coordination, and fine motor skills.

What Make-A-Fort Kit Should You Buy? (And Where Can You Buy It From?)

The Explorer kit by Make-A-Fort is a fantastic starting point, and the 20 panels included should be enough for smaller children. However, two or three kits really increases the range of forts that can be built.

The recommended kit from Make-A-Fort is the bundle of three. This comes with a slight discount, and 60 panels. With this, you can create some truly impressive build.

All the kits fit together, so it’s easy to expand as your children grow.

Make-A-Fort can be bought from Makeafort.fun, and Amazon.com.

Make-A-Fort Review: What To Expect From This Hands-On Toy

Final Thoughts

Fort building is a wonderful way to encourage a child’s physical, artistic, and social skills. They’re also fun! Forts can be a group effort, a solo adventure, or a bonding activity between parents and children. A fort can be an excellent STEAM toy for an inquisitive child.

With Make-A-Fort, fort building got better. The builds can be bigger and bolder, with none of that awkward struggle for appropriate materials. We love the strength and versatility of Make-A-Fort, as well as how easy it is to expand.

Try Make-A-Fort, and watch as your child’s imagination and confidence grows alongside their fort.

Elena Jones
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