Build it … and they will play!

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It’s almost February, but we are still smack dab in the middle of a Michigan winter.  The last snowfall we had left about 5-6 inches of what we used to call “good packing” snow as kids.  This was the type of snow that was heavy and a little wet – perfect for making snowballs, snowmen, and snow forts!

A few times over the past few weeks, I have jotted down things in my blogging notebook but never felt like it was enough for a full blog.  Today, while surfing through some of my favorite websites, I came across this picture:

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The picture took me immediately back to when I was in elementary school!  I recalled building a snow fort and having two or three kids who did nothing but make snowballs in preparation for the snowball fight!  We didn’t have a bench, but we had boxes and buckets where the finished snowballs were placed so we’d be ready.

I remember one day in particular – it was either a snow day or a weekend – and it had snowed a lot.  My buddy, Kris, lived down the street and he was outside working on a HUGE hill of snow.  I threw some Wonder Bread bags on my feet over my socks, put on my “moon boots”, grabbed my scarf, hat, and gloves and ventured over to his house.

When I arrived, he told me that he was going to take the hill and make it into a snow fort.  I believe we just started burrowing into the side of this hill making a sort of tunnel to get in.  He had a few shovels of various sizes and we all went to work, being careful to not dig so far that the fort collapsed.  That fort was to look something like this:

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As silly as it sounds, I remember having shelves inside the fort to place things on.  I also remember having flashlights and candles because it was dark inside.  I know we spent a lot of time outside – we were often out after it got dark!

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I always thought it was cool to be inside the fort after dark with the candles lit.  We had papers and drew out our strategies to fight the epic “snow battle”.  As a parent today, I’d be worried to death that the roof of a snow fort like this would fall in on my kids!  I am sure I would probably be outside watching them!!

I would probably end up making forts like this for my kids …

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I don’t recall if it was the following year or not, but making a snow fort got easier (and safer).  I remember Kris, me, and a few other kids in the neighborhood all had these “block makers” that we had seen advertised on TV.  You scooped up the snow and stacked up the blocks!

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When I was growing up, the above block maker was all we could buy.  A search of the internet today showed me that you can buy all kinds of these things today!

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How cool is that?!?  I remember the blocks never being exactly perfect, but they still made some very cool snow forts!  Solid walls!  Perfect protection from the oncoming barrage of snowballs from the enemy!!

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We had so much fun during those winters on Highland Dr.  Just recently, Kris posted a picture of a lot of us outside playing in the snow the last winter he and his family were in the neighborhood.  It was hard to tell from the picture, but we all could very well be in front of a wall of snow blocks.

Preparing for this blog, I can tell you that I found an amazing idea for when my daughter is old enough to play in the snow!  I did a search for “snow forts” and someone posted an idea using wood pallets.  So, you basically build the frame of the fort/house with the pallets – like this:

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This guy ran LED lights inside the thing!!

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How friggin’ cool is that?!?!?  The article I read said to cover the tops with tarp and await the snow!  I am sure my neighbors will wonder just what the hell I am doing when they see this, but when my kids are outside playing in this AMAZING fort/house … they will be jealous and say, “That guy is brilliant!  Look what he made for his kids!”

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Who knows?  Maybe I an borrow a few of my neighbor’s back yards and build this:

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DREAM BIG!!!

Pass me my moon boots … I got a fort to build …. and some sledding to do!

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