Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Trick My Play Fort - Phase One

The boys have been bugging me to get a post up about their fort project, so I thought I should take a few minutes to do so. A few years ago, we bought this play fort for them. It was a model on the lot that had begun to weather, so we were able to get a great deal on it. The boys were younger, and used it pretty much as a basic playground, though they did camp out in it a few times. 

Well, this year Bird and Rooster decided that it needed some upgrades. They had established the fort as the base of operations for the armies of both of their imaginary people groups. It had become the epicenter of all sorts of dramatic events and battles. Strategic improvements had to be made.

So they began to plan. They had been collecting junk, and with their new plans their junk-collecting intensified. They collected old boards and leftover paint. They collected coat hooks and cup hooks. They saved their money. Finally, over the summer, they were able to implement phase one of their plan.

Bird on the play fort swing, before any changes were made

The boys spray paint shutters for the fort
They pooled their money and enlisted me to take them to the hardware store, where they purchased hinges, little sample containers of paint, and hook-and-eye closures. 

Then they used boards they were given free when we helped to clean out the church basement and leftover spray paint from another project to paint shutters for the fort's windows.

Bird paints designs on his shutters
Once the background was dry, they proceeded to paint designs on their shutters using misc leftover paint and the sample paint they had bought. 

I thought they were just painting random creative designs, until they informed me that the designs were actually the emblems from the shields that the great warriors of their people groups carry. 

Rooster paints designs on his shutters
Silly me. I'd forgotten that they had planned all of this. 

As I was informed, the two "tribes" which came from Bird's people had formed an alliance with the "tribe" that is Rooster's people, and the three parties had established that fort between them forever so that banded as one they might defeat their enemies.

Ok, I know I'm their mother, but that explanation is just so cute I almost can't stand it! If only they'd put this much thought into other things!
Rooster shows off his "No Girls Allowed" sign

They had also been given 2 old signs that already had eye hooks screwed into the tops. They painted over the existing sign, and then painted on their own messages.

"No Girls Allowed"
Clearly they are all boy. 

I did find out that moms don't count as girls, so I am allowed in the fort. So is Aunt Jessica. Others may be allowed on a case by case basis. They did take their great-grandmother in for a tour recently. I think the sign is meant to be more of a deterrent - being as the household across the street has 3 girls! LOL

Bird drills holes for the sign hooks

They hung almost everything themselves. Only 2 drill bits were broken (I broke one of them - oops!). Thankfully, I was able to replace them that day, which made it easier to tell Dad.

Bird hangs his sign

Sign for kids fort: "Please check your gun at the armory"

Here are their finished signs:

"Please check your gun at the armory"
and "No Girls Allowed"

Classic, no?

Sign for kids fort "No Girls Allowed"
In the midst of their plans and preparation, there was much discussion about a name for the fort. Forts have names, after all. Fort Sumter, Fort Cumberland, Fort Washington...

They didn't want to copy another fort's name, though, they wanted their own.

Title sign for kids fort: Fort Histemi
They said they wanted to name it something like "Fort Strong" or "Fort Undefeated" and eventually we came around to "Fort Stand Firm." This, they decided, didn't have a good ring to it, but it was what they wanted it to mean - like how Christians are told to stand firm in their armor.

So I looked up "stand firm" and "stand" from Ephesians chapter 6 in the concordance, and found that the Greek word used there is "Histemi" - pronounced Hi(short I)-stay-me(long E). It means "to stand" as in "the victor is the last one standing in battle". Bingo. We had our name.
I have to tell you, Rooster and Bird conceived and staged the rest of these photos. They came up with the poses themselves. They even directed me as to where to stand and what shots to take. I wish I could post them all. You can tell they have watched a *couple* war movies, and are taking their roles very seriously. It's ridiculously cute!
The boys proudly show off their new, improved fort
Below are their custom painted shutters, representative of their respective imaginary "tribes"
Bird's shutter's
Bird opens his shutters to bark orders
Rooster's Shutters
Rooster commands his troops to charge

Another thing they did was mount various types of coat hooks as gun racks, both inside and outside the fort. One of these racks was purchased by Bird; the rest were free or salvaged.

Here Rooster shows us the official "armory" rack which holds homemade water bazookas and a rubber band gun.

This rack was designated for toy rifles, hats, and bags of critical supplies such as granola bars.

Rooster climbs the ladder here to show us the second level. In the lower right hand corner you can see the side of a plastic storage cabinet. This was given to them for free, and they use it to store items they want to keep out of the weather.

This "gun rack" is the one Caleb purchased, specifically to hold his rubber band gun.

This cheap wooden rack is one I'd bought years ago and we had never used. They painted it and mounted it sideways here, so binoculars can hang behind the beam - easily accessible but out of the way. 

They also figured out how to use the pegs to help them raise and lower items from the ground using a rope or their personal favorite - a paratrooper cord.

Rooster was so serious the whole time he was having me document all this. It was cracking me up!

I did finally get a handsome, normal, little-boy smile out of him, though!!

Here they are, sending up their tool box, and securing it on that last wooden hook thing I showed you.

One final look at Fort Histemi for you. 
Soldiers out front, ready for anything. Little boys are so much fun!!

Bird and Rooster proudly take their posts at the entrance to Fort Histemi
I heard something about phase two the other day - something about a crank and pulley for the drawbridge...we shall see...

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