Den-building is a great way to spend quality time together, and it’s a true team activity. Older children can build without intervention from overly-eager grown-ups, but the most fun is found if everyone gets involved. Even the smallest children can collect help peg out, gather leaves and add decorations and flourishes. Take a look at the suggestions below for inspiration, but there’s no rule-book - imagination and natural spontaneity often produce amazing results.
The Den Commandments
- Respect the environment!
- Please don’t damage the den site; true den-masters leave no trace.
- Always tidy up after yourself.
- Look after living trees and plants: they take years to grow and seconds to destroy.
- Check whose land you are planning to build on: you don’t want to be chased off halfway through and you don’t want to upset the neighbours.
- Be safety aware.
Simple Tent Shelter
Tie your rope around two upright supports - a fence post/tree/climbing frame/stake in the ground will all do nicely. Make your canopy by draping your tarpaulin over the rope and pegging out to form a tent. Pop in the ground sheet - and bingo you have a simple den.
Tie your rope around the top of a bunch of bamboo canes or long sticks and wrap your tarpaulin around, secured with rope at the top. Open out the tarpaulin at the bottom and secure with your pegs into the ground. Pop in the groundsheet, and in you get.
You’ll need a few uprights for this structure - which is essentially a tarpaulin roof and sides draped over a frame, secured in place by pegs with a ground sheet floor. We’ve seen some great examples of super-sized cave structures made with multiple Den Kits and a team of masters.
All dens can be improved by adding embellishment - whether to camouflage or to stand out from the crowd. Bunting, flags, a windsock or a sign can help to make your den as individual as you are - whereas natural materials such as moss, sticks, stones, ferns, leaves and fallen branches will help your hide-out to disappear from prying eyes.