Out of activities for the kids? Steal some inspiration from these pillow forts created by families staying at home around the world.

By Libby Ryan
May 05, 2020
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Credit: Courtesy TK

Families all around the world are finding new ways to turn their homes into a haven during the coronavirus pandemic—and to keep the kids entertained for just a few more moments. So they're turning to the sleepover classic: a pillow fort. It's a universal and well-loved tradition for good reason (who doesn't love taking all the pillows in the house and making a comfy structure?). Plus, it changes up the scenery during yet another stay-at-home day. Here's how families around the globe are surviving quarantine by transforming their homes into cozy fortresses.

Some filled theirs with toys.

The Dube family of five in London, England, are staying home in their flat, trying to get some fresh air into the house. "We are a very active family, so I was most worried about losing our outdoor time, but we’ve all managed remarkably well," mom Amanda Dube says. "We had the forts up in our living room for three days/nights and each night they would become a little more elaborate. My daughter, Emmeline, slept in her fort through the night and even had breakfast in the fort the next morning. They’ve been taken down for now, but I don’t think they will be the last of our quarantine forts!"

Others geeked out a little.

The Bochnar family lives and travels around the U.S. in an RV, but they've paused their travels from Florida to Montana in Tennessee during the crisis. Dan Bochnar explains,  "Every once in a while they will go in the back of our 34-foot motorhome into their bedroom and start making a pillow cave. We have four boys, three of them are old enough to participate in this activity and love it. The neat part about it all is the interest to build this fort was sparked from my 5-year-old wanting to do school on his computer in the cave. 'Have at it,' I told him!"

You can use beach towels.

James Bryan and his daughter have been staying home in California and "mastering the art of pillow-forting."

"It keeps my girls entertained pretty much all day while my wife and I work," he says. "It’s really nice because if they construct one large enough, we get a break in the evenings as well. Normally we don’t allow food in their rooms but we’ve made an exception, only in their house."

Or go all topsy-turvy.

Bronwyn Hillebrand in Sydney, Australia says, "Kids don't need an abundance of toys. Just an imagination and lots of old blankets. They were so proud of their creation. It reminded me of my childhood watching them."

Some are extensive.

The pillow fort was a group effort for Vimarsh Mehta and family, quarantining in Olney, Maryland. "I was channeling my inner child and thinking about what a 6-year-old and 3-year-old would enjoy doing together," he said. "We've had it up a few days now and so far we've spent a lot of time in there having various meals, talking, playing, hunting for Easter eggs, and watching movies. We've attempted to sleep in it overnight but we haven't gotten the kids to agree to an all-nighter there just yet."

Or just big enough for two.

Aunt Ankita Megotia is quarantining with her extended family in Patna, India. "The kids are bored out of their wits. They have been indoors for almost a month now. They are getting restless," she says. "Sometimes it gets a little difficult to keep them focused as they want to go out. But we explain to them how dangerous it can be and they understand!"

But all of them are a celebration of family life.

California mom Alyssa Babauta gave birth to twins earlier this month (eight weeks early) and has been adjusting to this new family normal. "Our daily life it’s a little different now, especially during these times with alternating trips in and out of the NICU, but trying to maintain some sense of normalcy, keep our daughter at home entertained and soak up as much of this extra family time together as we can," she says. "The pillow fort was a fun way for us to reinvent the space she sees every day and make it and her feel special—bonus, it stayed up for days!"

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