Tepees, like forts, are popular play items that help kids use their imaginations. Retail stores sell packages with ready-to-build sets for prices of up to $500, but you can make a version that will make your children equally happy by using things from around the house. The construction is simple, and the entire process takes less than 20 minutes to complete. Best of all, your children can participate in both the construction and decoration of their new hangout.
Choose the tepee material. You can use an old sheet or a lightweight blanket. It should be mostly square in shape (twin size sheets do not work well), or you can fold a large rectangular sheet or blanket in half. Choose something that you will not mind cutting.
Find 4 posts. Rather than searching through the woods to find long sticks, you can choose items from your house, such as brooms and mops. Paint roller extenders also work well. When using these items, keep the broom or mop head at the bottom. Some cleaning tools can be unscrewed from their handles.
Build your frame, starting at the top. Tie the tops of the posts together with a string or rope. Wrap the string or rope around the outside of the posts, as well as weaving in between each post several times. Tie the string or rope tight enough to hold the posts firmly. You can cut the string or rope later to pull the tepee apart.
Separate the bottoms of the post legs to create a square about 3 feet long on each side.
Cover your frame by tossing the blanket or sheet over the posts. Align the corners of the blanket or sheet with the post legs.
Cut a circle in the sheet or blanket at the top of the tepee to fit the tied post ends through. Start cutting just above where the rope or string connects the posts. Cut horizontally around until you reach where you began. Pull the fabric down to allow the posts to stick out.
Attach the fabric to the bottoms of the posts. Place a rubber band (or string) around the post and the fabric. This will help keep the cover taut.
Cut a door in one of the four sides of your tepee. Start at the center of the fabric at the bottom of the tepee. Cut upward, going in a straight line about 3/4 of the way up the tepee.
Decorate the tepee. Have your children help you decorate the outside with stickers or, if you are daring, paints.