So I am lucky enough to have grown up in a house with a big yard. Although it comes with a lot of yard work, I grew up having a ton of fun and my kids have a blast here too!
We have hordes of bamboo that grows very fast and needs cut back multiple times every year. It can almost feel like a full-time job. The plus side is that we have tons of material at the ready for creative play.
I grew up making teepees in the yard with my dad, so when the kids asked to make a teepee I was excited and quickly collected the materials.
I like to use 4 poles because it seems like the sturdiest teepee you can get with the least amount of fussing around with sticks.
We use bamboo because there is so much of it, but any sticks or poles will do. Old mops and brooms are a good starting place, but you could buy brooms at your local dollar store if you don’t have any old things lying around. *Hint – You can always ask relatives or neighbors if they are getting rid of anything that might work for this.
If your neighbors have bamboo they will probably just give it to you, if you are willing to cut it down. This type of gardening lopper is what I have found works best to cut a few sticks or pieces of bamboo. (I am not adding this to the cost of the teepee cause if you don’t already own a pair there are cheaper options for your base).
ATTENTION: For legal reason I insist that only an adult should use cutters, but if you grew up in a farming community, like I did, you know that kids should be carefully supervised until they have gained your trust. Even then accidents happen so the “mom in me” likes to encourage supervision!
You can use string, twine, yarn, rope, nylon cord, or zip ties. Just make sure you wind it around the top enough times to make your supports feel sturdy.
I won’t insult your intelligence by trying to explain specifically how to fasten your poles together with every type of fastener, but I will say this step is easier with a second set of hands.
We even wrap fasteners around the individual poles, and sometimes interlock them, to help keep our teepee sturdy even when it shifts or when we move it to a new location (mostly to mow the lawn).
If you have a good many sticks and fasteners you can make many different shapes of tent or “fort” so feel free to experiment with different shapes.
Keep in mind that you want a solid base and sturdy fastening because you don’t want it to collapse or fall on anyone if they bump into a support.
We used an old bed sheet as our teepee fabric this time. It looks like it served as both the mattress cover and top sheet so it is much bigger than a normal sheet and worked great as a teepee.
Fastening the Fabric
If you have smaller sheets or blankets you could clip them together with alligator clips, safety pins, clothes pins, or hair fasteners.
Wrap the sheet around your teepee frame like a coat, and use at least one of your fasteners to clip it together at the top, sort of like buttoning a coat at your neck.
We used a large safety pin. Use your best judgement on what would be best for your space. It gets pretty windy here so we wanted something with some “staying power”.
Keep it Creative
We have used all of these different methods over the years because if you use what you have, you can save yourself a trip to the store!
We don’t fasten the fabric to the frame in many places because the kids take it off and use it as a blanket to lay out in the grass sometimes. They have also been known to move things around in the yard and make larger fort structures.
We hope you have some great memories of making teepees with your family, and if you don’t we hope you are inspired to spend some quality time building backyard hideaways.
Who doesn’t love a good place to relax in the yard? Do you have a favorite outside sanctuary at your house? How have you made your yard a special place in your life?
Thank you so much for spending time with us today. We hope you stay happy, healthy, and well and keep having fun!
Kat & Family