Den Play Activities and Den Building Ideas

den play activities and ideas

“A den is the child’s chance to create a home away from home that is secret, and becomes a manifestation of who they are”

– David Sopel

Who didn’t build a homemade fort out of bed sheets when they were little? Den building and den play brings a lot of joy and happiness to childhood and engages children for hours with endless role play adventure opportunities!

Children just love creating their own little imaginative world and hideaway, where they can make up their own rules, scenarios and language – and den making gives children an exciting opportunity to think outside of the box and create secret worlds that no one else knows about! This gives children a great sense of independence and introduces challenge and risk into their environment as well.

Not only does den play spark a child’s creativity and imagination, but it also helps to improve their physical development, communication, language, teamwork and problem solving skills as well. Den play is essential for a child’s development and learning, so let the little ones imaginations run wild with these fun den play activities and ideas! No adults allowed…

Top 10 Kids Den Building Activities & Den Play Ideas

Build an Indoor Den

Majestic hidden castle? Mysterious bear cave? Magnificent space rocket? Wherever the imagination takes you, indoor den making gives children heaps of pretend play opportunities due to the large range of den making materials that they can use inside – whether that’s building a rigid den from cardboard or a draped den with fabrics, ropes and pegs!

Build an Outdoor Den

Take den making to the next level! Head out into the wild and create the ultimate outdoor den. Building a den in the fresh air gives children a healthy opportunity to explore the natural world and use different materials – whether that’s creating a protective outdoor shelter with weather-resistant fabrics or using the EYR Ultimate Den Making Kit or getting mucky with natural materials such as sticks and branches.

Create a Sensory Den

Stimulate the children’s senses and create the ultimate glow in the dark experience! Using a blackout den, a UV mat and a variation of UV glow toys, this will give children an exciting and new experience of light and colour, whilst heightening their senses.

Make a Musical Den

Elevate the children’s mood with an enlivening musical den! Provide the children with a range of musical instruments that they can take inside their play den. Then ask them to perform a series of musical rhythm games, where they have to play instruments as quiet as they can, then as loud as they can!

Set up a Reading Den

Calling all bookworms! Create a relaxing space and let the children nestle down with a book in their own cosy dedicated reading nook. Decorate the den with soft seating and fairy lights to create the ultimate tranquil reading zone, which will encourage children to read.

Narrate a Story

Storytime! Inspire the children’s imagination. Gather a small group of children in a large darkened den with torches and ask them to create an improvised story together to build up teamwork. Let them take it in turns to add a new section to the tale and watch the innovative narrative unveil.

Visit the Seaside

Who says building a sand castle is only for the seaside? Bring the beach to you! Using sand, buckets, spades, moulds, grabbers and more, you can design your very own beach setting inside a den. Drape sky-like fabrics over an open space, fill it up with sand and there you have it, you’re at the seaside!

Create a Small World

Add an extra dimension to small world play! By combining small world play with a den, it takes the children’s imagination to the next level. Whether its animals, cars or fairies, small world play inside a den makes children feel as though their imaginative world is more extraordinary and secretive.

Have a Teddy Bear Picnic

We’re going on a bear hunt! Time for a teddy bears picnic party inside a garden themed den. Ask the children to bring along their favourite teddies and enjoy a range of miniature-sized tasty delights and games, such as pass the parcel or five little bears number rhymes.

Create a Sensory Ball Pit

Simply, fill up your den with balls, and you immediately establish a fun tactile sensory experience for the children.

Time to inspire creativity…!

Don’t forget to let us know what the children’s favourite den play activity is on our Facebook or Twitter.

Looking for den making equipment and resources?

Explore our wonderful selection of Den Making Resources – including den making kits, tools, materials and accessories for children. We also have a FREE downloadable Den Making Guide & Resources as well.

den building resources

David Sopel, Developmental Psychologist

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