This one doesn’t take much explanation: Kids love hanging out in boxes. Or more specifically, big boxes. Dad U guarantees that if you bring home a packing box that once held a refrigerator, you will be awarded hero status instantly. Cats are the only animals known to be more enthusiastic about spending an afternoon in a box, but they don’t count because they struggle to remain conscious. Kids prefer to stay awake, particularly when their box(es) has been assembled into an enormous fort (AKA “Princess Castle” if it’s for girls). After constructing several under close owner/occupier (O/O) supervision, I’ve noticed the recurrence of several definitive features that attract near permanent residency during the lifetime of the structure.
photo © 2009 John Veldboom | more info (via: Wylio)
(1) A box-fort almost always exists in the most inconvenient position possible (see point 4). Many O/O’s seem to actually consider and pre-approve this feature at the outset of construction. In particular, I suspect that possession of a Y chromosome leads to consideration of all such projects primarily in terms of “overlapping fields of fire”. Dad U’s advice is to either avoid heavily defended positions, or bring the heat (see Dad50 #11). Male O/O’s tend to goad you to attempt the latter.
(2) Building codes and certificates do not exist for box-forts; occupants tend to move in as soon as the first room has a door. O/O’s are then likely to insist on supervising the remaining construction from the inside. Such enthusiasm seems significantly at odds with appropriate safety policies, given the major method of construction involves energetic use of a box cutter.
photo © 2010 The Mighty Tim Inconnu | more info (via: Wylio)
(3) A box-fort should have enough space for at least 3 occupants. Previous experience seems to indicate three as some kind of magic number. A single occupant can easily fill up the space on their own, so it’s advisable to attempt to incorporate enough square footage for at least a sibling and a friend. Anything smaller will NOT discourage O/O’s from making the attempt to cram that many in anyway. The resultant giggling fit can lead to premature seam, roof or wall failure.
(4) The standard lifespan of a box-fort is in the order of 2 weeks, or around 10 days longer than the O/O’s Mom would prefer. As the builder you will be required to redevelop the site at that time. This will invariably place you between two powerful opposing forces; those determined to remove the eyesore, and environmentalists attempting to enshrine it as a National Monument. Either make sure the O/O is appraised of the demolition schedule, or be prepared for them to metaphorically lie down in front of the bulldozer. And we know environmentalists can get a bit emotional over their cause.
-a kids box is their castle