A Tent in Your Room · 4 April 2009

It seems like every kid makes tents or forts or some sort of hideaway in his room from time to time. Last year, the three boys all made tents in their rooms and their mother made awards for them all. Each of them got an award for “best tent with use of…” They were all so proud of their awards that they still display them.

I remember making tents and forts in the house when I was a kid. When the weather was such that we could not play outside, my brothers and sister and I would gather blankets and throw them over the dining room chairs. We sat around underneath and had campouts. We used our imaginations and had fun playing together. After all, we had to. There were no video games at the time.

When the dining room table was not available, we would take the couch cushions and make a lean-to. We would lean the cushions against the front of the couch to form a triangular fort. We even made double-decker tents with the cushions on the floor leaning against the couch and a blanket hanging across the back of the couch forming a triangle with the front. We could be under the cushions or under the blanket! All four of us could fit into these double-decker tents and have fun for days. Or at least until we had to eat dinner or go to bed.

When neither the dining room nor the living room was available, we made sure that somebody’s bed had no sheets or blankets. At least not on top of the bed. We used blankets and sheets to create lean-tos by shoving part of the blanket or sheet under the mattress and using pillows, furniture, each other, or sometimes just gravity to hold the other end to the ground. We crawled around in the triangular spaces making grandiose plans. For whatever was going to happen next.

Our kids do much of the same things that we used to do to make tents. As a matter of fact, I sometimes wonder if I remember my own childhood more because of my kids. Or maybe, I just place myself into their situations and imagine I did the same things. Regardless, I know that I had a great childhood growing up with my siblings building tents and forts in the house with blankets, cushions, and the like.

I do not know whether my brothers and sister and I ever got awards for making the best tents when we were kids, but I am glad that my kids (even the seventeen year old) have left theirs up from last year. I love seeing the awards for best tent with use of a chair, best tent with use of string, and best tent with use of nothing extra. The awards and the pride with which my children display them help me remember my own childhood. They help me remember that blankets, pillows, cushions, chairs, and string do not just belong in their designated locations, but can be moved and used in accordance with a child’s imagination to create tents, forts, and wonderful memories.

© 2009 Michael T. Miyoshi

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