Building an outdoor den is one of the most simple but fun things to do with your children. We look at some garden den kits and outdoor den ideas for you to try with your kids.
It’s so natural to want to build a den as a child. I’m sure your kids have used anything they can find around the house like bed sheets, blankets, and pillows to build a cosy hangout. Why not use this instinct and take things one step further? There are a number of garden den kits for kids along with plenty of materials you can buy online to make the perfect outdoor den with your children.
Whether you’re thinking of den building for imaginative play or just to make a safe place for kids to escape to when they need some alone time. We have got you covered on how to create the ultimate hideaway for children (and adults) to enjoy! Don’t worry; all of the ideas listed here only require very simple materials and basic DIY skills. However, you will need to provide a tonne of imagination. Take a look at our outdoor den ideas and see what you can come up with yourself.
We’ve all seen dens like this while out on a walk! A super simple way to make a den is by using natural materials. Encourage kids to use trees to help with the structure of their shelter or show them a couple of pre-built examples of your own so they can study them and learn from you.
Firstly choose an area that has a lot of long sticks on the ground, large leaves, and sturdy trees. You may need to take some string or some other basic supplies with you but ultimately, the kids should be able to build a shelter using mostly natural materials. Cover it with large dry leaves.
If you want to take things a step further and make sure your den is fully waterproof, follow our simple steps below.
So, what will you need to make a den outdoors?
If you enjoy the outdoors and like going camping you might already have these items at home. The list itself though is basic and you can pick up these bits quite cheaply. You can reuse them all, meaning endless den making and hours of fun!
A strong and waterproof material. We have picked out a few for you listed below.
Line or rope
Paracord is ideal. We have picked out a few for you listed below.
Any you have spare at home will do or you can buy them here.
Follow our simple steps to make your own den
Building an outdoor den with your kids is a great way to introduce survival skills at an early age, as well as promoting creativity, communication, and teamwork.
Step One: Choose a suitable area between trees. Make sure that the trees are super sturdy and check for any loose branches, you don’t want them to fall off the tree onto the den whilst playing.
Step Two: Run your rope or paracord between the two trees. You can use some bungee ties for a quick way to secure the den and without causing any damage to the tree.
Step Three: Drape a tarpaulin or waterproof material over the cord.
Step Four: On one side of the tarpaulin, run some lines from the tarpaulin to tent pegs. On the other side of the tarpaulin simply peg it into the ground.
Step Five: Finally, it’s time to decorate! You could add fairy lights, blankets, anything you want to make it your own.
Take a book out with you and have story time in the den or even a picnic. A great way to be fully immersed in nature. Incorporate creative writing and encourage kids to write stories about their own dens. A great way to spark a story is to talk about who will visit your den when you’ve gone? Will it make a new home for woodland animals? Who could they be? Maybe the Gruffalo will come and visit?
Try these ready-made garden den kits
There are lots of different types of garden den kits you can buy. Some are very basic, but other ones include a lot of extras that your kids will thank you for! They make a great Birthday or Christmas present for adventurous kids.
1) The Den Kit Company – The original outdoor den kit
Encourage immersive, exciting, imaginative outdoor play with the authentic Original Den Kit.
A handy haversack bag contains a robust and durable tool kit for den-building, enabling children to create their very own outdoor hideaway. Offering every child an outdoor experience whatever the weather. Includes a wonderful handmade Shropshire wooden mallet.
Contents: All are ethically sourced where possible from the UK. Khaki haversack bag, made from cotton with a useful shoulder strap for easy carrying (hand wash or machine wash at 30 degrees). Camouflage tarpaulin made from tough, waterproof polyethylene (rot-resistant). Green groundsheet in durable polyethylene, waterproof, and rot-resistant. A beautiful, unique, and functional handmade wooden mallet fashioned from Shropshire coppiced wood complete with bark. Iconic enamel mug. Face paint – great for camouflaging yourself in the woods. 10 metres of strong, natural jute rope. Eight steel tent pegs in a useful drawstring cotton tent peg bag. Minimal packaging.
- Encourage immersive, exciting, imaginative outdoor play with our authentic Original Den Kit as outdoor play returns to its roots.
- A handy haversack bag contains a robust and durable tool kit for den-building, enabling children to create their very own outdoor hideaway - Made for adventure.
- Offering every child an outdoor experience whatever the weather, our Den Kits have been lovingly designed to capture creative imaginations, encourage resourcefulness and innovation, provide escape and sanctuary, and most of all supply hours and hours of simple fun.
- Includes our wonderful handmade Shropshire wooden mallet with an imagination-capturing rustic look.
- For boys and girls, for everywhere and for years to come - the gift of adventure.
2) Kids camouflage garden den making kits
This outdoor den kit looks really impressive when built, great for imaginative play. Many of us have forgotten how exciting the simplest things in life can be. There’s nothing more thrilling than building outdoor, real den-making. Adventure is lacking in so many children’s lives. Far too many have never learned basic building and bushcraft skills for kids.
Contents: 3m x 2m camo net, 33ft of 4mm paracord, 10 x 7″ wire tent pegs, 2 colour face paint stick and a camo shoulder bag to house everything.
3) Nrkin Kids Construction fort building kit
Great to use indoors and outdoors, this den kit sparks creativity and imagination in children. Perfect creative toys for 2-3 or more children to play with. Kids working together to plan and solve problems, construct different creative structures.
Contents: Many sticks and 36 balls. This magic-making set allows your child to build forts of all shapes and sizes! (Blanket Not Included.)
- ✅ Spark Creativity and Imagination: Perfect creative toys for 2-3 or more children to play. Kids working together to plan and solve problems, construct different creative structures.
- ✅ Construction Fort Building Kit: Includes many sticks and 36 balls. Our magic making set allows you child to build forts of all shapes and sizes! (Blanket Not Included.)
- ✅ Perfect educational toys gifts on birthday, holiday, Christmas, Halloween, new year!
- ✅ Easy to Build & Durable: Made with solid and premium plastic, simply insert and twist the rods into the balls, builder connect in a few seconds and easily disassemble, no structural collapse. Come with a storage bag, portable for indoor and outdoor activities.
- ✅ Flexible Stem Fun for Boys & Girls: Our kid's ultimate forts builder kits is designed for child aged 5 and up, they can build a cave, play tent, rocket, house, igloo, princess castle, tunnel, teepee, toy tents, pirate ship, just add a bed sheet to create a hideaway.
What about a Teepee?
Teepees have become really popular and are great for children who love to use their imagination but love to be warm and cosy too. Also a great winter alternative. There are lots available online or you could get creative and make your own? Make one as elaborate or as simple as you like. We’ve picked out a few great ones for you.