Mindful family


A blog about mindful living, health, parenting and money.

Winter doesn’t even technically start for another five days but I just put the finishing touches on the coolest snow fort I ever built. 


As a kid I loved building snow forts but haven’t had too many chances to do so as an adult.  This year I was determined to become a kid again and build a good one. This fort will act as a viewing area / change room for our new skating rink which I also built this Winter. You can see the photos below. In today’s blog post I will share some keys strategies I learned while building this fort: 



1. Clear an area first and make little mounds of snow on the side to use to fill your blocks after. 


2. Overall it took us 4 hours spread over three afternoons to build this cabin. So plan accordingly. If I was doing it on my own, it would probably take me 5 or 6 hours. I was happy that the whole family chipped in. 


3. To make the walls, fill up recycle bins with snow when it’s 0 degrees or warmer. Then you flip them and build blocks like you would with a sandcastle. I have three different sizes of recycle bins. I used the really big one for the first two layers and got the walls up to 4 feet. Then I couldn’t lift the big bin so I switched to the medium size one to build an additional layer.  After each layer, I filled in the cracks on both sides with loose snow to make smooth walls. In order to build up the remaining 3 or 4 feet on the sides, I used a small bin and filled in the cracks as I went. 


4. Build the whole cabin up to 4 or five feet and then carve out the door with a piece of wood or a hand saw. It gets a little hard near the end before you carve the door because you have to climb the walls to get inside to fill the cracks but it's worth it to get a nice smooth door. 


4. Use an old window. I used this old 50” x 18” window that we took out of a home renovation project earlier this year. I kept it aside instead of sending it to the dump. It’s pretty easy to add just about any window.  You just set it after your first layer of blocks and then pack snow around it and add blocks on top. Because this window was so wide, I had to add additional support down the middle and now it looks like I have 2 windows.  It’s probably easier with a smaller window. 


5. Use other leftover building materials for a roof. I used 6 left over sheets of siding and folded them all in half to make a peaked roof.  Other ideas are using sheets of old paneling. Or just sliding branches across the top. You can also build a roof of snow but I prefer not to have a fully enclosed snow fort in case it ever collapsed when the kids were inside. 


6. Use your snow strategically.  I built this fort after only having had one major snowfall.  We had lots of snow but I quickly used up all the snow in the yard.  For the last few blocks I have to get the snow from the front yard. 


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