Six-Sided Tepee

When I was a kid my mom made my sisters and I a tepee. We LOVED it. We set it up in the basement, dragged it out to the backyard in the summer and connected it to blanket forts we’d make with the picnic table. It was the main prop in many imagined play scenarios.

Naturally when I became a mom I felt that a tepee was an essential play item. I started looking for one and came back with a bit of sticker shock. Luckily, my mom also taught me how to sew, and so I decided to make one. I looked up a bunch of tutorials, but almost all of them were for four-sided tepees, which I thought was kind of weird. I wanted six poles to mimic the more traditional conical shape of the tepee. In the end I just decided to cut six identical triangles out of my fabric and see what I could do with it.

I spent a while trying to figure out what kind of poles to use. Most tutorials use PVC pipe or pine poles. I needed this on the cheap, and I didn’t want huge, heavy poles for a little kid to try to wrestle with. I decided that bamboo might be the way to go because it is strong and pretty light weight. I found these bamboo garden poles at Home Depot for $3.00. They are six feet long and about 1/2 inch in diameter. Six to the package. Perfect!

The fabric is actually a couple of sheets I found at a thrift store. I think they cost around $5.00 together. I made contrasting binding for the entrance of the tepee (which is just a slit cut about half way up one panel). The poles I keep together at the top with an elastic hair band.


As you can see on their faces, these kids think the tepee is pretty cool. I must admit, for around $8.00 I think it’s pretty cool, too.



Large-Scale Painting


This was such a simple activity, and so much fun! After seeing how much fun it was to paint large-scale with our feet, I decided to try painting large on the wall. Simply tape a large sheet of paper on the wall (in this case newsprint), and add some large brushes and rollers. N has a roller and was stretching and standing on his tippy-toes to get all the way to the top of the paper and on the wall! I really liked how the roller and 2-inch brushes got these boys practicing their gross-motor skills.


Here Little O is having a go with the roller. You can’t quite tell, but his little tongue is sticking out in concentration.


Painting up and down, flexing those wrists.


Did you notice that it was camo pant day?


The finished product. Overall I really loved this activity. The boys were up and moving around in their natural state of being, rather than constantly getting up and down when seated at a table. They got to stretch and reach and flex their arms and wrists while using the rollers and brushes, and as a bonus, there really was a very minimal mess!