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Building a Den

Posted by Gav Grayston.
First Published May 2013; updated May 2023.

Here are some simple steps to building a den outside for your kids. A den is great in the back garden, on a picnic, or when you go camping.

Building a Den is a simple and fun thing to do in your back garden, on a picnic, or when camping.

Kids love building dens, and I'm sure your kids have used their bed covers, towels, sheets, or anything they could find to build a den.

At home, they need nothing more than a sheet, some chairs to prop it up, and their imaginations.

But with some better materials, you could easily make a den for outside. This will take their play to a whole other level.

What you need for Building a Den Outside

The basic materials you need are:

  • A Tarp - these are waterproof and tough
  • Some line - paracord is ideal
  • A few tent pegs

If you do any camping, then you would probably have the basics (you can read about using tarps to create shelters when camping here).

The above list is pretty basic, and although kids are great at making do and using their imaginations, you could make it even better.

Den Kits

There are a few Den Kits you can buy. Some are quite basic, but others include a lot of extras that your kids will love.

Bear Grylls Dangerous Den Kit

The Bear Grylls Dangerous Den Kit

One of the best den-building kits is the Bear Grylls Dangerous Den Kit from BattleBox.

This comes with some basic ingredients for creating a mini-camp and den for your kid.

Building your Den

Below are some simple steps for constructing your den in the woods.

Making a Den in the Woods

Making a Den in the Woods

  1. Select a suitable area between trees. Check for any loose branches - you don't want them falling off the tree onto the den.
  2. Run the paracord between the two trees.  Tip: you can use some bungee ties for a quick way to secure it to the tree without damaging it.
  3. Drape a tarp over the cord.
  4. On one side of the tarp, run some guy lines from the tarp to tent pegs. On the other side of the tarp, peg it into the ground.
  5. Finally, theme the den. Add blankets or anything else to make the den cool and fun.

The BattleBox Dangerous Den Kit comes with things like sandbags (though you can fill them with dried leaves), a camo net, a 'danger' sign, a flag, a camo tarp, some paracord, tent pegs, a mallet, chocolate, snaps, cards, and a backpack for it all to fit in.


Eating 'tacos in the bag' in the den

Of course, once the den is set up, that's when the real fun begins.

Have a look at the Capture the Flag game. You can use your den as a base.

Here's a fun video we made...

YouTube Video Thumbnail

See Also