By now, you know that I’m so passionate about teepees and play tents and how they can be used to enchant, entertain and educate children.
I love that they can act as safe spaces, nap pods, reading nooks, imagination stations, hideouts and fun sibling sleepovers. I love that this is a place where memories can be made for both adults and children.
How can teepees and play tents be used to reinforce positive behaviour?
The trick is to turn every event into a positive event so that your child has positive associations with the teepee.
The child’s brain makes associations and creates habits. If your child associates something to be positive, he or she will seek this out on a regular basis. So, if they associate a teepee with happiness and bliss, they will want to go there.
It’s a good idea to make positive memories with your children. They will after all leave at some stage (18 – 20 years comes quicker than one thinks, believe me).
Start a habit of reading to your child in or near their teepees and play tents. You can put the teepee in the child’s bedroom. Make sure that there is always a box or basket of books in the teepee so that you encourage them to read. If books are easily accessible, they are more likely to be read.
When your child is young, this is a great opportunity for you to bond with him or her through reading. Children love stories. They love that their parents tell them stories. It makes them go on an adventure and is an incredible bonding experience for both adults and children.
If the child’s brain associates the teepee with positive memories, every time the child sees the teepee or goes into it, he or she will release positive chemicals (the brain will, at least). This is crucial if you want a positive child, and later in life, a positive adult.
Go and make memories with your child. Look, it can be a teepee, but it can be anything else. The teepee is just a metaphor for making memories. The trick is to find a spot where the child can feel safe, have positive associations, love and growth. A teepee is ideally suited for this.
Children love and adore adventure. When I was young we used to love building forts, tree houses, go-karts, playing house and doctor/nurse. We played with dolls and action men.
I know things have changed and most things that we did would seem old-fashioned or politically incorrect in this sanitised world, or simply would be just boring. Children can be digital natives these days, not outdoor adventurers.
Regardless of the era, I believe that all children could be encouraged to look for adventure and taught to use their imaginations. I know when they get up to mischief sometimes we worry. However, even the act of getting up to mischief is an indication that they’re sentient, curious and awake.
A teepee can be an imagination station. It can inspire the child to let his or her imagination run wild. Here, the child can be anything he or she wants to be. An astronaut, a fireman, a nurse, a writer, a policewoman, a Mars explorer (thank you, Elon Musk).
Leave a basket of crayons, pencils, pens and notebooks around the teepee. Obviously, if the child is young, make sure you keep safety as paramount. You don’t want your child to swallow anything. Of course the risk is that the child will take the crayons to the walls. EEK. But that’s part of growing up, isn’t it?
Let your child associate the teepee with free-flowing imagination where he or she can stretch his/her brain and imagine anything.
Getting children to sleep during the day can be difficult. If one gives them a cosy and safe space to sleep, it might make it easier.
You can slip a small mattress into the teepee, a beautiful pillow and blanket, and you have a nap pod.
Eventually your child will be able to read on her own. The teepee can make an awesome reading nook.
Hideouts and Safe Spaces
Just like adults, children need alone time. This is where they have an opportunity to recharge and regroup. A teepee can become that safe space where they can just be alone if they want to be.
There’s nothing like the comfort of a loving family and one’s bed after a full day. But sometimes it is good to mix things up a little. This is where teepees come into their own.
Set up a teepee or two in your lounge and get the siblings to sleep there. Perhaps you have a fireplace … It is awesome falling asleep to the crackle of wood and the shimmering of flames.
Make it drive-in night. Set the teepees up in front of the television and put something on from Netflix or Apple TV. Of course, this is also the night for popcorn. No movie night is complete without popcorn, is it?
Powwow Designer Teepees can also be set up outside. If you’re up for it, you can have a sleep out in your garden. Have a braai or make a bonfire. Tell camp-fire stories. Like popcorn is essential for drive-ins and movies, marshmallows are a must for outdoor camp outs. I know that many a fond memory was formed for me whilst melting marshmallows over a fire with my parents, and later with my own children. These memories are priceless.
A beautiful and well-crafted bespoke teepee is a work of art. It can make a great feature in a child’s bedroom, adding to the ambiance of the room.
Don’t tell anyone, but a teepee is also a great place to store the toys that your child invariably leaves scattered all over the floor. Just close the flaps, and you don’t see the toys. A clean room. For a short time at least!
Obviously, if you are fortunate enough to have the space for a playroom, a teepee and play tent will fit right in.
In the final analysis
Yes, a teepee is a practical piece of equipment that serves a purpose:
- It can act as a reading corner.
- A fort or house.
- A place for imaginations to unleash themselves.
- A safe space for your child to be alone.
- A place to nap and take time out.
- A place to meditate (there are many meditation apps for children too)
- A place of entertainment. You know as well as I do that children need very little to entertain themselves. How often have you found them playing with the box the toy came in, instead of the toy? A doll or action figure can keep a child intrigued and busy for hours. Crayons and a colouring book, a no-brainer.
- A place to play and express oneself.
Yes, a teepee is that and more.
It can become a metaphor for connection. This is where you and your child can connect and bond. This is where some of your fondest memories can be made.
A teepee can be the one safe place your child can go to if he or she is disconcerted, disconnected or discouraged. It’s a great space for your child to regroup.
There are lots of toys that can keep a child occupied, but there are few that can claim to provide a place of comfort, a safe space, a place of connection, a place to play, a place to imagine, and a place to just be.
This is the power of a teepee. It’s something rather beautiful to behold.
My name is Celia. I create safe spaces for your children. I create spaces where their imaginations can run wild. I create spaces where their reading skills (and intellect) can be forged and sharpened into something unbelievable.
If you want to have a chat and see what we can co-create for your child, together, reach out to me. I’d love to hear from you. Check out our teepees and play tents.