How to build a den!

Children young and old (and even adults too!) love nothing more than to build a den. It is perhaps because this basic need for shelter is buried so deep within our DNA that it feels so appealing. Since human beings first existed, creating a safe haven has been one of the highest priorities for survival.

Give any child the opportunity to build a den and their eyes will be wide open. It’s pretty easy to do and it’s a fantastic chance to flex those creative muscles… but here are a few tips and tricks to get you started! All you will need is some branches, some leaves, some mud and your own hands.

Find your perfect spot

First of all, you’ll need to pick the perfect place to build your den. Look for a sturdy tree that you can use to prop your den up against, with flat ground underneath. It should also provide you with a little extra shelter too.

Find your materials

Next up, search for some natural materials that you can use to start building your den. Thick, strong branches are great as they will be durable and last a long time. Prop them up against the tree and make sure they are fully wedged in so that they don’t shift out of place.

Build up the walls

Once your main structure is sound, search for some smaller branches that you can use to prop up between the main branches. If you find enough, you’ll be able to fill in all the ‘walls’. You could then look for some branches with big leaves on them to provide an extra layer. You can also use mud to seal the gaps between the branches, like natural glue.


You might like to leave the flooring natural (i.e., grass or dried mud). Or instead, you could consider finding a small piece of carpet or matting to make it more comfortable.

Once you are happy with the structure of your den it’s time to start finding some furniture for it! Perhaps you could fashion a stool or two out of old logs. What could you find to make a table?

Once your den is built, that’s when the fun really begins! You won’t need to do much to encourage children to use their imagination – before you know it, they will be pouring imaginary cups of tea and warming their hands on a pretend fire. Den-building is something that every child should get to experience. But if you’re short on time (or branches!) you could invest in a ready-made shelter or canopy that can be decorated with leaves – or maybe even a camouflage net! Browse our range here and give us a call if you’d like to talk through the options.