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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Plan for Inexpensive Reading Nook/Tent

I used to have an actual tent in my classroom that I used for the reading nook during independent reading time.  When I took it home to wash it, I put it in the dryer!  Needless to say I no longer have a  reading tent...

Ever since then I've wanted another cozy reading nook.  The kids loved the tent and so did I BUT...it posed a slight problem.  I had to strategically place it in my classroom where I could see inside it at all times and no more than two students could use it at a time.  One day I had an epiphany!  Build one that is open on all sides.  

Originally I was thinking of building something sturdy out of two by fours and stapling the fabric to it.  After discussing my idea with my mom, she suggested PVC pipe because it is cheaper, lighter, and can be taken apart and easily stored away.  

This is one of my latest projects.  It's in the planning stage but I thought I would share it with you. 

PVC pipes can be cut to any size.  They are found in the plumbing section of Lowe's or Home Depot.

You will need eight of the corner pieces that fit the pipes three ways.


The next step it to determine how tall you want the tent.  I want mine at a height where the children can crawl inside and sit up comfortably but cannot stand.  I was thinking three to four feet.  This sounds silly but I am very visual.  Next week the students return.  I was thinking of having a couple of my taller students sit up straight so I could measure and then add a foot for extra head space.  You will need four pieces at whatever height works for you.


There are a couple of different ways you can design the shape of your tent (aka reading nook).  You can keep it simple and get all the rest of the PVC pipes cut the same length to make a square. 

I prefer to have four longer pieces cut and four shorter pieces to make a rectangular prism.  I plan on finding a colorful area rug and then measuring the length and width.  If I have the PVC pipes cut this way, then the tent can fit directly over the rug.  I have a tile area in the back of my room where this would work perfectly.


Finally it's the fun part!  

Decorating! 

I want to either get a decorative sheet or a curtain for the top of the tent.  Most sheets and curtains already have a place where you can thread the pipe through.  If I need to size it to fit, it wouldn't be hard to sew a straight line.  If you have no sewing talent and the length does not work out to simply thread it through there is always just stapling it.  I know it sounds tacky but it works.  

The children should not be messing with the canopy.  You would only thread it through two of the pipes (front and back).  The side pipes (depending on the height can have see through curtains hung or netting.  There is always just leaving all four sides open.  I like the idea of two sides covered and two open.


Sheets can be cut to fit.  You can find inexpensive sheets at yard sales or thrift stores.  I also use sheets to cover "messy" areas in my room since I do not have a lot of closed cabinet space.  Notice the sheet on the left side of this picture.  It just looks so much neater this way.  Underneath it I have several bins of different shapes and sizes that house my seasonal materials.  

In the green bins on the top of the shelf are stuffed animals or reading buddies.  I plan on placing one of the bins beside the tent so that the students can take a reading buddy or two inside to read with them.  I want the tent to fit three to four students comfortably with a couple stuffed animals.

What do you think of this idea?

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