Navy SEAL Foundation Challenges Kids to Build Their Best Stay-at-Home Forts During Pandemic

The Navy SEAL community and their children know all too well the feeling of constant worry.

“You think about these kids and the stress they go through on an everyday basis, [what with] the number of dads who are going out the door,” Robin King, the CEO of the Navy SEAL Foundation, tells PEOPLE. “We still have guys deployed all over the world regardless of the virus and now we’re dealing with social distancing.”

And while these children deal with the unique stress of having a father away from home for up to 270 days a year, one of the things they do have in common right now with millions of other children is the restless and stir-crazy feeling of staying home because of COVID-19.

To help bring children together and encourage a “fun thing in the middle of all of this stress,” the foundation created something to keep them engaged.

With plenty of time at home, they asked the children of the Navy SEAL community to make the best stay-at-home fort possible — and the results were all Instagram-worthy.

After receiving dozens of responses, they realized that kids from across the country would also benefit from the challenge. They’re now calling on all children to use items — including couch cushions, blankets, pillows and kitchen chairs — and not only make a fort, but also include a message to the warriors of this country.

“Part of this ‘all call’ is to not only name the fort, but include a message to the warriors of this country: a Navy SEAL or other service members and/or those who work in the healthcare industry, [including] our doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals on the COVID-19 battlefield and frontline,” says the foundation. “This opportunity gives kids a chance to share their voice while also having a little creative old school stay-at-home fun.”

The first case of coronavirus at the Pentagon was a U.S. Marine who tested positive on March 24, and the first Defense Department death was a Crystal City, Virginia-based contractor, who worked at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency and died on March 21.

As of Friday there were 309 current cases within the military — 134 civilians, 108 dependents and 62 contractors — according to the Department of Defense. Of those, 34 in the military and two dependents had recovered.

King, who has been a SEAL spouse for 29 years this April, says “there are so many types of warriors right now between the military, our healthcare system and all the people out there who are helping the economy stay strong.”

Kids can show off their forts and messages by taking a photo (with adult support and approval) and posting on social media channels using #NSFfortchallenge. They can also tag and challenge their friends and classmates to keep the at-home fun going, according to the Navy SEAL Foundation.

Here are just a few forts that will inspire you to make one of your own this weekend.


As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.


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