Fort Magic Baby Gym

Why make a baby gym out of a fort kit?

I recently decided that I wanted another baby gym for the boys- but they’re expensive!

I didn’t feel like shelling out $50+ dollars for something that we’ll only use for a few months at the most. So I was thinking about ways to construct my own and I remembered about a special activity my students had done a while ago where they used a fort kit to build.

I went off to research fort kits and “Fort Magic” emerged as the clear winner!

Ironically, I ended up spending more money (they’re about $100 here on Amazon) but I’m okay with it because I can think of a million cool ways for us to play with it from now until their teens!)

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Safety note:

The Fort Magic kit is quite clear that it’s intended for ages 3+. It comes with little clips for holding fabric over the fort which are a choking hazard, and the kids also need to be old enough to understand not to climb on the structures. Right now my boys aren’t mobile enough to hurt themselves in either of those ways so I feel okay with it, but I do supervise them carefully while they’re playing with it, and I will probably pack the whole kit up for a while when they’re toddlers. You know your own child so use your best judgement in deciding whether it’s safe for your family.

How do you make a baby gym out of a fort kit?

Fort Magic is so easy to assemble in a million different ways! I’ve tried a few different structures for my baby gyms already. There are tons of pieces so I’ve been keeping two play gyms assembled at a time so both of my twins can play. I try to put a bar over their heads where I can hang baby toys and leave enough room for them to lie comfortably.

Baby Gym Toys:

These links are my favorite and I’ve been using them to hang all sorts of things!

On the back of the above gym there are also a couple of old CD’s with colorful paper glued to the back.

For my other baby gym I printed out some high-contrast picture cards from Candokiddo.

I printed two sets, cut them out and glued them back to back, laminated them, and punched holes at the top and bottom.

Full disclosure: I bought a laminator just for this project.

The scotch brand laminator was only $17.88 at Walmart (Here) and you can get 100 pouches for another $13. This, again, seemed like a worthwhile investment considering all the things I plan on using it for.


I hung the finished cards from the baby gym with one link above and three below.They look amazing and the boys LOVE hitting the links and watching the cards swing around!

I cannot gush too much about how much we love links around here right now- the boys are just now at the stage where they intentionally grab for things and links are such an easy target for their little hands. It’s fun to change things up on the baby gyms so I’ve been adding links to other hanging toys or using them to hang different things.

The best part about making my own baby gym is mixing it up!

I actually built one over an old crib mattress and added some cushions to make a comfortable seat for myself while the babies are playing.

Here is another configuration with swaddle blankets clipped onto the back to diffuse the light and make it more fun;

This one is big enough for two, has taggie blankets for them to kick and arches to toss a cloth over! It makes it feel so cozy!

Making these baby gyms has been a blast and the boys love playing in them!

They think it’s fun to watch me construct new baby gyms around them, and they could entertain themselves for ages swatting and grabbing at links and other toys. Being able to change things around means they’ll never get bored!

Update at 11 months-

Even though my boys eventually outgrew lying to play in a baby gym, I still use my Fort Magic kit to create play forts- beautiful spaces with toys that they can explore and enjoy. I hang lights from the ceiling and use a starry sky tapestry as a backdrop. Their play fort is the best part of my playroom and a totally magical place to be!

As a bonus-

the last time we went to the beach we took enough purple rods and connectors to make a cube, and a few of the fabric clips, and it made an easy and super portable beach shelter that took just a few minutes to set up!

For more ideas about how you could make your own baby play areas, check out our DIY Sensory Play Box for Babies   and our Baby Light Box!

What do you think of our fort magic baby gym? What else would you use a fort magic kit for? Leave a comment and let me know!

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