Make Your Own Lean-To Shelter

Great Civil War Projects You Can Build YourselfWhat You’ll Need

  • 2 branches between 3 and 4 feet in length, with a Y at one end of each.
  • 5 branches between 4 and 5 feet in length
  • Old blanket or towel
  • Heavy cord or kite string

What To Do

  1. Push the two branches with the Y at the ends into the ground.  It will be easier if you find a part of your lawn that is fairly soft.  (Note:  Make sure you get permission from your parents to build the lean-to in the yard.  You do not want to disrupt any part of the lawn that is beautifully landscaped!)
  2. Now take one of the longer branches and place it across the Y sections.  Even though it should be a snug fit, you should use some of the heavy cord or kite string to secure the branch into place by tying a few knots.
  3. Now take the remaining branches and lay them against the top branch at an angle.  Carefully nudge the ends into the dirt; this will help keep the branches from falling down or blowing off in the wind.  (Note:  the longer the branches are, the more room you will have in your lean-to shelter!)
  4. Drape the blanket or towel over the branches.
  5. Sit inside your lean-to shelter and try to imagine what life was life for the Civil War soldiers.  It’s also fun to sleep out in your shelter.

Variations to the outdoor lean-to:

If you don’t have access to a backyard full of branches, you can use any sort of stick or pole that you can find.  For instance, you could use broom or rake handles, ski poles, or garden stakes.  You could build your lean-to up against the wall of a building.  If you decide to do this, you may need some other stabilizing sticks in order to hold it up.  If you need to build your lean-to inside, build it up against a bed, couch, or other object that is a good height.  In both of these cases, be careful that the lean-to is stable and that it won’t fall on top of you if you’re under it.  Do this by using rope or other material to stabilize your lean-to, making it solid enough for you to spend time in it!

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