Become a neighborhood legend this Winter by creating an epic snow fort. Not only is it great fun to play in with your kids, it is a good change to get your kids outside and exercise during the drab Winter months. Follow these simple steps to build a sturdily constructed, built-to-last fort that should handle many a snowball bombardments.

How to Build an Epic Snow Fort:

No Parking Lots. When picking the right location for your snow fort, avoid locations near parking lots because carbon monoxide fumes could potentially collect in the snow shelter.

Size Accordingly. The first step is to measure out the space you’ll need for your fort.  Trace the perimeter of the fort in the snow. If there is lots of snow, trace all four-perimeter walls. If there is minimal snow, plan for one wall with wings.

Bricks’o’snow. Snow bricks are best constructed using beach buckets, loaf pans and tupperware. The best snow for creating bricks and snowballs is moist packing snow, not fluffy powder. Test the snow by making a ball in your hands. If it sticks, the snow is prime for building. If you are in a time crunch, dig your your beer cooler out of the garage and use it to make large bricks quickly.

Stack those Blocks. Start your snow colossus by following the perimeter you outlined in the snow in the previous steps. Stack like a bricklayer would, spacing the bricks a few inches apart, then stacking the next layer with a brick straddling the two bricks below. Have someone follow behind you, filling in the gaps with snow for reinforcement.

Sculpting. Smooth and sculpt the walls of the fort with additional snow, using the smooth side of a snow shovel, trowel or even your hand. The goal is to have  the outside walls to slant slightly for durability, think of a pyramid or igloo.

Coat of Ice. The finishing touch for any snow fort is a coat of ice. Dump buckets of cold water over the exterior and interior walls, working from the bottom up. This will make your fort as tough as nails (or ice).