Conor Lewis was already a creative guy. He has a BFA degree in Graphic Design from Western Kentucky University and worked on video productions for Fortune 500 companies; planned economic development projects and community events; and produced, directed, and wrote Dirty Laundry, a documentary about cancer-causing asbestos. When COVID-19 struck, he was working on revitalizing downtown Alton, Illinois. That project came to a screeching halt, like so many others, and Conor was out of work.
When Conor watched his wife and toddler make pillow forts with the sofa cushions and blankets and, over and over again, it all came tumbling down, he revved up that creativity to find a better way. He devised a system of 12 blocks of foam in different shapes, tweaking the design and getting feedback from the parents of toddlers, until he had it just right. Foam building toys were not new, but Conor’s main mission was to make sure the pieces stayed together. So his final design, which he called FORT, has various-shaped foam covered with a durable, low-maintenance fabric with sewn-in magnets that keep together forts, castles, caves, spaceships, reading nooks—whatever a toddler can imagine!
The flexible polyurethane foam is solid enough to make any construction sturdy, but cushiony enough to be a soft landing in case of slips or trips. It is also light enough for children as young as three years old to move around the pieces by themselves. The foam is compliant with CertiPUR-US standards, meaning that there are no ozone depleters, flame retardants, mercury, lead, formaldehyde and phthalates. Also, the low VOC keeps indoor air healthy.
The foam is covered with polyurethane leather that is in compliance with all US safety standards for dangerous chemicals. The fabric is soft to the touch and waterproof and can be wiped off with mild soap and water. Even grass stains wipe off (just do not leave the FORT out overnight). The removable covers have zippers with a locking hood so that children cannot open them. protects children from opening the zipper or getting pitched by them. The fabric comes in colors that fit in with any decor: grey, blue, pea green, kelly green, teal and purple.
Neodymium is the strongest magnet in the world. FORT has 124 of them held in place by a dual-layered leather support patch stitched on the inside of the covers with nylon thread and reinforced with adhesive. The magnets are strong enough to keep any configuration together while kids crawl in and out and around them, but not so strong that toddlers can’t pull the pieces apart to create a new FORT.
FORT comes with 12 blocks: 4 rectangles, 2 squares, 2 triangles, 2 arches, and 2 half moons.
Each block is 5 inches deep; other dimensions vary from 13 inches to 26 inches. When stacked in its “resting” tower configuration, FORT measures 26 inches by 26 inches by 30 inches for easy storage in a closet or a corner.
FORT Optional Accessories
- Strap: Makes it easy for Mom or Dad to move the stacked blocks from room to room. The strap keeps the pieces together, and two heavy-duty handles make it easy to lift and carry.
- Microsuede Cover: Turns the stacked blocks into a bench or footstool if you want FORT to be out of sight.
- Blanket: Made of lightweight synthetic down with magnets to create a roof or canopy—or is just nice to snuggle up in.
- Light: Illuminates a “deep, dark” cave or a reading nook. Rechargeable LED lights give off a warm glow and attach to any of the magnets.
FORT Safety Considerations
- Consult your doctor if a child has medical implants or devices before buying.
Please note that there is a non-magnetic FORT for those unable to use the magnetic one.
- Family members with pacemakers need to keep a safe distance.
- Keep sensitive electronics away from the FORT. Phone, laptop and remote control are not that sensitive. A credit card not in a wallet is.
- Like all children’s products, FORT underwent several tests to detect sharp points, sharp edges and small parts. FORT passed several third-party safety and quality control tests to receive the Children’s Product Certificate.
FORT Environmental Commitments
Foam and fabric don’t last forever, but do not throw them away. FORT can replace or repair any pieces that are damaged. Most often, only the covers need to be replaced.
FORT will be offering patch kits with extra thread, magnets and fabric, so you can do repairs yourself if you want.
FORT is adamant about not filling up landfills. If you are done with your FORT, contact them and receive help for proper recycling. Or you may be able to donate it to someone.
FORT seeks to offset their carbon footprint by working with non-profit organizations that assist companies in this area.
FORT donates a portion of profits to climate control-focused causes.