Kids in the Cave playing with flashlights

Cave Adventure: Caving at Home

Caving at Home

Building a fort is one of the coolest things to do as a kid. No matter what decade you grew up in, forts are a childhood must-have. In “Caving at Home” you are making an indoor cave, essentially you want to get the darkness factor and the rocks. There are options to decorate them with stuffed animals like bears and bats. Or add in some cave formations with soda straws hanging from the ceiling like stalactites or drinking cups on the floor like stalagmites. Even tall wooden dowels can be columns (when a stalactite and a stalagmite meet). If you really want to get technical, try to avoid the formations. However, we will just go over the basics of creating the Indoor Cave.­

You will need: Boxes (Large), Packing Tape, Dark Sheets, Lunch Bags, Newspaper

  1. Start with a clear area. 
  2.  Use a variety of large boxes to create a circle.
  3. These will be the walls of the cave. Tape them together to secure them in place to avoid any unexpected cave collapses. 
  4.  Drape some sark sheets over the boxes to create a ceiling. Be sure to leave an entryway to enter the cave.
  5.  Fill paper bags with balls of newspaper. Seal them shut with tape or a stapler. Round the bad with your hands to resemble rocks. Scatter throughout the cave.
  6.  Now you have a cave! Decorate! Explore!

As a background to your cave adventure, you should probably know about speleothems, which are cave formations. The main types are stalactites that hang tight to the ceiling and stalagmites that might reach the ceiling one day. The formation of any speleothem takes an extremely long time. As each drop of water leaves a tiny amount of mineral residue on a cave ceiling, floor, wall, or other features, it adds to speleothem growth.  When a speleothem is broken, it will not be replaced within our lifetime, if ever! Therefore, cavers must be extremely careful while exploring.

Family observing formation speleothem in Cave of the Mounds a place to visit in wisconsin