With just a few lengths of pine, a piece of canvas and a sample pot of paint you can make the kids an indoor tent in a few hours for only $80.
For the poles, you need four pieces of 1800 x 64 x 19mm DAR pine, about $5 each, and three 1800 x 42 x 19mm lengths, costing $3 each, as the braces.
Cut a rear brace to 1200mm and the side braces to 1600mm with a handsaw and drill pilot holes to secure them to the tent poles using 40mm x 8g screws.
To make the frame, drill holes in the tent poles and thread two onto either end of an 1800mm long dowel with a 25mm diameter, about $15.
Let the dowel ridge pole protrude by 100mm at the front and back. Spread the tent poles to form two triangles and add the rear cross brace, securing it to the base of the poles with screws.
Attach the canvas to the braces then drape it over the ridge pole and pull it taut, securing the braces to the base of the tent poles with screws.
We used a 5 x 12ft canvas drop sheet that cost $25 for the tent fabric, or you can buy four metres of 1500mm wide cotton for about the same price.
TIP For a themed or colourful tent, let the kids personalise the canvas with fabric paint or sewn-on decorations.
Lay a drop sheet on the ground and position the four timber tent poles and three braces, painting them on both sides and the edges with two coats of white acrylic using a roller, sanding lightly between coats.
Mark a centrepoint on each tent pole 200mm from one end and use a holesaw to drill a 25mm hole for the ridge pole. Use a combination countersink bit to drill pilot holes 30mm from the ends of the braces.
Position the canvas right side down and lay a brace on a short side 40mm from the edge. Pull the canvas taut and fold it over the brace, attaching it every 200mm with a staple gun. Repeat to attach the other brace.