I set about making a play tent for my kids that I could hang from some of the trees in our backyard. This is my end result.
The kids love it, and spent all morning and afternoon playing in it, hauling their toys and books out there to read and play to their hearts content.
To make it, I took 3 twin size flat sheets I had picked up at my local thrift store (at one time or another), and a large scrap of fabric 18" w x 30"L as a header to kind of designate the front opening, and stitched them all together on their long sides (except for the header piece which I stitched it's short sides to either side of the front sheets). I folded the top edge over and stitched it to form the casing. Then I took a hula hoop and pulled it apart at the seams where it joins together, then threaded the hula hoop through the casing on the top edge of the sheets. Once the tent was threaded onto the hula hoop I then pushed the two ends of the hula hoop back together again, thus forming the top of the tent. I attached some rope to the hula hoop at four different spots and knotted them in the middle and attached a carabiner clip, then using the same rope, I tied a large metal ring to one of the branches of the apple tree in the back, so I am able to hang up the tent and take it down just as easily when needed.
These go together quite quickly, and since there is only straight stitching involved this is a very easy project. The hardest part is maneuvering the yards and yards of fabric since you are working with 3 twin size sheets after all, but it's still not that hard. Also, if you don't want to cut the hula hoop, you could make this a bit more time intensive and make some fabric tabs that button closed and stitch them at even intervals all around the top of your sheets instead of making a casing. That way you could unbutton the fabric part and toss it in the wash if you ever needed to. I may try that version another time, but for now, this is it, I just wasn't feeling patient enough that day. Sometimes I just want to keep it fuss free and as simple possible, and for me this was that way. Definitely not fancy, but fancy was not my main objective. So there you go, a quick and easy way to whip up a fun place for the kids to escape the heat and stay cool in the shade.