I work at a small library in a rural community. Last summer our very talented Summer Reading Program coordinator spent an afternoon making fairy houses with the children. What excitement! First an expedition was mounted to the nearby woods to gather materials; then homes fit for fairy royalty were constructed. There were two things about this activity that struck me
- The obvious enjoyment of the children-I had expected the younger ones to enjoy this activity, but everyone loved it. Boys, girls, and all ages from preschoolers to tweens had fun that afternoon. In fact it was voted one of the most popular events of the summer.
- How keen the children were to talk about their creations. As I went from one house to another the young architects were eager to tell me about their creations. Even the shyest child couldn’t wait to tell me about the special features they had built especially for the fairy owners to enjoy. It was wonderful.
You will need
- A container to collect materials, in our case the container was also used as a base.
- Your imagination
If possible visit a park, or nature reserve, and ask everyone to search for materials that can be used to construct and decorate fairy houses. Emphasize that only found materials can be used, as fairies will know if you destroy or pick anything living.
Good materials for building might include fallen leaves, bark from dead trees, twigs, pine cones, stones, feathers, dropped flower petals, nuts, seeds, seashells.
If you are unable to go to a park, you will probably find enough materials in your back yard; alternatively you can still do this activity with crafts supplies.
Now you are ready to start building! There are two options
- Build your house outdoors. Find a suitable place to build and work together to construct and decorate your house. If you have several children you may want to create a fairy court with several dwellings.
- Build your house indoors. This is what the children at our library did. We made shallow boxes from card stock, which acted as bases. The children built their houses around the bases using the materials they had gathered outside. We also provided some surplus craft supplies to add a little pizzazz.
Helpful craft supplies might include, fabric scraps, silk flowers and leaves, ribbons, craft sticks, beads, shells, gravel, jungle bells. I would encourage you to use what you have on hand, rather than buying anything extra. It just adds to the fun! You might also need a hot glue gun for indoor building.
Although you will be working on this project together, I would strongly encourage you to let your children take the lead. Try to focus on the process rather than the end result. It really doesn’t matter if the finished house looks a little lopsided, as the fairies won’t mind a bit. The most important thing is that you all have fun together and make connections. As you work encourage conversation about who might live in your house.
- What are their names?
- What do they look like?
- What work they do?
- What do they do for fun?
Encourage your children to make up stories about the adventures of these little people and prepare to be amazed by your young storyteller’s imaginations.
There are all kinds of benefits to this activity. Your children are outside enjoying nature, something that is really beneficial. It also encourages healthy, imaginative, and creative play. But best of all it creates a wonderful opportunity to make memories and build connections.
And you get to make a fairy house! What could be better than that?
I hope the photographs I have enclosed will provide some inspiration. I would also encourage you to read the blog post The Fairy Houses of Mackworth Island. It has some lovely pictures of fairy houses built in an outdoor setting.
If you make a fairy house with your children I would love to see a picture. You could upload your photographs to a photo-sharing site and send me a link, or you could visit my Facebook page and post your picture in the album Fairy Houses.
This is a pretty safe activity, but there are a few cautions
- Supervise the gathering of materials, and caution your children about eating anything they find!
- Supervise the use of a hot glue gun.
I hope you enjoy this Jump-Starter.