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Parents, Get your Child Outside to Make a Fairy House

Updated on October 23, 2013

Connect Your Children with Nature

I spend my days teaching children how to connect with nature. This gives me many opportunities to see joy unfolding. An activity that never fails to do so is the construction of fairy houses. I know that making little houses outside in the woods has been a childhood past-time for generations, but I fear that children nowadays don’t get outside as much as they should. I would love to blame it all on television and video games, but I think part of it is the parents’ problem. Parents may be over-scheduled, worry about stranger danger or just forgot the fun they had playing outside. If you don’t provide opportunities for your children to venture outdoors, it is less likely to happen. This activity is an easy way to provide some outside-time and doesn’t require much by way of preparation on the part of the parents. You don’t even need the woods to make it happen!

Start with a Great Book on Fairy Houses

I like to introduce the idea of fairy houses by sharing some books with children by my favorite author on the subject. Tracy Kane wrote the Fairy House series of books. The flagship book in the series is simply titled Fairy Houses. Check your local library for availability. I like to start with this book, as it explains one child’s experience with fairy houses and it leaves it up to the reader to determine if it was a magical experience or if fairies are just all good fun in the world of pretend. This book also has a great environmental message, as it says to only use natural things. I think this prompts children to think outside of the box and use materials that they have to create and imagine rather than ready-made items.

This Book Series Has Great Photos

I also like to share Tracy Kane’s books Fairy Houses Everywhere! and Fairy Houses and Beyond. Fairy Houses Everywhere! gives the reader ideas of different locations to use to create a fairy house. I also love the back section of this book in which it shows how to make accessories, like chairs, tables and food from natural items. I have seen little girls pore over this book for ages, gathering ideas.

Fairy Houses and Beyond describes even more locations and items to use for fairy houses. It shows how to create a fairy house in the desert, out of a pumpkin and even how to make a fairy chandelier for the dining room. The photos are of excellent quality and the whole book is just darling.

Get Outside and Find a Spot for Your Fairy House

After using books to learn all about fairies, I then take children outside. Often, I will have constructed a fairy house outside in advance. You don’t have to do this step, but if you think you have a child who may not be all that thrilled about playing outside and possibly getting dirty or poked with a stick, then constructing a fairy house in advance will help the process. I have actually heard children gasp when they spy the little fairy house I have constructed. It isn’t because my skills are so spectacular. I think it is because they begin to see that something fun awaits them and that they can create something wonderful.

Be a Caretaker of Nature While Outside

As mentioned earlier, you do not need a woods in which to build a fairy house. Your own backyard, park or playground should work just fine. The first step is to collect some sticks from the ground. I always encourage children to not pick anything that is living, but things that are dead, like fallen twigs, are just fine. If children must pick something to have supplies, remind them of the environmentalist’s twenty to one rule for plants. If there is twenty of something growing, you can pick one thing. So, if there are twenty blossoms, you can pick one. If there are forty blossoms, you can pick two, and so forth. This just ensures the plants survival and encourages the children not to do ‘strip mining’ when looking for supplies.

A Tripod Style Fairy House

How to Build a Fairy House

The first part of construction is to make a strong base for your house. This could include building your house at the base of a tree or you can insert some short sticks into the ground to act as corner posts. If you use the corner post method, it works best to select a branch or twig that has a natural ‘y’ in it so that you can lay some other twigs across it to support the walls.

Another way to construct a base is to find three twigs, then lean them against each other to form a tripod. This works well for beginners. It will make a cute tipi style fairy house.

When the base is in place, beginners will like to start adding walls right away. Pieces of bark (don’t strip them from a living tree) and leaves make for walls that go up quickly and a good for the roof as well. Advanced fairy house builders may decide that they want to add some accessories before the walls go up. It is easier to maneuver inside of the house before the walls go up, so if you want to add a table, chairs, bed, etc., you may want to do it first.

A Fairy Feast Awaits!

Fairy Accessories Are Important

Making accessories for the house seems to be the part that is most absorbing to both the boys and girls. Most children want to create food and beds first. Nuts and pebbles make excellent seats. I also use them as pedestals to hold up bark-topped tables. Food can be whatever the imagination creates. The fun part of food is finding containers to use as plates and serveware. Nutshells, acorn caps and seashells all make excellent plates and cups.

You may find that once the main building is complete, children like to do a little landscaping. This includes using twigs or rocks to outline a path or sidewalk to the front door. Some children make fenced-in areas near the house for animals or a garden. I have seen boys create little fairy cars complete with a garage in which to park the car ! Adorable!

Add a Garage and a Car

You may find that once the main building is complete, children like to do a little landscaping. This includes using twigs or rocks to outline a path or sidewalk to the front door. Some children make fenced-in areas near the house for animals or a garden. I have seen boys create little fairy cars complete with a garage in which to park the car ! Adorable!

You Can Make Fairy Houses Any Time of Year

Nurture Your Fairy House

Fairy houses are ephemeral and are not meant to be structures that can hold up through different types of weather, which is one more reason to love them. If the house is in your backyard, the children can go out and check it often and make repairs or additions as needed. It also teaches them that nature has her own way of taking care of things and it may not match your plan. Fairy houses are a great way to connect your child with nature!

The Best Books on Fairy Houses

Fairy Houses (The Fairy Houses Series®)
Fairy Houses (The Fairy Houses Series®)
Tracy Kane does a superb job explaining about fairy houses. The photos in the second and third books will inspire your child to go create their own fairyland!

This Book Gets Almost As Much Attention As The Original

Fairy Houses . . . Everywhere! (The Fairy Houses Series®)
Fairy Houses . . . Everywhere! (The Fairy Houses Series®)
This book has photos of many different types of fairy houses. Some are located in the beach, prairie, mountains. It also shows how to make fairy furniture and other accessories.

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