Autumn in Oklahoma brings mild days when we long to spend more time outdoors. Parents looking for something fun and different to do outdoors with their children might want to try making fairy houses!
Fairy houses are small dwellings for the fairy folk or woodland creatures, using natural materials that are found in a local environment. You can make fairy houses anywhere – in the backyard or the woods, at the lake or beach, even on a rocky hill.
The idea is to use sticks, leaves and flowers, seed pods, etc., that have fallen to the ground to make and decorate a miniature dwelling. Every fairy house is unique, depending on what natural materials are in the area, and on the creativity you and your children bring.
Making fairy houses is a great activity because …
- Reduces “screen time” and gets children outdoors for fresh air and exercise
- Encourages creativity, and using the imagination to think “What would fairies need in their houses?”
- Learning about the seasons, and how plants and trees produce flowers, seeds, and nuts every year
- Learning to respect public spaces like parks and beaches by only using local natural materials
- Can lead to a search for more “fairy lore,” such as stories, books, and movies about fairies
- Can become a seasonal tradition for your family, including all ages
- It’s simply a lot of fun!
You will need:
To build fairy houses, you will need to collect some natural materials. A basket or paper bag is perfect for little hands to hold while you search. If you are collecting materials in a public area, only pick up objects that have already fallen to the ground. Almost anything can be used, including pieces of bark, small rocks, and nuts or seed pods.
You will also need some twine or yarn to tie sticks together. It is helpful to have some scissors or garden snippers for trimming materials.
How to build a Fairy House
1. Build your basic structure.
The easiest structure to begin a fairy house with is a tripod of sticks. Hold three sticks of fairly equal length together and tie tightly with twine or yarn. Set the tripod on the ground in a little nook or cranny, at the base of a tree or shrub. Fairies like to be hidden!
Add a few more sticks to fill in the sides, and use more twine to tie them securely to the tripod, but leave an opening for the doorway. Now clear a small space for the living area.
Start adding more natural materials to make the walls. Pieces of bark, large leaves, and iris blades make good walls. You can just prop these up against the stick structure.
2. Decorate your fairy house.
Because fairy folk love beauty for its own sake, decorate your fairy house to make it look nice. Flowers are perfect for decorating, even flowers from what grownups would consider a weed, like dandelions! In autumn, fallen leaves are as colorful as flowers, and you can encourage your child to look for specific colors of leaves to make it more fun.
Another way to decorate your fairy house is to make patterns of small rocks, shells, or nuts. Fairies love symmetry too, so it can be fun to count items in the pattern to make sure you have the same number on each side.
3. Make your fairy house come alive with some functional objects.
Sometimes children will want to add objects for the fairies to use. Kids love thinking about what the fairies will need in their house, and you can help with ideas.
A large leaf makes a good carpet, and a flat rock could be a table. Acorn caps can be bowls, and a frayed twig makes a good broom. If you are making a fairy house in your own yard, you can use basic craft supplies to make some useful items for your fairy house, as shown below.
It’s important to stress creativity over perfection. Some children want everything to be perfect, and the wind or uneven ground can make perfection impossible.
A parent can explain that natural things like wind and rain may mess up the fairy house, but we can always come out and tidy it up again. This teaches resilience, and that even fairies have to do chores.
So give making fairy houses a try –
you might be surprised at how much fun it is for your whole family!
To find out more about the fairy house tradition, check out FairyHouses.com.