Building something in a natural setting using natural materials is an excellent way to encourage your children to spend time outside, which is the best way to help them learn to appreciate the natural world. There is something irresistible about these eco-friendly creations. Enjoy these and other ideas from Oak Meadow’s Living Education Journal!
We’ve been in our new home for almost two months now – it’s been a rough adjustment, but it’s time to start making this house feel like home. Moving is rough for us because it throws us off our routine — it’s so easy to feel lost and unbalanced when nothing feels familiar.
You may be wondering what fairy houses have to do with routines and feeling at home . . . but it’s more than you think. One of the things I love most about Oak Meadow is the focus on nature, routine, and the rhythm of the year. The early year curriculum suggests setting up a nature table (or something similar) with items from nature to celebrate the current season.
We need something to help us feel at home and grounded here in Nebraska — and a fall fairy garden seemed to have just the right amount of magic to make that happen.
Fairy houses and gardens are pretty simple to create. You can make them using only items collected from nature, or, if you’re like us and your house is in a constant state of construction and going outside isn’t really an option this second . . . well, then you can combine store bought materials with items from nature and put it together on your kitchen table. Whatever floats your boat!
Fairy houses (also called woodland dwellings) are a beautiful, enchanting way to explore and enjoy nature. They use natural, found objects and can be as simple or as complex as you like.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
Choose a quiet place outside to build your fairy house. Among the roots of a big tree or beside a rock works very well.
Search the surrounding area for natural objects to use as building materials. This helps your fairy house blend into the setting naturally (and makes it seem even more special and magical—it’s easy to imagine a little fairy or creature moving in!).
Suggested materials: twigs, leaves, stones, pinecones, shells, feathers, nuts, and bark.
Building in different seasons will provide different materials to use. Try not to disturb growing plants: gather your supplies from what has fallen to the ground.
Begin with a basic structure, such as a teepee shape or log cabin design. Add walls and roof, leaving room for a door and maybe a window. Decorate in whatever way you are inspired.
Consider adding a walkway, a fence, or other features.
Make several other fairy houses nearby for a whole neighborhood!
Fairy gardens are wonder-filled tiny gardens that seem to be a world of their own. Often placed in birdbaths or large pots, fairy-sized features are paired with a variety of small plants, mosses, and herbs. Twig archways, pebble paths, miniature fencing, whittled benches or even a cottage can be tucked under and between the plants. If you have enough space, you can incorporate a small hill or dirt mound in your design. Let your imagination go and see what happens!
Here are some helpful tips on designing and constructing your fairy garden:
Choose a large sturdy container with good drainage that can be placed where it can be easily seen and enjoyed.
Fill your container with potting soil and then sketch your garden design in the dirt with a stick. (It might help to do this on paper first, deciding what will go where.)
Tuck your plants securely into the soil, making sure to give them enough room to put down roots and reach for the sun.
Add fairy furniture, pebble paths, leaf umbrellas. If you make a fairy house out of twigs, bark, or stone (or a combination of materials), you might make it three sided with the front left open, inviting fairies inside.
Do you use Oak Meadow? Make sure you check out Homeschool with Heart, our newest support program just for Oak Meadow Homeschoolers.