Fairies are real and you can’t tell me otherwise.
But even if you don’t believe in fairies (you heartless monster – you’re making Tink’s light go out!), a fairy house is the perfect craft to make with children.
It encourages pretend play.
Princess asked me if fairies were real – at which point I turned to Mom and quietly asked what the household policy is on believing in things that aren’t real.
“They’re fun to believe in,” is the correct response. In my opinion, that’s the best response. Believing in something that isn’t real can be harmful to a child in the long run. Pretending, though – pretending is crucial to healthy child development. According to Scholastic, pretend play develops social, emotional, and language skills, as well as critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
There are lots of crafts that encourage pretend play, but a fairy house craft is particularly valuable for developing those skills. When a child builds a fairy house, they think about things from a fairy’s point of view. What do fairies like? What do they need? What would make them comfortable? They have to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. This encourages empathy and compassion, increasing a child’s emotional intelligence.
“Building emotional awareness, self-control and relationship skills are master skills,” Greenberg says. “When we nurture them, children do better in all areas of their daily lives, including school.”
-Mark Greenberg, PhD. “Social awareness + emotional skills = successful kids”
As a nanny, you can help the child by mentioning things that they enjoy, and asking if they think a fairy would like that, too. For example: “You love the bench on the front porch. Do you think a fairy would like a bench?”
If they say yes, you have the opportunity to stimulate their creativity even more. What supplies do you have that would make a good bench? Could you make one out of twigs? Popsicle sticks? Cardboard? Buttons? The possibilities are endless. If they say no, ask them why, and what they think the fairy would like instead.
Just in that interaction, you have worked on emotional skills, social skills, and problem solving. Ten points to the nanny for fostering healthy child development! (And another five points for the awesome craft.)
If you take care of more than one child, you know the struggle of trying to entertain both of them at once or – heaven help us – get them to play together. The larger the age gap, the harder the struggle.
I’m always on that struggle bus. Dino and Princess are technically pretty close in age – 6 and 4 – but their interests, personalities, and styles of play are so different that getting them to work together can feel like a small miracle sometimes.
But with this fairy house craft, getting them to work together was no problem at all. Because there are so many different things that go into creating a fairy house, they can work on individual projects, but still work together on the finished product. For example, Dino designed the door for the house while Princess gathered dirt.
Fairy houses are absolutely ideal if you have multiple kids with significantly different skills and abilities. Dino is in first grade, so he got to write the welcome sign (with a little help for his spelling). Princess, who is only four, would have struggled with that part. On the other hand, Princess is a lot more ~artsy~ than Dino, so she did most of the decorating.
This craft played to both of their strengths, and the collaborative effort encouraged mutual respect and other social skills. For example, when Princess wanted to put a sticker on the welcome sign, she had to ask Dino first, since that was his project. Interactions like that also help strengthen their relationship, and I’m a big believer in the importance of sibling bonds.
Even if you only have one kid, a fairy house craft is a great way to work together and build your relationship. Let the child do the tasks that they find interesting and age-appropriate, and you can fill in the gaps.
It gets the kids outside
A proper fairy house needs dirt, moss, leaves, rocks, flowers, or all of the above. You can also use natural materials to help make different parts of the house. You can glue sticks to the house structure to make it look like a cabin. Rocks can become chairs, or a pathway. And everyone knows fairies are most at home among flowers.
So send the kids outside! I sent Princess out with a small cup and a tiny shovel designed for Play-Do to gather dirt while I got started on the house structure. Then we went out together to pick up flower petals that had blown all over the yard after a recent storm. She pulled out a lavender branch I didn’t know she had (and still don’t know where she found) and asked if we could use it. Twenty minutes before, Princess was whining about wanting to finish a game on the iPad. It was incredible to watch her running excitedly around the yard, playing in the dirt like we all know a child should.
By the way – Stay tuned for a post about the health benefits of playing in the dirt!
Turn this craft into a learning opportunity by naming the different plants you pick up, or use it to start a conversation about how plants grow, where soil comes from, or any other nature-based topic.
A fairy house can be made almost entirely out of recycled materials. You only need a few things – a sturdy container to hold the house/dirt/decorations, something to use as a house, and the rest is up to your imagination. MomBoss holds on to empty deli meat containers (the plastic ones), which mostly end up holding craft supplies. But there was a small stack of them buried in the craft area, so we used one of those.
Princess managed to show me up on a level that was almost embarrassing when we were scavenging for something to make the house out of. I was looking for empty cardboard boxes when she pulled on my shirt. “We can make the house out of the pencil sharpener!”
Apparently, they had an old crank pencil sharpener, but it was broken. Princess, who never fails to surprise me with her ability to think outside the box, realized that the metal casing would make a perfect house.
You know, I’m sure that if I had enough time and access to Google, I could come up with other ways to repurpose an old metal pencil sharpener. But unless we actually tried to come up with a use for it, I bet that thing would have been forgotten about for years until somebody eventually tried to organize the craft area (hah) and threw it out.
And there’s no limit to things you can recycle for your fairy house. Eat a popsicle, use the stick to post the welcome sign. Decorate the house with scraps of paper or cut-outs from a magazine. If you have some random piece of something – it’s broken, it goes to something you’ve long since gotten rid of, you just don’t have a use for it – you can probably find a way to work it into this craft.
And if you’re not using recycled materials, you’re using natural ones. Dirt, twigs, grass, moss, leaves, rocks, flower petals – they all belong in a fairy house.
So make a fairy house craft and pat yourself on the back for taking care of Mama Earth. It’ll make you feel better when you forget to bring your reusable bags to the grocery store… again.
It’s so CUTE
By now I’m sure you’re dying to make one yourself. It’s even simpler than you think.
The only things you really need are:
- A container of some sort
- Something to use as a house
- Dirt or moss (to cover the bottom of the container)
To make it fun, you can include any or all of the following:
- Twigs, rocks, grass, leaves, flowers or flower petals
- Popsicle sticks or craft sticks
- Glass beads
Once you’ve got your supplies, you’re only limited by your imagination. And you’ve got kids around, so really, there’s no limit at all. Here’s some ideas to get you started:
When you’re done, take the kids outside and let them choose a spot for it. Try to find a spot that is secluded, out of the way of sprinklers and lawnmowers, and safe from animals. If you can find a spot that is safe from rain, too, feel free to leave it out for a little while. Just don’t forget about it, or your cute little fairy house will become a gross pest habitat.
One last thing! This is a very “indoor-friendly” way to make a fairy house craft – ideal for younger kids, spotty weather, and people who live in areas that lean more toward urban than rural. If you have a big backyard or access to a wooded area, you can skip all the “craft supplies” parts – the container, the craft sticks, the stickers and buttons – and just go outside. Make a fairy house with nothing more than what you can find in nature.