Nanny Craft: 5 Reasons Why You Need To Make A Fairy House (+How To Make One)

fairyFairies 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.

Why?

 

 

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.)

It’s collaborative

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.

children playing together by Jim_McGlone on Flickr
Statistically speaking, this will devolve into screaming in 3…2..

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.9507089988_d299d16b9c_h

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.

It’s eco-friendly

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!”

What?

pencil sharpener by Rachel Lovinger on Flickr
This thing.

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

fairy house craft
Need I say more?

 

 

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
  • Paper
  • Stickers
  • Glass beads
  • Buttons

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:

 

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

I want to see your fairy houses! Take a picture and post it with the hashtag #dreamcrafter. If you really really want me to see it, tag me @maycaitlin on IG and @caitiemayhem on Twitter.

Want an exclusive look at crafts before they make it to the blog? You should follow me on Twitter and Instagram – here and here.

 

Nanny Craft: How to Make Galaxy Bottles

I spent Saturday with Apple and Hulk. They love to craft with me, so I came prepared with an idea sure to please: galaxy bottles!

galaxy bottles craft
A perfect craft to do with kids.

I came across the idea on CreativeSocialWorker’s Tumblr. She uses them to help kids calm down and regulate emotions. Since Apple is prone to tantrums, I figured, hey – two birds, one stone. It may or may not work for calming tantrums, but we had a blast making them, and the kids are so proud of their creations.

cameringo_20160828_161004_1

Supplies

  • Clear, smooth bottles. We used Smart Water bottles with the labels removed, and they worked perfectly.
  • Bowl
  • Funnel
  • Glitter glue
  • Loose glitter
  • Food coloring
  • Beads, rhinestones, assorted baubles (optional)
  • Stickers to decorate the bottle (optional)
  • Fork (for stirring)
  • Superglue/tape, ideally both

There is a way to make galaxy bottles without glitter glue – you use clear (not “dries clear,” but actually clear) glue and lots of loose glitter. We used the glitter glue method.

Step 1: Heat the water

Heat enough water to fill the bottle about 3/4 of the way. When you use glitter glue, the water has to be hot or the glue will clump up. It doesn’t have to be boiling hot, but it should be warmer than bath water. I found that three to four minutes in the microwave was perfect.

If you’re using the stove, or if the bowl gets hot in the microwave, transfer the water to another container before giving it to the kids. You want to use a bowl (or something similar) while working with the glitter glue, because it will need to be stirred.

Step 2: Glitter!

tumblr_o6b2vfX0yq1v7fphao2_500

Let the kids empty as much glitter glue into the water as they like. Depending on the size of the bottle you’re using and the enthusiasm of the kid, they could easily empty a whole bottle. That’s fine. I don’t think it’s possible to use too much.

Stir the water while they’re putting the glue in. I found that a fork works best for this, because it breaks up the clumps of glitter glue. Keep stirring until there are no big clumps of glue in the water.

If you want it to be even more glittery (and who doesn’t?), add loose glitter. As much as you want. Like I said, I don’t think it’s possible to use too much. However, if you’re going to use a LOT of loose glitter, you might consider adding a little bit of clear glue to the mixture, to give the loose glitter some weight.

Stir, stir stir, and then it’s time for the next step!

Step 3: Food coloringfood coloring

Any color works. Personally, I think darker colors like blues and purples look best, but any color will look good. You only need ONE drop of food coloring. Maaayyybe two. Any more and you won’t be able to see the glitter.

Step 4: Into the bottle

The grown-up should handle this part. Using a funnel of some kind, pour the mixture into the bottle. If the kids want to add beads and baubles, make sure to leave room in the bottle so it won’t overflow.

After adding beads and baubles, it’s time to close the bottle. This is another grown-up job. This bottle has the potential to create a nightmare of a mess if accidentally opened. For maximum closure, apply superglue to the inside of the lid before screwing it on, then cover the lid with as many layers of tape as it takes for you to stop worrying about cleaning food coloring and glitter out of carpet.

Step 5: Decorate! (optional)

Stickers are best for this, since most markers will wear off. Apple used these adorable rhinestone stickers on her galaxy bottle, and I think it looks fantastic.

 

And now you’re done! Give the bottle a good shake and watch the glitter swirl and settle. Talk to the kids about how they can use the bottle when they’re feeling upset or angry. Make sure to take pictures and tag them #dreamcrafter!

If you want to see more like this, you should follow me on Twitter here (@caitiemayhem) and Instagram here (@maycaitlin). I follow and repost from the #dreamcrafter tag. You might even see your post featured here in an Instagram Roundup!

Have you made a galaxy bottle before? What methods worked best for you? Tell me below in a comment!

Nanny Adventures: Meet The Younglings

I work about 30 hours a week, split between two families. I take care of four children between the ages of 3 and 6. To protect their anonymity, I have given them nicknames. Meet the Younglings:

 

velociraptor2-240x144Dino – 6 years old

Dino is a very precocious boy. He’s cautious, but not timid, and an eternal perfectionist. He can be kind of shy at first, but once he warms up to you, he’s funny, kind, and very clever. Dino always has to know the “why” of things. He loves dinosaurs, space, planes, Legos, and Pokemon. Dino and his sister Princess are Jewish.

Princess – 4 years oldprincess-carriage-clipart-free-clipart-images

If Dino is precocious, Princess is downright cheeky. She is the most self-assured child I’ve ever met. She is extremely creative and artistic. She loves animals, especially bugs, and she wants to be an entomologist when she grows up.

 


 

apple-happy-for-shared-reading-poem-clipart-free-clip-art-imagesApple – 6 years old

Apple is nicknamed for her rosy cheeks and sweet demeanor. She loves to play with Barbies, and she can usually be found decorating her room. If it can be hung up, strung up, or stuck to a wall, Apple is going to put it there.

 

 

Hulk – 3 years oldcredit to erws on DeviantArt

I’ve never met a sturdier, more indestructible child than the Hulk. Always happy and easygoing, Hulk never sits still for more than a few minutes. Luckily, he has lots of interests – Paw Patrol, trains, puzzles, Apple’s toys (much to her displeasure)… He also thinks cleaning is a fun game, and he’s happy to take a squirt bottle full of water and a paper towel to anything he thinks needs cleaning.

 


 

I spend four days a week with Dino and Princess. I spend another one to three days a week with Apple and Hulk. They’re the greatest kids in the world, and I’m the luckiest nanny on the planet. I’m sure your kids are great, but these are the best ones. Want to keep up with all their antics? You should follow me on twitter here and IG here.

That said, I still want to hear all about the younglings in your life! Blow up the #dreamcrafter hashtag on Twitter (@caitiemayhem) and IG (@maycaitlin) with pictures and stories about your younglings. Post a comment below, or go to my Contact Page to send me a message about how I’m wrong, your kids are the greatest in the world.

DreamCrafter – Crafting, Nannying, and Living Simply

Welcome to DreamCrafter! For our inaugural post, I’m going to give a little bit of background and let you know what kind of content you can expect in the future.

Who Am I?

caitlin1
#dreamcrafter

I’m Caitlin. I’m a full-time student, a part-time nanny, a sorority girl, and a crafting addict. I live in Texas with an ill-tempered cat named Birdie and enough crafting supplies to open a post-apocalyptic Hobby Lobby.

13529028_10153950908509064_4354451639459138831_n
“Get fed, get pets, take a nap – what’s to figure out?”

I work for two families, caring for four kids between 3 and 6.

I like Outlander, musicals, and Indian food. My mantra is “efficiency.” I believe in working smarter and harder. I like to pretend I have life all figured out. I don’t, but let’s pretend.

 

You should follow me on twitter here, and instagram here. #dreamcrafter for all your crafts, DIYs, life hacks, and adventures in childcare.


What Is A DreamCrafter?

dreamcatcherThe word “DreamCrafter” originally came about as a play on the word “dreamcatcher.” Ever since I was a child, I loved dreamcatchers and the legend behind them. One of my first memories of crafting is of making a dreamcatcher with my grandmother. I have a collection of dreamcatchers that I’m very proud of.* The more I thought about it, the more it seemed to fit. A dreamcatcher is a essentially a craft. A culturally significant craft, but a craft nonetheless. Loosely interpreted, it’s a symbol of letting positivity in and keeping negativity out. That’s exactly what I want to convey with this blog – crafting and positivity. Traditionally, dreamcatchers are given to children. Since my job as a nanny is another important topic on this blog, I think the reference is even more appropriate.


Okay, But What Is This Blog About?

I plan to post a variety of content, mostly about crafting and nannying. I will also occasionally post about “life hacks” and ways to lead a simpler, more efficient life. If you’re a crafter, a DIY addict, a nanny, a babysitter, a parent, a student, or anyone looking to live creatively and efficiently, there will be something here for you.

I am excited and optimistic about where this blogging adventure will lead. Leave a comment below and let me know what sort of things you’d like to see on this blog in the future. Thanks for joining me!

 

*Dreamcatchers have cultural significance that shouldn’t be divorced from the object. If you think dreamcatchers are beautiful, I strongly recommend seeking out Native American-owned businesses and purchasing from them. Please choose to support a small business and the preservation of Native American culture.