Creating Beautiful Spaces – Fairy Garden

 
 
 Happy Earth Day!  We just finished English, Math and Science for the day and to honor the Mother Earth and everything it provides us we will spend the rest of the morning picking up the garbage on the streets and will start the seeds for our vegetable garden in the afternoon.  I always talk with kids about the importance of not littering and recycling, about not wasting water and reducing fuel emissions by walking more, but today offers an even greater reminder to appreciate nature.   Some great books to read today Clifford’s Spring Clean up, The Earth and I and Just a Dream (by the author of Jumanji!  The best children’s environmental book).
 

 
 

Yesterday was quite chilly.  Hello snow pants, winter coats and hats, kind of chilly!  But we spent about two hours wandering outside and picking up nature things for our fairy garden.  Our concept of fairy garden is perhaps different from other people.  I have heard of those amazing, elaborately designed fairy gardens that belong on the pages of Beautiful Homes and Gardens.  What we do is find lots of nature things, arrange it along with some tiny furniture in a box, play some imaginative games for an hour or so and then they CRASH it… to pieces.  And the next day they start all over again.  One of my most favorite things in life is to watch my kids running around hunting for just the right stone, stick or flower for their fairy garden.  So much happiness, raw enthusiasm, and energy! And spring is such an exciting time.  Look at the beautiful flowers we found on our yard and so fragrant too!

Creating beautiful spaces is not only fun but educational.  It develops methodical thinking, aesthetics, creativity and spatial learning.  Manipulating spaces and shapes develops the same areas of the brain that are involved in mathematical thinking.  Designs and patterns are basis of all logical thinking.

So to begin we went on a very long walk and looked for sticks, stones, flowers, grass, moss, bark, pine cones, seeds…. I facilitated some discussion by asking, Let’s think about the kind of place fairies will find attractive.  Kids were in agreement that most of all fairies like grass, flowers, and cozy spaces filled with animal friends.  After we got our pile of goodies, it was on to step 2 – Homemade sand.  Homemade sand makes for easier clean up than real thing when they use it inside the house.  I wish kids could play fairy garden outside but by early afternoon the wind was so crazy that it was flipping our heavy, metal chairs in the backyard over and around.

For homemade sand mix 5 cups flour with 1 cup vegetable oil.  My kids love to mix it with their bare hands and it makes for a great sensory experience.  It’s very pleasant to the touch: soft, cool and fluffy.  I myself can’t get enough of touching it. Oh, and if you wondering why sand is needed in the first place, I should mention that it makes excellent base for sticking flowers and branches in and generally for keeping things from falling over.

  Our set up is a plastic box on an extra large cookie tray.  But spills are unavoidable…

 

 

And now the construction begins.  Instead of giving each child their own box, I like them to be working on creating the same space.  It’s good to learn how to work with others.  Almost any worthwhile cause in life involves working with others.

 

There is something enchanting about the scale of fairy trinkets, don’t you think?  I suspect my kids might actually be just as happy making fairy tables and benches out of nature things.  I’m the guilty party here for the simple reason that I can’t resist the cuteness.  Some of my favorite pieces:

Our favorite books to read with this project
The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker
How to Find Flower Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker
The Fairy Houses Trilogy by Tracy Kane

Kids always get excited about birthdays.  Today we are going to make Earth a happy birthday cake and blow some candles!  How are you celebrating the Earth Day? 

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