Building Natural Fairy Houses

Building Fairy Houses with Kids using natural materials for an imaginative experiance in ephemeral art

Building fairy houses using natural materials found outside is an imaginative way for children to engage in the world outside their doorstep. You don’t have to go to the store or spend a penny for this ephemeral nature project– Fairy houses can be made in your yard, local park, on a beach, or in the snow using whatever natural items are available during the present season. My 5-year-old has been making her own fairy houses for a couple of years now and it has been fun watching her construction skills and creativity develop with each house she makes, not to mention the stories told about the fairies who live there. Here’s a short rundown of this one part art, one part nature activity for kids with an element of magical pretend play.

Building Fairy Houses with found items in nature

Materials to build a fairy house can be anything you find outside such as sticks, leaves, seashells, driftwood, grass, stones, seeds, feathers, bark, snake skin, pinecones, etc. Try your best not to disturb anything that is living.

Building a fairy house with kids

fairy house

Building Fairy Houses in nature

backyard fairy house

Oftentimes a fairy house evolves. It rains and part of the structure falls over and has to be repaired or reimagined. A toad decides to use it as a home. Branches and stones and leaves can be added to expand and modify the home. Ephemeral means “transitory” or “short-lived” and like most things in nature,  it’s an organic process that’s always changing. If not maintained, the fairy house will deteriorate back to the earth from which they came.

backyard fairy house for kids

magical fairy house using found materials

When fairy houses are constructed close to our yard, they’re often embellished with sidewalk chalk, glass floral stones, or odds and ends we find in the dirt. We try to keep it as natural as possible. We don’t leave anything outside that animals could harm themselves with or choke on. We’re also sure to pick up any pieces that were not found outside and remove them from the site after a fairy house deteriorates.

The fun part is imagining the fairy or fairies who take up residence in the home. What is his/her name? What magic powers do they have? Can they talk to animals? Are they the reason the roses bloomed early? We pretend to spot them around their new residence, make them fairy soup (water, flower petals, grass, seeds), or leave gifts of little berries or pebbles at their doorstep.

Fairy Houses by Tracy Kane

Fairy Houses by Tracy Kane

The picture book Fairy Houses by Tracy Kane (public library) is a terrific prompt for this magical, nature-based activity. The back of the book provides the reader with ideas for ways to incorporate materials from each season into your construction. Invite friends to build a fairy village together or build a house during a walk outside. This is an activity my oldest often likes to do alone when she is in need of quiet time absent of activity.

Building fairy houses provides children with a hands-on sensory experience with flora and fauna.  It encourages awareness of the seasons through foraged loose parts and adds an aspect of wonder to their outdoor play.



Leave A Comment