This was absolutely my favorite project that I’ve done with my daughter. I’ve never seen her rush so fast to clean-up her previous activity to prepare space for this activity. She was utterly fascinated with it and wanted to do it all by herself. I was the professional hot gluer in the corner and just sort of guided her through it. She wanted to place everything, and glue it herself with Elmer’s glue. I would even let her glue with Elmer’s and then hot glue in the same spot so she could really get her hands wet! And we smothered it with glitter, glitter…fairy dust!
I highly recommend getting out the fairy wings (I wore some as well). We listened to Tinker Bell’s soundtrack and read fairy books for inspiration. Our favorites right now are “Where Do the Fairies Go When It Snows” by Liza Walsh and “Twinkle, the Tooth Fairy” by Nick Ellsworth. Each one had beautiful pictures and sweet ideas about fairy duff, little shell beds, fairy balls, and sweet fairy cottages filled with firewood, seeds, mushroom caps, etc. Willow even said she wishes she could have Tinker Bell on her finger tip mid-build. There’s nothing as sweet as a child’s imagination.
These are pictures from those books that delight us. The beauty of this project is that it used up our stock of collected natural elements from the past year. We didn’t spend a dime and we reused a wooden tray from a puzzle we were just gifted. We had precious shells from Montana de Oro tidepools, and bark from around the corner in a field where Willow plays, driftwood from SB beaches, and sand dollars from Morro Bay beaches.
Since raising a little beach girl, I’ve become quite familiar with what precious materials we can get at different locations. Not all beaches have great shells. I have a hard time in SB finding good ones. Morro Bay always has great sand dollars and Santa Claus Beach in Carpinteria has fabulous driftwood. It’s nice to keep abreast of the natural offerings that are among us.
- Make a roof about 5″ wide with large pieces of bark. Overlap them a bit and hot glue them together. Let dry.
- Stack pine cones on top of shells and driftwood making sure it is level and secure for a foundation. Glue these pieces together. let dry before continuing.
- Glue the roof on top. Make sure it is secure.
- Glue this basic frame to the wooden tray in the middle. Make sure it is steady and strong. Make this foundation for your child and then try to let them do the rest with minimal help. Kinda like a gingerbread house project. I think this is a fabulous hands-on project for 3 and above.
The Elmer’s glue really gives your child the ability to create this world. She made pools of glue everywhere and sprinkled the glue on top. I helped her to shake the tray to move it around and fill the pools completely with glitter. It also made it a fun sensory experience. It was her idea to make a bed with shell blankets and twigs; chairs out of shells; tables out of stacks of rock and driftwood. Tonight I will put something delightful inside to remind her that her task was successful in terms of housing and delighting a little fairy.
Throughout the whole process all I could think about was Andy Goldworthy, my favorite artist and an incredible inspiration to all of mankind. He did a documentary called “Rivers and Tides” that you must check out. It is breathtaking with it’s natural sculptures and fascinating in the natural deconstruction of them. Whenever I work in nature I think of him and my childhood.
She constructed the yard and furniture and laid the glitter pools. Glued on her stools and placed moss and final textures. It was delightful doing this together and I hope to continue to think of fairies and their everyday influence through this little cottage and many more to come!
Happy building and don’t forget to believe in the magic and let the children take the lead.