After posting about our DIY Outdoor Kitchen and the DIY Tinkering Table that we made, I've been looking for other ways to encourage outdoor learning and play. Since moving to the top end of Australia over a year ago now the weather here gets REALLY HOT so for most of the year our outdoor play area is on the patio away from the burning hot sun. Recently when we were visiting family, my daughters discovered a little fairy garden at their cousins place. So when we got home we set about putting together our own little fairy garden and here is how we did it.
We started by making a list of the things we wanted in our fairy garden. My daughters wanted flowers, mushrooms, a fairy house, chairs and a water pond. So we set out to make our own fairy house. We used an older plastic container, cut a little door in it and stuck paddle-pop sticks onto the container with craft glue. It worked perfectly.
Once we were happy with the house we set about making some fairy chairs and table. I found a DIY idea on pinterest to use old bottle caps and wire to make chairs. My husband modified the idea a little by making a hole in the bottle top to thread the wire through for each chair/table stand. Initially we left the table and chairs white but ended up spray painting them red....just the right colour for fairies!
For the fairy mushrooms, I tried using an old cork but the paint I had wouldn't stick and it ended up a mess. So I dug through my husband's bits and pieces box and found little wooden nobs which were the perfect shape of mushrooms! My daughters helped me paint them and they turned out awesome.
For the little water pond we used an old dish and added blue gems and water. This created the perfect little water pond although it got dirty very quickly.
Before we put the fairy garden together, we went to our local hardware store to purchase a big pot and some soil as well as some plants for our garden. After putting the soil into the pot, we placed our items onto the soil so we could decide where we wanted everything to go. This is when my son joined in and helped us plant the plants and set out the rest of the fairy garden.
Once the plants were added to the fairy garden, my children were inspired to add more things such as gum nuts for little trees, green gems for a path to the fairy house and a BIG log to make another fairy house. We buried half the log so it wouldn't fall over. We used a permanent mark to draw a little "magic" door that only fairies can open, on the log.
Before our little fairy garden was finished, my children were busy playing. By creating this little world I had encouraged my girls to not only play but to learn while playing. Inspiring their imagination, encourage their storytelling as they develop their vocabulary and take turns while playing together, are just some of the wonderful learning opportunities this little fairy garden had created for my daughters.
"Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood."
You can find more outdoor play ideas and other DIY projects on my pinterest board.