Creating Nature Fairy Gardens • RUN WILD MY CHILD (2024)

Are you looking for a nature activity for your children that requires no special preparation or supplies? Has the last month left you burnt out from trying to keep your children’s’ days full of magical projects that you have to shop for, plan, and oversee? Are your outdoor adventures currently limited to your own yard? Then this is the perfect activity for you! Today we have the amazing Leslie Alvis, Ohio homeschooling mama to four, here sharing a timeless nature play idea that can be adapted for any age or situation – the nature fairy garden. It’s a simple activity that requires only the materials you find in your own backyard! Nature fairy gardens can keep kids busy for hours gathering materials, building their unique creation, and then playing with it. It’s a wonderful way to incorporate nature and imaginative play.

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Building memories with fairy gardens

Several years ago, when my oldest daughter was just a toddler, I found myself with an unexpected block of time to play with her outside. We were on vacation and I wanted to do something fun outdoors with her. However, we didn’t have any special activities or materials. My son was happily exploring the woods nearby and the baby was napping in the cabin. I was searching for something special we could do in the yard. I remembered one of my favorite outdoor activities when I was growing up: building a miniature dollhouse out in nature. Years before fairy gardens were a thing, I loved to build miniature gardens and houses with bits and pieces of nature. I spent hours designing and creating these little fairy gardens, and then playing with imaginary characters inside them.

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A magical nature fairy garden

My daughter and I collected some moss, sticks, nuts, and rocks. We found a hollow at the base of a huge oak tree and began to build our own little fairy garden. I didn’t realize the significance of our creation until months later, when we were back at that cabin. My still-tiny daughter grabbed my hand and tugged me out to that same tree, begging me to build another fairy house with her. Our little nature project had made a lasting impression on her.

Building a nature fairy garden was something she wanted to do again—and again, and again. Now, building nature-oriented fairy gardens is something both of my older daughters love to do, too. And occasionally my son might join in, making a stockade or a fort of his own. They put their imaginations to work and create all kinds of fairy garden spaces.

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Getting your fairy garden started

Building a nature fairy garden is so easy! You may have to get your children started with some materials or ideas, but they will probably carry on with little help. Unless, of course, you’re having too much fun to let them play alone!

To start with, pick your location. We like to use the base of a large tree where the roots jut out and make a natural hollow. The more interesting the space, the better! One of my daughters just spent two days playing in a little clump of grass for her little fairy house. Basically, you can use whatever place catches your eye.

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Gathering materials for your fairy garden

The next step for your nature fairy garden is to have your child(ren) scout around the yard, neighborhood or local park for tiny bits of nature: sticks, moss, bark, nuts, unique stones, leaves, and flowers. We usually gather some small sticks to build our walls and moss for the floor. You can also lay down leaves or bark for the floor, or just use dirt. You can poke sticks into the ground for walls, transplant plants to create a natural border or build stone walls. Nature fairy gardens are immensely versatile. They easily adapt to different seasons and situations.

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Making a potted nature fairy garden

Even if you don’t have a backyard, you can gather materials for a nature fairy garden and create one in a pot! Just start with a nice wide pot full of potting soil or sand. Then see what you can collect on a nature walk in a woods or park somewhere (as long as it’s a place where it’s okay to pick up natural materials!). You can build a nature fairy garden for your porch or even inside. You may wish to purchase some small plants for your pot (succulents or flowers). Just check the labels to make sure they aren’t going to take over your entire fairy garden space as they grow!

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Adding finishing touches to your fairy garden

When you’ve created your basic structure or space for your fairy garden, your children get to decorate it. Our fairy gardens are usually dollhouses of sorts, and they get furnished accordingly. Stones become tables and shelves; seed pods and nuts, food. Acorn tops make perfect fairy dishes. I love seeing the amazing ideas my children come up with. This week we had an oven (with flowers baking inside) and a table built out of stones and bark. Both girls’ fairy gardens featured a stone shelf nestled in an uneven bit of bark. My daughters also created a bed in a nest of grass for a pine cone doll, a room hidden under a moss covering, and countless flower dolls.

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The joys of creating fairy gardens

Once kids start creating their own fairy garden, they begin to see everything around them with new eyes. Every little thing around the yard has new potential. I’ve found that while I might have to get them started, my children very quickly take over this project and play for hours (or days) without me. Their imaginations and the beauty of nature combine to make creative, delightful fairy gardens. To me, this is the great benefit of outdoor play like this. I love seeing my children enjoy nature, using their hands and their imagination to entertain themselves and create something beautiful. They come back to their fairy gardens over and over.

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Have you ever created a nature fairy garden?
What unique spin did you put on it?

Creating Nature Fairy Gardens • RUN WILD MY CHILD (16)Hi, I’m Leslie Alvis! I’m a follower of Jesus Christ, wife to my high school sweetheart, and mom to four rascally kids. They love the outdoors as much as I do, and our yard often feels like the scene from “The Sound of Music” where you hear voices and laughter and can’t find any children until you look up into the trees. I love writing, photography, and all things outdoors, and do pretty much everything with my kids tagging along. We live in Northeast Ohio on the edge of Amish Country, where it’s perfectly normal to park beside a horse and buggy at the grocery store.

We homeschool, which basically means that I’m trying to teach my kids to use their minds without losing my own. While we follow a traditional curriculum, I weave every outdoor adventure I can into our educational journey. I believe that the lessons children experience firsthand sink deepest into their hearts and minds, and there is so much we can learn outside in the beauty and wonder of nature.

You can find Leslie online in the following locations:
Client work:@lalvisphotography
RWMC posts: Leslie Alvis

Creating Nature Fairy Gardens • RUN WILD MY CHILD (2024)


How to make a nature fairy garden? ›

We usually gather some small sticks to build our walls and moss for the floor. You can also lay down leaves or bark for the floor, or just use dirt. You can poke sticks into the ground for walls, transplant plants to create a natural border or build stone walls. Nature fairy gardens are immensely versatile.

How do you make a magic garden for kids? ›

Tips for creating a magical fairy garden:
  1. Create a natural look in your garden by using rocks, moss, and bark.
  2. Add a pond or fountain to make it calming.
  3. Use LED or solar-powered lights to make it magical at night.
  4. Add things your child likes, like a unicorn figurine.
  5. Let your child use their imagination!
May 10, 2023

What is the purpose of a fairy garden? ›

People build these little worlds for a variety of reasons: to pique or sate their curiosity, that of others, to bring the inside in, to play in a garden year round, to entertain children, and many more reasons.

What plants are best for a fairy garden? ›

The best plants for a fairy garden are fairy-sized, so think miniature alpines, mosses and flowers. Fairy Gardening is such a fun hobby and one you can enjoy with kids too, but it's really important to select the right plants when starting off.

How do I make my child's childhood magical? ›

Creating a magical childhood means:
  1. (1) giving children a sense of belonging and connection to their family, friends and community;
  2. (2) indulging in the wonder of discovering the world for the first time;
  3. (3) celebrating achievement and growth;
  4. (4) nurturing imagination and creativity.
Feb 1, 2022

What is a sensory garden for kids? ›

A sensory garden is all about stimulating and engaging the five basic senses of sight, smell, sound, touch and taste. This type of garden not only allows you to connect to nature, but encourages you to become more aware of your surroundings and your response to them, tapping into the principles of mindfulness.

How do you make fake water for a fairy garden? ›

After you've finished gluing your stones, fill the base of your pond with hot glue, this will create the illusion of water. The more glue you add, the deeper your pond will look.

Which two things do most fairy gardens have? ›

“The basic elements of a fairy garden are miniature plants, fairies and their friends [like dogs, cats and ducks] and accessories,” says Bawden-Davis. “Accessories run the gamut, from tiny watering pails to little rakes and hoes to birdbaths, benches, gazebos and gazing globes.

What does a fairy symbolize? ›

This could signify the purpose of fairies within myths, fairies in stories are constantly messing with the fates of humans. Fairies in these myths may be of the more cartoonish variety and signify simply love, magic and springtime, but most signify things like death, sexual depravity, abduction and general immorality.

What is the spiritual meaning of fairy gardens? ›

In many cultures, fairy gardens were seen as portals to other realms, where humans could communicate with the spiritual beings that inhabited these spaces. They were used for divination, healing rituals, and connecting with ancestors.

What kind of soil do you use in a fairy garden? ›

For most types of fairy gardens a standard soil recipe is two parts commercial soil, one part peat moss or compost. Never use soil excavated from your outside garden as container plants are pickier and that dirt might be prone to weeds. Fill the container halfway with the soil mixture and get ready to plant.

How do you make a whimsical garden? ›

Start by selecting a central focal point, such as a whimsical fountain, an eye-catching sculpture, or a vibrant flower bed. From there, add layers of enchantment with garden decor, patterned textiles, and cozy seating areas.

What is the best glue for outdoor fairy houses? ›

You could use clear caulk, E6000, look for any waterproof type glue unless you want to go with something like quickcrete. Hi Cynthia, the best outdoor fairy glue is E6000. It dries clear and it's waterproof.


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