Fun Friday activities are quick-and-simple ways to explore nature in your own backyard.
THE IDEA: Build a fairy house
This certainly isn’t a new idea. In fact, my nature-loving friend, Marghanita, just shared some of the most magical fairy houses for her little humbug friends. I couldn’t believe how beautiful they were! And earlier this summer, Kari of activekidsclub.com wrote this post about making fairy houses.
So what took us so long to try it? If you read my post on making mud cakes, you know that the big explorer only recently discovered the world of imaginary play. It was building fairy houses with his friends in Yosemite that got him hooked.
OUR NOTES FROM THE FIELD
Making fairy houses is pretty simple stuff. I gave each of the kids a bucket and told them to gather up some items from nature that they could use to build a house for the forest fairies. In Yosemite, our backyard is a basically a forest and meadow, so there was plenty to choose from.
Of course, the big explorer wasn’t the least bit interested. He pacified me by filling his bucket up quickly and returning before everyone else.
When all the kids were ready, they got right to work. Each picked their own workspace and began creating independently of one another.
The big explorer – still not buying into the whole fairy idea – opted to build his house on a bench. He didn’t spend much time or devote much effort to it. Here’s the result.
When explaining the features of his house, he made sure to point out the bed he made using a leaf and a pinecone pillow.
Once he was done, he was curious to see what his friends had come up with. One built this lovely little house that also came complete with a bedroom.
The second was having a tough time figuring out just where to go with the space she had. The big explorer was eager to pitch in and start suggesting some ideas. The kids worked for quite a while together, discussing ideas and heading off once in a while to gather new supplies.
The result? A group effort!
I was thrilled to see the kids pull together to problem solve and create a place they thought the fairies would love, complete with bridges from one tree stump to the next.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get photos of the additions they made to this particular house in the days that followed. You’ll just have to take my word for it that they added on a kitchen area and a restaurant!
Before bed that evening, each of the kids was asking if we adults thought the forest fairies would come visit the houses. We made sure they did.
This one is all about discovering, building and playing with different items from nature. As you can see from our creations, they certainly don’t have to be works of art! What matters is that the kids have fun making them! For best results:
- Foster imaginative play. We gathered up some flowers and placed a small bouquet next to each of the fairy houses while the kids slept. It was this tiny action that got the big explorer thinking that fairies might actually exist.
- Ask questions. We parents stayed in the background while the kids gathered their materials and built their houses. When they were ready to show off their creations, we asked them a ton of questions. It was fun to hear their ideas about what a fairy house needed (always a bed and pillow, sometimes a garage).
MORE IDEAS FOR OUTDOOR FUN
Somehow, a month of our summer break has already flown by! Thankfully, there is still plenty of time left to spend exploring outdoors. Here are a few ideas to try this weekend:
- Try a color walk with a camera, maybe even let the kids snap some shots!
- Let the kids create their own super-duper garden hero
- Or go nuts and try something you’ve never done before, like backyard camping or geocaching.
Whatever you do, enjoy some time playing outdoors. Consider this your permission slip to let loose and be a kid again. Just don’t forget to take the kids with you!