I don't know about the weather where you guys are, but here in Texas it's finally cooling off. For my daughter and I, that means hours long walks and stays at the park, and tons of local outdoor activities. It's our favorite few weeks of the year. Yes, it's that short here. Sometimes we take "fairy walks". My daughter gets to wear her fairy wings (and sometimes requests that I do, too) and carries a little basket which she collects fairy things into.
This past spring, we collected the things in the photo above, which included huge acorns and acorn 'hats', what looked like an old wooden tinker toys piece, lots of thin sticks, snail shells, leaves of different shapes and sizes, a variety of different barks, mosses, a piece of wood that we found in a park from a previously cut tree, neat shaped rocks, among loads of other things. We have a box in our garage dedicated for our finds and we do lots of things with it from fairy gardens, to pressed flowers and leaves, etc.
I try my best to educate her on what things are, where they come from, what we can and can't touch and what things need to be left alone because someone planted them, or so that other people and animals can enjoy them. When we bring something home I don't know anything about, we take a few minutes to Google it, and we both learn a little something!
For our fairy garden (and we made one together, and she made one on her own - but for the photo above...) we used a fairly small round wooden planter with a plastic lining, a small broken clay pot, two small purchased plants (maybe $4 all together), one plant we moved to the fairy garden, moss (another few dollars from our local gardening store) and our foraged materials. We simply filled the pot with dirt, added our broken clay pot pieces and then added our fairy house, ladder, fence, other decorations and moss.
It's really very simple! We made our fairy house out of tree bark that we hot glued to a water bottle that I cut the bottom out of. Then we tied the leaves together and glued them to the top. The ladder and fence were both made from similar small sized sticks which we tied and glued together. We also made a small chair out of an acorn hat and a sea shell from our trip to the beach. The Venus Fly Trap was my daughter's idea, and it was really really neat, though it didn't hold up outdoors like the other two plants did.
We also made a small zen-type garden out of an old tray, and added fairy things to it. I wish I'd have taken a photo of that one, it was so cool! We filled it with sand that we brought back from the beach, sea shells for a pathway and coral decorations, plus another chair made out of two sea shells, and another fairy house made with a water bottle and glued on seashells that covered the entire bottle (we sprinkled a little sand over the bare spots of glue) and palm tree leaves tied together for the top. I even made a little zen garden rake out of sticks and hot glue. I can't believe I didn't take a picture of that one, but it just goes to show that you can throw a fairy garden together in no time at all, virtually for free, in any way you'd like!
Here's an example of one that we found at our local Botanical Garden. Every year they have a fairy trail where people create and donate little fairy 'exhibits' and they even have a little fairy tea party that you can sign your kids up for. It's really neat! So we didn't make this fairy house, but it's got an incredible amount of detail! They even had some hanging from trees. Very cool, and the kids love it.
For those of you in the Austin area or who might be traveling to our great city in the future. I suggest you check out the Zilker Botanical Garden. It's a nice day trip in the spring when the flowers are blooming, and they have nice family events there, too. We love their dinosaur exhibit and it just so happens to be the wonderfully magical place where my husband proposed to me!
Recently my mom bought us this amazing pot that looks like a carved out log, and it's quite large. When we make a fairy garden (or complex!) out of it, I'll add the photo here. I bet it's going to be amazing, and we're both excited to use it. If you'd like to make a fairy garden that looks a little bit more 'real', they do make fairy garden items such as benches, fences, houses, rakes, hammocks, etc. that you can find online or at your local Hobby Lobby.