Fairy Gardens – A Unique Learning Experience for Kids & Cure for the Quarantine Blues
The spring semester has taken quite an unusual turn this year. As parents adjust to quarantine procedures including remote learning and the closure of child care and early learning centers, families are looking for innovative ways to engage their children. Activities that foster learning with play are in high demand, and even more so are those that require no screen time. And boy do we have an opportunity for you….
Fairy gardening has long been seen as a fun and creative hobby, but what people don’t realize is the hours of enjoyment come with a world of educational possibilities as well. Children of all ages can spend countless time both indoors and out, creating, imagining, problem solving, and experiencing all that accompanies the whimsical world of micro-gardening.
Depending on where you live, homeschooling and remote learning may continue for the rest of the academic year. Why not infuse some fun into your kids’ day while embracing some key concepts of experiential learning. Here’s how:
Terrarium – Gardening in and of itself is an engaging learning experience, but on a smaller scale, one that kids can manage on their own, designing and accessorizing a small terrarium not only gives kids a sense of accomplishment but it’s also a great life science experiment. Merge plant-life with a some fairy figurines and you’ve got a living landscape that kids can watch grow and evolve right before their eyes.
Reading and Storytelling – What most kids don’t realize is when they’re placing fairy figurines and accessories they’re telling a story. They are stretching their creative muscles and being inventive in a fun and wonderous way. Fairytale sets such as Alice in Wonderland, Peter Rabbit, Wizard of Oz, Snow White, and Peter Pan can be the perfect way to engage in a love of reading. Children first read the book (or it’s read to them) and then they have a hands-on experience with the figurines to “act” out the story.
Ecology and the Environment – Outdoor fairy gardening not only gets kids off the iPads and laptops, but it’s also a great way to get in touch with nature. From fairy doors on tree stumps, to hidden hobbit homes, children are able to connect with their natural surroundings. Using natural elements like branches, moss, wildflowers, leaves and pinecones when creating fairy gardens fosters an appreciation for natural elements and opens up a conversation about different eco-systems.
Problem Solving – At first glance, you may wonder how fairy gardens promote problem solving. However, the independence skills and persistence that comes from owning their own fairy projects helps kids figure things out on their own and draw their own conclusions. For example, present kids with a few figurines and accents and then ask them to create a specific scene using only materials they have around the house to go with the figurines. Or, challenge kids to repurpose something that is older or even broken (like a ceramic flower pot) and create a fairy garden scene to bring it back to life in a beautiful way. (FYI – cracked pot gardening is a much beloved art form and upcycling yields beautiful creations.)
A little imagination and even smaller figurines go a long way with children. Those cooped up inside find joy in creating beach and seaside scenes when they can’t get to the shore. A town square where fairies and their friends meet and play can be a wonderful escape to the quarantine blues. And taking a virtual camping trip, or carnival ride, or even a trip to a farm can be made even more fun when they’re interactive with fairy friends.