Earlier this week at Kindergarten I introduced the book ‘Fairy Houses Everywhere!’ by Barry and Tracy Kane. This book is truly wonderful and shows many ideas on how to construct fairy houses (and furniture) simply and beautifully from the natural materials all around us. This provoked a lot of discussion, work and building, so knowing I was scheduled to lead the nature programme on Fridays, I wondered what the children would chose to do if I brought the book along.
I could never have imagined just how totally captivated and engaged the children would become. On arriving at a special place in Mair Park known as the ‘Magic tree’ the children immediately began to clear the leaves and rocks, re-arrange materials and start the beginnings of their fairy world.
From a teacher's perspective it was wonderful to watch; all the children were engaged, all working in small groups to construct and collaborate. Whilst they used the book for ideas, of course they had to think about how to adapt these ideas based on the resources they had available.
|One of the houses with clay figures|
|A swing (the fabric was in one of our bags)|
|A fairy houses, surrounded by a rock wall garden and a tree made from sticks and fallen leaves|
|Gazebo with an open fire in front|
|Arch way with path made from shells|
The simple challenge of creating a fairy house gives children a unique activity that encourages them to go outside and connect with the natural world, nurturing care and respect for the environment (Tracy Kane)
|The rainbow fairy house|
“Build a fairy house and celebrate the child within you”
Barry and Tracy Kane
No two houses were alike; they were as unique as the children who built them and as varied as these children’s imaginations. You could literally see the children’s imaginings, expression, dreams and creativity running wild. And it just goes to show how you don’t need expensive or large bought objects to stimulate a child’s sense of wonder and imagination; by connecting with the natural world everything you need is at your fingertips.
As the children worked they were instinctively respectful of their environment only using found materials and being careful not to harm any living shrubs. I had also brought along some clay which the children transformed into small figures, used for decorations or (very cleverly) used as glue to stick pieces of their constructions together.
|Little clay men around a moss table|
As everyone worked I was able to step back a little and listen to some of the creative ideas and thinking that the children were engaged in:
Eva “I’ve had to use leaves, then I added the roof like a rainbow”
Mason “It's taken us a long long time. We used the clay for sticking shells and even some little men out of the clay”.
Ben “This place will be safe for the fairies because the wood dragon that kills fairies lives down there”.
|The flower bed with protective roof|
|A quick check of the book|
Our fairy houses looked so natural they were almost hidden (the photographs really don’t do them justice), so you’ll have to take my word for it when I say they were captivating. I wondered aloud to the children as they worked what the fairies would think when they came across their work a little later on. Here is a snippet of the children’s conversation as they considered this question:
Liliana “They’ll say, it’s so so beautiful”
Chamodhi “They will say the kids made them for us the fairies”
Ben “I think they’ll be amazed and that the fairies will like to live here”
Liliana “Yes, they’ll live here forever!”
If young ones can maintain a sense of wonder as they pass through early childhood into adolescence and early adulthood, that inclination may inspire much of their questioning. As they yearn to understand and make the best of life, a sense of wonder tilts their thinking forward. They grow bolder and stronger in their questioning, testing the edges and boundaries of conventional reasoning, pushing into new territory, demanding fresh truths and answers. (Jamie McKenzie)
A huge thank you to my helpers on Friday, Phil, Risini and Michelle; you all contributed your own bit of magic to the morning.