Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fairy Houses

When I first visited the coast of Maine on vacation with my family about 12 or so years ago, we took a day trip to the beautiful Monhegan Island. Our hike took us through Cathedral Woods, where we discovered several little fairy houses, made with materials found on the forest floor. They were so charming and imaginative, and it was fun to look for them on our hike.

Fast forward to 2011, when we took our (then four-year-old) daughter Kate to Maine (her first time there). One of our first stops was the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, which has a wonderful children's garden, and an area for kids to build fairy houses. You are only supposed to use found materials, nothing artificial, and nothing picked off living trees or bushes. We had a great time making fairy houses, and when spring came around this year, we took to the nature trail in Stone Mountain Park near our house to create some there. Some neighborhood friends from South Korea (with a daughter about Kate's age) came with us one day and we introduced them to fairy houses. Both little girls, even though they spoke two different languages, communicated through the language of a shared task (and a love of Tinkerbell).

Kate working on her house.
Kate's finished house, with a path to the front door.
Home under construction by our Korean friends.
This is the house I constructed, an A-frame.
This is part of a beautiful stream in the park that seemed enchanted this spring with multitudes of mountain laurel in bloom.
In the stream we made fairy boats (bark with a leaf sail) and let the gentle current carry them.
This is such a great activity for kids--and adults! We have a really nice story book by Tracy Kane and a DVD about a little girl in Maine who creates fairy houses (goes nicely with the story book). See: www.fairyhouses.com.