How to Make an Elf or Fairy House With Your Kids and Create a World of Wonder

Do your kids love to play make-believe?

Want to jump into their world?

Build move-in-ready elf and fairy houses as a family. Create little villages of fantasy that will give rise to make-believe quests right in your own backyard.

In this article I’ll show you how to create a world of wonder and build elf or fairy houses together.

Want to tap your kids' imaginations and spark their senses of wonder? Build an elf or fairy house together from natural materials and watch imaginations soar.

Why Build an Elf or Fairy House With Your Kids?

One of the fastest ways to create long-term memories that stick through adulthood is to wrap our activities in a feeling of wonder.

Stir up your kids’ imaginative spirits and create mystical places where make-believe adventures are just waiting to happen. From the defensive dragon-fighting fortresses of the elves to the picturesque cottages of the flower fairies, these easy structures will write a whole new chapter in your family memory book!

The must-have ingredient in every happy childhood is wonder. Wonder is what transforms a walk in the woods into an exciting epic exploration. And nothing brings out wonder like magical creatures.

fairy house

Step into your child’s imagination. When you enter their world, it deepens relationships and strengthens the family bond.

Think about some of the happiest moments from your own childhood. How many of those memories are linked to some kind of wonder? Was it the tummy-twirling excitement of Santa Claus on Christmas morning, the thrill of uncovering hidden Easter eggs or the stir of super powers while flying from couch to couch in the living room?

Or perhaps it was all the cool people you saw during a trip to a local Renaissance faire?

Fairy Field Trip

Turn this fairy adventure into a family field trip. Head over to your local Renaissance Fair. Do this to get in the mood for your fairy and elf house-building or after your project is complete.

fairy

Spend an afternoon letting your kids play with “magically grown” life-sized fairies and see professional fairy houses at your local Renaissance fair.

Many Renaissance fairs have fairy exhibits (or even contests) that spark the imaginations of young and old alike.

For those a little less than excited about the fairies, many Renaissance Fairs include live jousting and sword fighting, armor-making, magic shows and other fascinating opportunities to learn about history and fantasy alike.

Wonder comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be found in a book or in the movies, on a walk or on an adventure.

Buddy the Elf and Tinker Bell have the magical quality of wonder.


Buddy the Elf sees all the possibilities in the world around him and lets his imagination run wild.

When you build a home for local elves and fairies with your kids, you can easily imagine all of their adventures… once you tap into your own sense of wonder.

You Will Need

  • Leaves, grass and moss
  • Flowers, acorns, rocks
  • Seashells
  • Large pieces of wood, baskets, or other “natural-looking” containers
  • Large plastic tray(s)
  • Glue guns and glue sticks
  • Extension cords (if building outside)
  • Wood glue
  • Twine (for swings or clotheslines) (optional)
  • Fake fur or fabric scraps (optional)
  • Buttons and itsies (small dollhouse items) (optional)
  • Paint (optional)
  • Anything else that looks like it would be a good addition to a fairy house

Preparation Time

30 minutes+ to forage for supplies

Activity Time

45 minutes+, depending on how elaborate you make your house

Location

Outside to gather supplies and findings, construct your house indoors or out

Building wonder sometimes takes a little work and a little imagination, but it won’t take too much money. We found most of the items at secondhand stores or around the house.

Once you start building your elf and fairy houses together, you’ll probably find that the time passes quickly because you’re having so much fun.

Let’s get started.

#1: Gather Supplies

First, collect your kids and go in search of supplies you’ll need to construct your house.

Find a large basket or other container to use for the house itself and a plastic tray for the base.

Look for a variety of natural materials and decorative craft items like leaves, grass, moss, acorns, rocks, flowers and seashells.

You’ll need a low-temperature glue gun and wood glue to put it all together.

craft supplies

Gather a variety of craft supplies, natural materials and decorative items.

Check these places to score low-cost building materials, perfect for a local elf or fairy.

  • Hike through the woods with a gathering basket, and scoop up inspiration in the wild
  • Take $10 and head to your local thrift store
  • Walk on the beach and hunt for interesting stones, driftwood, shells and other fascinating objects
  • Go dumpster diving! One person’s trash is a fairy’s repurposed treasure!

Also, go through your craft supplies and pick up other essentials, like paint, buttons and dollhouse furniture.

thrift store purchases

If you can’t find everything you need for your elf or fairy house in or near your home, head over to the thrift store.

To fire up your kids’ senses of imagination, read some books about fairies and elves together.

If you are more of a “planner” than a “figure it out at the moment” kind of person, do a little Internet research to help you know what to look for. Also check out a fairy house Pinterest board or fairy house books for inspiration.

You’ll find plenty of pictures of hidden-away fairy forts using all natural supplies from the surrounding environment. It’s a great way to visualize the possibilities!

Once your family starts to get some ideas, take the crayons or paints and sketch out some plans for your own elf or fairy houses.

#2: Set Up Your Workspace

Once you’ve gathered all of your materials, display your treasures on a large table. Allow the kids to take turns picking items.

stuff for fairy house

Let the kids take turns choosing items from the gathering table.

Depending on the size of your family and the age of your kids, you may want to pair up or split into teams.

groups of kids

Divide into groups so you conserve supplies by working in teams.

Lay out your supplies either on a table or on a large piece of flat cardboard, and get ready to create.

#3: Start With a Strong Foundation

Now that your workstation’s organized, select the base for your house.

Build your house on a large plastic tray or platter from a thrift or dollar store. That way it’s easy to move the house to a quiet location when you’re finished.

line tray with leaves

Choose a plastic tray for your foundation and line it with greenery.

Line your plastic tray with moss, other greenery or a layer of dirt, so your fairy house will blend in with the rest of the yard.

#4: Form the Outside of the House

After you line the tray, pick out the main structure. Use a wicker basket or other elf or fairy-friendly container. Make sure it will fit comfortably on the tray with room for add-ons (a porch) and embellishments (a garden or play area).

basket

This fairy house is made from a wicker basket and has a front porch made out of a broken piece of doll’s china.

Next, create the enhancements. Start with the large outdoor pieces (doors, windows and paths) and then add the finer outdoor details like mailboxes, shrubs and swings.

making doorway

After cutting out a doorway from a basket, the kids covered up the glue with freshly picked flowers and a small stone “doorknob.”

Use glue guns to construct your items and add them to the house. If you’re working on the ground, always make sure to keep the glue gun close by, so no-one steps on it.

building village

Spell out glue gun safety rules prior to starting this project.

Warning: Glue guns can get really hot! For younger kids, use an “Adults Only” glue rule, while older children may be permitted to use low-temperature glue guns. Watch them carefully and make sure they know how to safely use the equipment first.

elf fort

Make an elf fort, a fairy house or both—or a whole village! Be sure to add watchtowers and arrow holes to your elf fort!

Throughout the creation process, ask your kids lots of questions, like, “What would a fairy use this for?” It’s a sneaky way to encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as creativity and imagination.

#5: Decorate the Inside of the Fairy House

Once the outside is finished, build fairy furniture, shelves, beds and even tiny bathrooms and kitchens.

fair spa

This “Fairy Spa” comes complete with bathtub (with fake-fur “water”) and a toilet that badly needs a scrub!

Lay down a floor of moss, and then add furniture you found, built or repurposed from other objects.

inside house

The kids glued upside-down shells as shelves (with dollhouse trinkets) and created a bathtub (with blue “bubbles”) out of a mini teacup found at Goodwill.

Some kids take to decorating like a fairy takes to dust, while others may need some creative questioning to help them think small.

Refer to familiar books or movies to guide them in the creative process.

  • Remember in Swiss Family Robinson how they built a tiger pit to protect against invaders? Perhaps we could do something similar, only with a beetle…
  • That would make the perfect landing place for hummingbirds. You know, like in Epic
  • Do you remember how the Borrowers lived in that old boot? Let’s see if we can’t recreate that.

Here are some other questions you can ask:

  • What are the basic furniture pieces you’d expect to see in a comfortable home?
  • When you made your LEGO castle, what things did you, as a master builder, include inside?
  • What do elves and fairies like to eat? We might be able to find some berries behind the shed, but we’ll have to make and set the table first…
  • Fairies hate to be seen, how can we camouflage this?

Remember, let your kids take the initiative. You just want to start their creative engines.

#6: Find the Perfect Location

Once your house is decorated inside and out, place your move-in–ready elf or fairy house in the perfect spot!

final house

The finished house awaits its first mystical homeowner!

Scope out your yard for a place that’s elf- or fairy-friendly: under the porch, beside a bush or tucked inside an evergreen are all good options.

large evergreen tree

This fairy house is quietly placed under the shelter of a large evergreen tree.

Fairies are reclusive creatures, so the best fairy houses will be in quiet corners of the yard with little or no disruptive human activity.

Bonus Adventure

You know what goes wonderfully with a fairy house? A fairy garden!

Instead of a hot glue gun, pick up some potting soil and some miniature plants for a year-round fantasy garden to surround your elf or fairy home.

fairy garden

Real plants and tiny figurines and stones turn a typical pot into a fantastical jungle.

This wonderful step-by-step tutorial by HGTV shows how to easily start your own year-round fairy garden.

Remember the #1 rule in real estate? Location, location, location. Once elves and fairies are settled into your yard, they’ll never want to move.

#7: Add an Extra Magical Touch

The houses are all built and set out, blended into their environments. When the evening comes, all is quiet in both the human and fairy realms. That’s when the magic really happens.

You can wait for real fairies to work their magic or give them a little assistance. Parents, sneak out there when your kids are dreaming and do a little extra decorating.

It’s time to plant some “clues” into this world of wonder you’ve created together. Here are some recommendations:

  • Leave a teeny-tiny handwritten note (write this in your smallest handwriting) thanking the kids for the gorgeous little home.
  • Place breadcrumbs or other pieces of food on the table, so it shows someone ate there.
  • Ruffle the bed so it looks “slept in.”
  • Add new items or a sprinkle of fairy dust (glitter) to show the house has been “claimed” (try the dollhouse section at your local craft store).

In the morning, nonchalantly mention you saw “the dog sniffing” or the “bush shaking” and encourage your kids to go and check on their little house.

children with their finished cottage

Happy faces show off their little cottage!

Don’t forget to grab the camera! You’ll want to immortalize those facial expressions forever.

This project is more than just a fun, crafty adventure. It can easily be used as a launching pad for other creative pursuits. Head to the library and bring home fairytale books to read together.

Also, use the elf or fairy house as the basis of a variety of creative writing exercises. Ask your kids to write about the occupants and their adventures. Parents, write your own stories, too!

Some Final Thoughts

These fairy houses may not turn out high quality, but they sure will be fun! Plus, they’ll become an infamous part of your family’s history. They will be talked about, reminisced upon and reshared for decades to come.

When you are spending that last night before college together, going through old photo albums and laughing over inside jokes, this adventure is one you’ll be discussing. These little at-home-crafts will be recalled as some of the most wonder-ful adventures with your family.

What do you think? Have you ever created a fairy house with your kids? An elf fort? How else do you celebrate the wonder of childhood with your kids? Why not share your comments, ideas and pictures in the box below?

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author, Heather Taylor

Heather Taylor is the Chief Encouragement Officer at Incredible Infant, where she writes fun-to-read (and yet practically helpful) articles about the life-changing adventure of babyhood. Other posts by »


  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    Thanks, Heather! These are adorable and so creative! I love the extra magic touch of showing that the fairies have been there overnight.

  • http://www.incredibleinfant.com/ Heather Taylor

    You’re welcome Jennifer! Those are the memories I love leaving with my kids – the unexpected surprises! :-)

  • http://www.fineartmom.com/ Crystal Foth

    So cute – we could build a whole community with the gnomes and fairies!

  • http://j9sopinion.tumblr.com/ Jeanine H

    OMGSH! SEE! THIS is what I LOVE about your site! Maybe some people prefer just pictures and they ‘get it’. Not Me! I prefer ‘all the help I can get’ you know! I appreciate the time, energy and efforts each of the contributors put into these posts. The photos, explanations, added suggestions, and steps to do right from beginning to end. Much appreciated! This is ONE project we have yet to take part in. It’s something I as the parent have always wanted to do but, youngster always declines the invitation to ‘make a fairy house’. BUT, you’ve given me the idea of making it an entire family go, start from SKRATCH (for most part), and make ‘an artistic adventure’ out of this!!! I won’t even TELL the kids what were doing, we’ll just head to Thrift Store with list in hand, and join forces to get all the goods. It will be exciting for them cuz every kid likes a surprise! (Hers hopin it works);) We were headed to thrift store tomorrow already.

Check out the Parenting Adventures podcast with Michael Stelzner
How to Have an Outdoor Photo Scavenger Hunt With Your Kids
How to Create Glow-In-The-Dark Bowling In Your Home
How to Create a Backyard Treasure Hunt, Minecraft Style
How to Make Slime: 5 Easy Recipes
How to Entertain Your Kids for Hours With Adventure Tubs