How to Make an Elf or Fairy House With Your Kids and Create a World of Wonder
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.
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.
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?
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 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.
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.
You’ll need a low-temperature glue gun and wood glue to put it all together.
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.
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.
Depending on the size of your family and the age of your kids, you may want to pair up or split into 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 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lay down a floor of moss, and then add furniture you found, built or repurposed from other objects.
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!
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.
Fairies are reclusive creatures, so the best fairy houses will be in quiet corners of the yard with little or no disruptive human activity.
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.
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.
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?
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 Heather Taylor »