Kid Project! Bring Fairies to the Garden

When it comes to garden fairies, magic can come to life for gardeners of all ages. For young gardeners, it’s the imagination and story, the what-if and could-it-be of fairies living among us. For those of us slightly past childhood, the magic of fairies takes an equally treasured form, giving us the opportunity to really pause and notice the petite, beautiful details of our gardens, and the chance to relish happy time spent with the children in our lives, creating a project together.

In Gardening Lab for Kids, Renata Brown helps young readers (and their grown-ups!) create tiny fairy gardens, perfect for the backyard, meadow, field, or forest near your home.

Garden Fairies

Fairies are tiny creatures who live in our gardens and keep an eye on things. You are going to create a beautiful place for your garden fairy to live! Gather your materials and find a small, tucked-away place in your garden to build your fairy garden. This can be an area that is “hidden” so only you and the fairy know where it is, or it can be easy for anyone to see.

garden fairies fairy
Photo: Dave Brown / Gardening Lab for Kids

What You’ll Need for a Fairy Garden

  • Super-small natural materials, such as tiny pine cones, shells, tiny sticks, thin pieces of tree bark, small leaves, small nuts and acorns, and pine needles.
  • Weather-resistant silicone, or indoor/outdoor fast-setting wood glue.
  • Trowel
  • Small plants, such as Sagina, Asperula, mosses, Arenaria, Ageratum, Lobularia, or miniature ferns. In addition to small plants, look for plants with tiny flowers. If you want to use shrubs or bushes, you can find small dwarf varieties that will work well.
  • Miniature knick-knacks or trinkets, such as furniture, animals, and tools.

How to Make a Fairy Garden



fairy fairies garden
Select and clear an area. Photo: Dave Brown / Gardening Lab for Kids
  1. Choose the location of the fairy house near the back of your chosen space. Clear a small area—a 1’ (30 cm) square space is perfect. You don’t want to make it too big. Smooth the soil in the location the house will go.

fairy fairie garden
Build your fairy house. Photo: Dave Brown / Gardening Lab for Kids
  1. Construct the house using the natural materials. Build the frame of the house using the tree bark or something else as sturdy. Glue the pieces together using the silicone or wood glue. Clamp the pieces together if necessary and let dry.

fairy fairies garden
Plant and water the plants. Photo: Dave Brown / Gardening Lab for Kids
  1. Place the plants where you think they should go and plant them in the soil. Water them at their roots. Add knick-knacks or trinkets. Step back and admire your new creation. Fairies will be moving in there soon!

Attract Fairies to Your Garden

To entice the finest fairy to move into your new house, do some research on plants and herbs that symbolize positive things, such as basil (good wishes), thyme (courage), or sage (wisdom). You can either plant these or scatter some of those leaves around the fairy house!

Collect materials for your fairy house by going on a scavenger hunt. Go for a hike in the woods and see what treasures you can find!

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A refreshing source of ideas to help your children learn to grow their own patch of earth, Gardening Lab for Kids encourages children to get outside and enjoy nature. This fun and creative book features 52 plant-related activities set into weekly lessons, beginning with learning to read maps to find your heat zone, moving through seeds, soil, composting, and then creating garden art and appreciating your natural surroundings. Author Renata Fossen Brown guides your family through fun opportunities learning about botany, ecology, the seasons, food, patience, insects, eating, and cooking. The labs can be used as singular projects or to build up to a year of hands-on outdoor experiences. The lessons in this book are open-ended to be explored over and over – with different results each time! Gardening Lab for Kids is the perfect book for creative families, friends, and community groups and works as lesson plans for both experienced and new gardeners. Children of all ages and experience levels can be guided by adults and will enjoy these engaging exercises. So, slip on your muddy clothes, and get out and grow!

As Associate Director of Education, Renata Fossen Brown (Cleveland, OH) oversees the thousands of school children visiting Cleveland Botanical Garden yearly, as well as the development and implementation of teacher professional development workshops. She assisted in the planning and facilitating of a 10-day teacher workshop that traveled to Costa Rica to study biodiversity. Brown is involved in the writing of interpretation and exhibit graphics at the Garden and served as president of the Cleveland Regional Council of Science Teachers.

Brown holds a B.A. in Biology from the University of Toledo and an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from Bradley University, in Peoria, Illinois. She is certified to teach grades 7-12 science, and has been active in informal science education since 1993.

As Assistant Curator of Education at the Toledo Zoo, Brown was responsible for all educational programs occurring on Zoo grounds, as well as researching and writing for their Emmy award winning television show, “Zoo Today.” Creating and implementing their very first Earth Day Celebration is a task of which she is particularly proud. She continued her education role, while adding volunteer coordinator duties while working at Luthy Botanical Garden in Peoria, Illinois. A native Clevelander, Renata Fossen Brown gladly returned home in 2004 after a 15 year absence. She was named the Garden’s Clara DeMallie Sherwin Chair in Education in December 2004. She is usually surrounded in her yard by her three dogs and prefers natives and perennials over annuals any day. She is particularly in love with purple coneflower.