5 Outdoor Craft Ideas for Kids


Fairy Houses

Fairy houses give kids a chance to get really creative with found objects. ©Will Gray/Getty Images
Fairy houses give kids a chance to get really creative with found objects. ©Will Gray/Getty Images

A more whimsical outdoor activity is building a habitat for tiny mythical creatures -- fairies. You can use household and craft materials like milk cartons, paper towel rolls, popsicle sticks, fabric, clay, wood glue or anything else that's relatively biodegradable, but the beauty of fairy houses is that you can also make them entirely out of materials gathered from the outdoors; think rocks, sticks, bark, leaves, grasses, vines, flowers, feathers, pine cones and shells. Just be sure not to include anything that might harm animals like small plastic items or metal staples, and try to gather fallen items rather than ripping up live bark or foliage.

You can build your fairy house next to a tree or other natural barrier, in a garden or park or anywhere in your own yard, and make it blend with the surroundings. You can use a milk carton for a base, or you can go entirely natural and make walls by stacking rocks or implanting sticks or bark into the dirt. Then lay a roof with bark or twigs and make a floor with bark, pebbles or leaves. Sticks, bark and pinecones can be used to make fences, and lots of tiny pebbles make a nice pathway. Placing your fairy house over moss would make for a nice built-in floor or lawn, as well.

Get fancy by making tiny furniture out of the same materials. Flowers, pinecones and nut and acorn shells also make nice decorations. Fairy houses can have doors and windows, archways or open sides so that you can easily place furnishings inside. You can even combine this craft with container gardening and creating a fairy habitat in a planter, replete with fairy-sized plants, tiny furniture, pebble paths and the like.

You and your little ones can have fun designing, building and furnishing the dwelling, then imagining the future fairy inhabitants. Trying to give your fairy house structural integrity might help prepare your little ones for futures in architecture or engineering. But it is sure to be loads of fun, too.

Author's Note: 5 Outdoor Craft Ideas for Kids

I remember how fun it was to grow strawberries in kindergarten, both in a tiny milk carton and in our class garden outside. We also used to pick wild strawberries and onions and gather pecans on the way home from school, and run around the neighborhood smelling and tasting the honeysuckle. And I grew up in the city!

We got even more exposure to nature via my grandparents' vegetable and flower gardens, and looking through the windows at their hummingbird feeders. The quick-moving, tiny birds provided constant fascination during the right season. Although they sometimes had to fight the wasps for the nectar.

We definitely got outdoors more than most kids seem to these days, so a variety of outdoor craft and plant related projects might be just the thing to help your kids buck the couch potato trend. And they might provide a nice break from the day job for us adults, too. I know I want to build a fairy house now. Or maybe a container garden. Using a shoe. There we go. A "Woman Who Lived in a Shoe"-inspired fairy garden.


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