The children are tired from a long day at school and you're fed up with them getting bug-eyed in front of the television. But what's the solution?
Round up some string, scissors, and head outside to collect stones, flowers, leaves, moss and a whole host of other little things from your garden.
Then settle down for a calming, creative activity making a fairy home. Or, if you have boys, a home for elves/woodland sprites/ Action Man or Lego people.
But be warned; it's addictive so you must remember to actually let the children have a go.
Read on for my top tips and ideas to create a fairy garden that will be the envy of little winged people for miles.
Oh, and if you're lucky the fairies may leave you a little present in return for your hard work...
- Pick your spot. Sheltered and secluded is best, such as against a brick wall or fence or at the base of a tree. You don't want your creation flattened by wind and rain, or any four legged friends, five minutes after you've made it.
- Gather your building materials. There's no right or wrong things to pick, just let your imagination go wild. However, using stuff from your child's dolls house is cheating. We're talking natural homes here.
- Using string is OK though. Unless you are a lot more patient than me. In that case, daffodil leaves are a great substitution.
- These things are essential when we're building and making: a fire, little cups and "food", a bed (the plant lambs ear is wonderful for this), little chairs. And for some inexplicable reason, I like making little ladders from twigs and daffodil leaves (see above). Not sure why but they look cute.
- All fairies/sprites need a pretty home so don't be afraid to pinch a few flowers and petals from your borders. Our latest home had a bed of soft, lilac rose petals. And because you're doing everything on a small scale your garden won't feel strangely flower free once you're done.
- Children might like to learn about flower fairies, creation of illustrator Cicely Mary Barker, who live at the bottom of gardens in their chosen flower, plant or tree.
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