When it comes to imaginative play, fairy gardens are one of the most fun ways to spend creative time outdoors. Today I want to share 4 magical fairy garden ideas that will inspire more time playing outside.
There’s a wonderful sense of connection to the Earth when playing around plants. And building fairy gardens helps teach kids how to identify and harvest plants, get their hands dirty, and appreciate the life cycles in nature.
The best part is that you don’t need a fancy setup or special supplies to create a sweet and engaging fairy garden.
I’m calling these “fairy gardens” because it’s a common term for a whimsical play garden. But the truth is, fairy gardens aren’t limited to imaginary fairies.
My kids love to play with dinosaurs, Daniel Tiger figurines, and make believe characters in their fairy gardens. Sometimes cars and trucks are introduced in the mix too. Ultimately, call it whatever you want (or think your kid will like)!
Here are four fun ways to create your very own fairy garden.
1. Nature Fairy Garden
You can set up this type of fairy garden in an existing garden bed or an entirely separate space.
Basically you go for a nature walk, a park scout, or a backyard hunt for things like sticks, leaves flowers, and rocks. Then you can create little houses, beds, tunnels and pathways for the fairies (or dinosaurs, or whomever wants to play that particular day).
If you happen to have shells or garden gems, they are fun to add into the mix but aren’t necessary.
We make these little fairy gardens in our vegetable garden beds quite frequently.
But you can just as easily build fairy garden houses on the patio or anywhere you can clear a bit of space.
2. Fairy Garden Planter
If you don’t have a garden-friendly yard, a planter pot on a patio or porch makes a perfect container for a fairy garden!
My youngest absolutely loves dinosaurs and gardening. So last year, for her birthday, we made this adorable Dinosaur Fairy Garden together.
Even though we have a yard and garden space, she loves having a special place to play that she can customize.
On one of our last nursery trips, she picked out some pretty purple petunias to add to her special garden.
She is always hiding little figures in her dinosaur fairy garden and watering her plants. Though we try not to water them too much since they are mostly succulents. And we put her garden just outside the sliding glass door on the patio so she has easy access to it.
You can find a full tutorial to make your own whimsical fairy garden planter pot here.
3. Recycled Fairy Garden
What better way to honor Mother Earth this year than a recycled fairy garden!
I’m always saving little pieces from the recycling bin that I think we can repurpose for art and craft projects.
We kept our recycled fairy garden house pretty simple with recycled cardboard boxes and recycled furniture.
My preschooler was really into designing the furniture.
The little vegetable garden with pouch lids and his shower made from a recycled push pop and lid are my favorites.
My toddler loved playing with the furniture using all her Daniel Tiger figurines. The little lid toilets were a particularly big hit.
I love that we can add on to these recycled fairy garden houses too! No one was interested in decorating them at first. But eventually, I think it would be fun to paint the cardboard and decorate with wallpaper or make mini artwork.
- An assortment of recycled items such as cardboard boxes, plastic lids, corks, metal lids, pouch tops, popsicle sticks, and straws
- A pair of scissors, preferably cardboard cutting scissors. This is the pair I have and I love them! They make all of our recycled crafts and projects so much easier!
- A hot glue gun – Depending on the project, I help my son use a hot glue gun. Because we were working with such small pieces, we decided I would be in charge of the hot glue and he would direct.
- Favorite toy figurines or make your own fairies from popsicle sticks!
4. Cardboard Botanical Fairy House
The cardboard botanical fairy house is a fun twist on a traditional gingerbread house.
Over the winter holidays, I got really into cardboard gingerbread houses.
I was inspired by all of my garden herbs and created this darling botanical house too.
It’s the perfect little fairy garden house to pop in the garden bed for imaginative play.
And since you can get really detailed with the decorations, it makes a fun craft for older kids. Best of all, it uses recycled cardboard! I have a full tutorial here complete with a template so you can make your own.
More Recycled and Gardening Fun
What Will You Create?
I hope these magical fairy garden ideas inspire you to take a moment to explore in nature, care for a plant, and perhaps make your own fun play garden.