The Magical Healing Power of FAIRY HOUSES
By Meredith Reed
The healing power of nature spans across several aspects of well-being, including mental, physical, and emotional health. The benefits of time spent in nature for children are powerful as it helps to shape overall development and foster stewardship and protection of the environment. A creative way of encouraging children to go outside is with the activity of building fairy houses. The simple challenge of creating a fairy house encourages children to get outside, respect nature, explore their surroundings, and expand their imaginations.
Fairy houses can be created using sticks, stones, pebbles, branches, leaves, seaweed, pine cones, nuts, shells, feathers, and any other natural materials. It is important to stress that respect should be given to plants still living and growing and should not be disturbed. The houses can be built in special places, away from roads and busy pathways, perhaps at the base of a tree. Different locations and different seasons will yield unique looking fairy houses. Once the fairy house is built, children will enjoy watching it welcome surprise visitors, or “fairies,” like toads, ants, and birds.
Building fairy houses gives children a chance to step away from the world of technology, computer screens, televisions and cell phones. A daily dose of green time will improve attention, focus and memory. Nature also has a healing power, improving children’s cognitive development. Creative play in nature nurtures language and collaborative skills, awareness, reasoning and observational skills. Physical health is improved and boosts the immune system.
Nature also buffers the impact of life stress on children, suggesting that building fairy houses can be a resource for children dealing with everything from everyday stress to trauma. Spending time in nature helps to instill a sense of peace and connectivity through observation and creativity. The task of building a fairy house fosters autonomy, concentration, and self-discipline, which eve helps to improve test scores. Building fairy houses with others promotes healthier interpersonal relationships. Research has shown that children who play together in nature have more positive feelings about each other. Playing in nature may even reduce bullying, suggesting that fairy houses can act as a healthy activity for children to engage in alone or with family and friends.
How can YOU use fairy houses in your work with children?
- Consider creating fairy houses to help children cope with loss, such as the loss of a grandparent, friend, or other family member. Fairy houses can represent a special place for them to remember and connect with the memories of their loved one.
- Consider using fairy houses with kids who are transitioning to a new home. It is natural for kids to long for their old home, old school, or old friends. A fairy house can be a creative way to remember various aspects of what they loved.
- Consider creating fairy houses for children who are experiencing stress or turmoil. It is common for us to ask kids to imagine a safe or special place. Now add a layer… let’s create one!
What other ways can YOU imagine using fairy houses?
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