Summer Project for Kids! How to Make a Fairy Garden
by Lynn KirkMay 25, 2021
[Photo credit] Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
(Transform this succulent planter into a DIY fairy garden. Tuck in miniature props: twig-crafted huts, stick bridges, and pebble pathways.)
Looking for a summer project for kids? Want to share your love for gardening?
If you answered “yes,” then a wee, whimsical fairy garden might be just the thing. Making a miniature succulent garden is a fanciful project that involves making a "home" for your children’s imaginary friends — like fairies, unicorns, ogres, and aliens galore.
Why make a fairy garden?
- FUN. This DIY activity is one that most everyone will enjoy!
- EDUCATIONAL. As you work together, you can chat with your youngsters about succulent plants: the different characteristics, forms, and colors. Explain how “fleshy” leaves store water and talk about plants’ varied needs for sun or shade. You can also provide a kid-sized journal so they can mark their progress through words, drawings, and photos. A super keepsake for sure!
- ECO-STEWARDS. Throughout the summer, you'll also teach your kiddos how to water, fertilize, and nurture the succulents. Talk about their stewardship responsibilities in the natural world and encourage them to think about ways that they can help conserve trees, water, and wildlife habitats.
- CREATIVE. Get ready for an awesome window into your children’s imagination as they express their thoughts, artistry, and originality.
- INEXPENSIVE. You can buy retail props, like fancy lil' fairies and pretty pixie furniture, but that’s totally up to you. Hand-crafted props (see below), repurposed containers, and transplanted (or shared) succulents work just fine.
- SHARE THE LOVE. Not everyone has a fairy garden, so be the first in your neighborhood. Or host a fairy-garden workshop. Tip: Cool idea for birthday parties!
- NATURAL DIVERSIONS. As our "digital natives" grow up, gardening offers a break from screen-time. BTW, it might be a good break for the parentals, too!
- FAMILY TIME. Sharing projects and time together unites a family and strengthens parent-child bonds. Tip: Teens and grandparents can join in and make some forever memories, too!
Location for Your Succulent Fairy Garden
- INDOOR SUCCULENTS: Find a place where the sunlight is plentiful but not scorching. Perhaps a windowsill with morning sun?
- OUTDOOR SUCCULENTS. Tiny potted landscapes can be tucked here and there outdoors. Place your finished container along the woodland’s edge, in nooks and crannies around the landscape, or on your back patio. Again, make sure there’s sufficient sun so your plants don’t grow leggy, yet not too much so they don’t scorch.
Wherever your fairy garden lands, it promises to provide joy each and every visit.
What You Need to Make a Fairy Garden
- ASSORTED SUCCULENTS. Swap plants with a neighbor, transplant your own succulents, or visit a grower. You also can do an online search to show your youngsters the options and let them order online. Tip: Engage their interest early by letting them decide.
- SUCCULENT MIX. Don’t scrimp or substitute here, for “the right soil for the right plant” will impact your odds for success.
- CONTAINER. Look for a shallow dish, pot, or planter. Tip: Repurpose an old colander, drawer, toy dump truck, small wagon, or yard-sale find.
- FABRIC LINER AND SCISSORS. Optional, but good to have on hand.
- "BUILDING" MATERIALS. Collect dried sticks, twigs, dried bark, fallen leaves, seedpods, and small rocks. They’ll be your building materials for the tiny huts, bridges, garden walls, walkways, and the like. Tip: Take your youngsters on a woodland walk a few weeks before starting your project and let them find their own supply of nature's treasures.
- ACCESSORIES. Have a glue gun or wrapping string available for fashioning the miniature houses, tiny garden accessories, bitty signs, and other props. Or jazz it up by painting rocks, sprinkling glitter, and purchasing a few fanciful props.
Steps for Making a Fairy Garden
Take your time and allow the project to proceed at its—and your youngsters’—own pace. It may take an afternoon or a few weekends, but it’s quality time with meaningful results!
- THEME IT. Brainstorm for an overall theme. Will it be 100% natural or flashy? Do your youngsters prefer rainbows, ladybugs, and all pinks … or aliens, toads, and neons?
- PREPARE THE CONTAINER. Check whether holes need to be drilled for water drainage. Add fabric liner or small rocks to cover the base (optional), then partially fill the container with succulent mix.
- DESIGN. Let the kids sketch out various ideas for placement of the props and plants.
- PLANT. First, plant the succulents, then add the props. Tips: Plant the larger plants first.
- WATER LIGHTLY. Mist the plants’ roots.
- VISIT OFTEN. Water until established, but never soak. Then treasure the magic as pixies and gnomes discover their homes!