Enjoy these DIY Fairy Garden Ideas for kids that incorporate science, math & engineering learning!
Today we are combining a few of our favorite things -- gardening, fairies and STEM in this month's feature of manipulative play and small worlds for kids!
We've been talking about planting a Fairy Garden for a year now and finally got around to it this month when we celebrated my daughter's birthday.
She loves the idea of small worlds and we both enjoy gardening so I decided to overlap those activities with a few science, math and even a cool engineering project.
Come peek inside our Small World Fairy Garden and see how this fun activity will inspire kids to learn too -- plus we have some great resources so you can put together your own fairy garden this Spring!
DIY Fairy Garden Ideas & STEM Activities for Kids
The obvious first step to any Fairy Garden is a pot and some plants.
We visited a local garden store to choose some colorful plants (since this was part of my daughter's birthday gift, we let her pick the plants :)
In addition to the science, engineering and math that we'll discuss -- fairy gardens are also a wonderful sensory play opportunity for kids! And a great way to connect them with nature. We've included affiliate links for items that will help you to create your own fairy garden small world at home too!
Science in the Fairy Garden
If you're planting an indoor Fairy Garden, you may want to look into succulents.
For an outdoor garden, anything colorful that grows well in your yard will do nicely. You can double-up and include flowers & plants that attact butterflies.
Any discussion of plants and how they grow is an introduction to the science of botany. In addition to learning about the parts of the plant, you can also show your kids the the back of seed packets or the plant growing details so they understand that some plants need more sun than others or that certain plants don't require as much water.
One of the skills we're focusing on with this project is fine motor development and gardening is a wonderful way to work those finger & hand muscles. Be sure your kids get involved in using a garden trowel when you plant your garden.
If this is your first garden experience, you'll love these 30 Fun Garden Activities for Kids which highlight some great crafts & activities you can do with plants & a garden.
Engineering in the Fairy Garden
While we were at the store, we found this adorable wishing well for the Fairy Garden so like any normal family, we decided to make it into a fully functioning well so the fairies could water their own plants.
The well has an opening on the bottom so all we needed to do was to find a container that would hold water and 'plant' it under the well -- and we found just the thing in our recycle bin, an empty plastic bottle!
We dug a deep hole, buried the container up to it's neck and filled it with water. Then we secured the well on the top of the opening by grading the soil against the well.
I think this will work fine since it's a temporary garden and one that isn't growing edible food but I know there's always some concern about leaching plastics into the soil so I'm not sure I would do this if you're planting in the ground or near a food source.
Next up -- building a path with dragon tears (aka colored glass).
Also a fun engineering idea -- where will the path lead to? How long should it be?
This is one of those areas where the kids can come back and change it as they like -- let them change the shape of the path or where it leads to as they play in the garden.
More Engineering Ideas:
Laying out the garden itself is a type of engineer activity - you need to survey your space, be sure things aren't too crowded -- it's similar to planning a city's layout.
Build a trellis from sticks for plants that grow tall
Both the teeny garden tools and using chalk to write on the fairy garden sign are other ways kids can hone those fine motor skills. We've used the tools to help weed the garden :)
And of course, we need fairies!
Ours are part of the Safari Ltd Fairy Fantasies TOOB which includes six different fairies.
We love their TOOB figurines -- you can see how we use them in some of our other projects too:
Math in the Fairy Garden
Since my daughter isn't a big math fan, I always like to introduce fun math ideas when I can ;)
So we grabbed a ruler to see how tall our fairies stood and then measured the door to see if they could all fit inside the Fairy House.
Other fun math ideas include:
• Counting the number of dragon tears in your pathway (younger kids can count individually, older kids can count by 2's)
• Measuring the size of your fairy garden (measure the circumference of your pot or the square inches of your garden if you plant in the ground)
• Print off this free How Fast does my Plant Grow? worksheet and have the kids track the growth of the plants in their garden.
And of course, if you'd like to read about fairies in the garden -- or inspire the kids to read TO the fairies who visit the garden, here's a few of the books that got us started in thinking about what we wanted to include in our garden:
We love the way it turned out and as long as we can keep the bunnies from eating all our flowers, it will be a beautiful garden for any fairies who want to visit!
ps. Want to surprise your kids with a fairy visit? I've heard that fairies leave a trail of colorful Fairy Dust when they come to play in your garden ;)
More Garden Activities for Kids:
MORE LEARNING WITH SMALL TOYS
Visit all these other fun ways that kids can learn with teeny toys!
Car Parking Lot Preschool Math Grid Game from Life Over C’s
Alphabet Car Wash from Learning 2 Walk
Sorting and Counting with Die-Cast Trains from Crafty Mama in ME
Directionality Activity with Small Cars from Teach Me Mommy
Forest Animals Letter Sounds Activity from Stir the Wonder
Learning Shapes with Toy Cars from Adventures of Adam
What Makes Ice Melt Fastest from Raising Little Superheroes
Fun DIY Phonics Game from Mum in the Madhouse
What Do Animals Eat? Classification Activity from Schooling a Monkey
Color Mixing with Toy Cars from The Kindergarten Connection
AM and PM Time Telling with Shopkins from Sugar Aunts
Sorting Animals Venn Diagram Activity from Mom Inspired Life
Hands-on Way to Learn Letter Sounds from School Time Snippets
Fairies & STEM Activities: Gardening with Kids from Edventures with Kids
Name & Letter Practice: A Painting With Toy Car Activity from Play Dough & Popsicles
Learning Letters & Reading With Cars! from Preschool Powol Packets
Shopkins Sorting from Still Playing School