Fairy Gardens: Teaching Commitment to Children
Gardening is a great solo-therapy, getting away from stresses and problems to create pieces of art, collections of flowers and beds of vegetables. Gardening is also a great way to bond with kids whether they are family or friends, but it isn’t always an easy task getting them engaged.
Generally speaking, kids do not have the attention span to dedicate to gardening, especially maintaining one. However, gardening with children presents a unique opportunity to teach them about commitment and responsibility. Creating fairy gardens teaches children the importance of checking on the garden regularly and long-term commitment.
Fairy gardens were first introduced to the United States in 1893, but it was just recently that I found out about them when my stepdaughter made one. The idea behind fairy gardens is to keep your green-thumb fresh by tending to a garden year round in hopes a luck fairy will visit your home. Fairy gardens are resting places and homes for these fairies as they travel to different gardens with good luck for families, or in my stepdaughter’s case, candy.
The great part about fairy gardens is that you can make them look however you want, on a small or large budget. After the two essential items of a box for planting and soil, the rest is up to you. Create paths with pebbles, rivers with marbles. Go to your nearest craft store and pick up small items such as benches, birdbaths, fountains, animal figures. Anything you find, you can put in a fairy garden.
After you create the garden, tell your kids that when a fairy visits, they will leave you a piece of candy, but will only come back if there is something new to see. This encourages the kids to commit to checking it regularly. Along with looking for candy, show your child how to tend to the living plants in the fairy garden. The idea is to put something new in the garden; however, you can always just rearrange the items to create a “new scene.” This is up to your discretion as you manage the candy.
Fairy gardens also look great outside if you want to use bigger plants and decorative items. Getting kids engaged in gardening might seem bland if it’s all about watering plants and digging holds, so try creating a fairy garden with them.