A year or so ago, I found some website out in the great big world wide web that talked about fairy gardens. Little container gardens with tiny trinkets that your children can play in. Well, around here, we aren't afraid of dirt, we love to create and above all imaginative play = win!
Basically, you take a big clay terra cotta pot and plant flowers in it or just use whatever you have laying around and then go to town.
We have a couple of pots in the backyard so I confiscated one for this project and set about to thinking and designing. Funny thing is there really wasn't much of plan at all. I went to a craft store and for probably under $5 got a bunch of fun little items and also used some things from around the house: a double birds nest, a sunflower/lady bug candle holder, a tiny fence, a tiny basket, a circular mirror, a blank spool and a bag of a dozen teeny tiny eggs.
I plopped the items in the pot and rearranged them oh so carefully and then the children rearranged, too. They don't always play with the little fairy garden but they do notice changes to it as the seasons pass. The little flower candle holder gets filled with rain water, there are spiders that crawl around it and perhaps an inside toy wanders astray and finds itself amongst the tiny goodness.
Why yes that is a pumpkin in the background there! It's helping the children learn about decomposition!
Quite a few months ago, Ashleigh got a National Geographic coloring book from the dollar store. Inside of it was an envelope that had two flat paper discs with seeds embedded in them. She planted them in the fairy garden pot and they grew wildflowers! So, so cool! The flowers have even made it over the winter and now into the spring.