Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Fairy Wings and Wild Things

What fun is it to have a fairy festival?!? We enjoyed our day this last May, though we were working with a pretty enchanting space to begin with. Any woods or natural spot will work! Photo by Amanda Gobble--she has a great eye and good technique!

A family that owns Pop-Up Handicrafts and Dynamic Audio Design in The Old Bag Factory in Goshen adopted a secluded spot on Wild Things Way to invite the fairies, gnomes, and little people that may enjoy the space. I loved their ingenuity, knowing it took tremendous effort to pull it all together. They made swings, ladders, signs, doors, a pond, little houses and more! 

The repurposing was great, using many recycled items from The Depot and other spots. This spot was available to the public for many months, with slight adjustments and changes each time visited. We chose a spot on a less used trail, keeping it a little quiet to protect it a bit.

They also used existing elements to blend it into the surroundings. We cleared the area, pulling out or moving plants, lining the area with logs to define the space. It took a fair amount of work on their end to pull it together. We decided to bring some delicate items in the nature center on a check out system to help protect them a bit more.

I LOVED all the details of this labor of love! 

We had a couple of work days prior to the festival, with great helpers pulling it together. We planned a few basic activities, including dress up opportunities. We had fabric from a nature preschool momma and some felt from my momma. We made these into simple tunics with a neck hole and rope or a sash for a belt. As families arrived, they could make fairy wands or wild thing sticks, with ribbons, yarn, and more readily available. 

Inside the center we had several activities such as face painting, making flying fairies, and create your own fairy or wild thing. For the wind tunnel, we had straws, pipe cleaners, tissue paper, feathers, coffee filters, and glue. They could created and experiment to their heart's content. 

We had baskets of pinecones, clothespins, feathers, raffia, popsicle sticks, goggly eyes, acorn caps, fabric, and other materials, appreciating the donations from Joyce and others. Each fairy or wild thing ended up unique and different, just as the creators are!


Outside, we had a fort building spot with tulle, outdoor fabric from Nature Explore, clothespins, clamps, rope, and lots of sticks. This is always a favorite spot with fort making and creating a private space. 

We also had a fairy soup station--I was a bit surprised how much into it the boys were; however, it did involve mud! I admit that I actually had a taste of the soup as they were so proud of the concoction. It was a bit gritty! :-) 

Nearby, we found a tree frog! :-) 

We had a nature art section with inspiration from Chelsey Bahe from Nature Play Nanny. I contacted a few local florists and was so appreciative of Camille's Florists in Bristol for donating some odds and ends over Mother's Day weekend. It was perfect!


I loved see in what all they created! 


The digging area is always a hit, too!

We took a parade walk in our fairy and wild thing costumes (prizes for costumes, too!) out to Wild Things Way, complete with music instruments. We also had a scavenger hunt finding the bejeweled flowers Amanda donated along the trail. 

We checked out the fairy house and gnome hut entries, finding dragon dens, too! 

Everyone was so creative--we really enjoyed these! 

What cool details!

We even saw fairy spots in our block building area and in chalk! Loved it! What a fun day! I appreciate all the help of Amanda, Amanda, Joyce, Linda, Teresa, Vicci, Julissa, Sasha, Clover, and others who made this day possible! Long live fairies and wild things!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Books on Boxes for Loose Parts Play!

Like this? Follow my page, Loose Parts Play, on Facebook! Find our international GROUPLoose Parts Play, there as well. Also check out my blog section just on Loose Parts Play.

We love using books as a starting part for creative loose parts play! Boxes are one of our favorite man-made loose parts as they can be so many things! I think many of us have told stories of the "perfect" toy we got our child and the child just plays with the box. Boxes and cardboard can be so engaging!

I like using cardboard for many reasons--it is so versatile! A box can be almost anything! Additionally, boxes are made with cardboard. We get boxes in the mail all the time. I like that these can be repurposed for other creations and then recycled when we are done with them. The price point is low (free!) and it is readily accessible. It can easily be customized with markers, fabric, paint, etc., if needed.

I have always been impressed with the following video about a young boy who built his own cardboard arcade. What inspiration.

I also recently found this video of men fighting in cardboard armor! Wow! This is pretty impressive to see the lengths they went through for it.

Here are a few books about boxes as loose parts that stand out:

Not a Box

What to Do with a Box

A Box Can Be Many Things

A Box Story

Christina Katerina and the Box

A Big Box for Ben

I find having a few resource books to show techniques and inspiration can be great to help us work through design problems and gives us more ideas. My son who is most into creating stuff always wants to make his own designs, but finds inspiration in books like this at times.

How To Books and Ideas:

The Cardboard Box Book

Box! Castles, Kitchens and other Cardboard Creations for Kids

Look What You Can Make with Tubes

The Art of Cardboard

Cardboard Creatures

The Big Book of Building

The Cardboard Box Book

For the older crowd:


I have found that having a few tools handy can help with using cardboard with children. Obviously the cutting tools and glue guns will need more training and supervision if children are using these. An alternative is to allow children to draw what they would like cut and then cut it for them.
Resources to help with Using Boxes and Cardboard:

Low Temp Glue Gun

Cardboard Scissors

Box Cutter

Duct Tape

Packing Tape




Watch for more cardboard ideas and how we have been implementing cardboard as a loose part in upcoming posts and on Facebook. Feel free to share how you use cardboard as well!

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