May was a magical month for a variety of reasons–summer reading preparation was underway, springtime arrived slowly but surely, and best of all, Jessica Appleman and I hosted our ongoing seasonal Fairy House program in the library garden. On Wednesday May 18th as part of our regular school age programming, the library green space was temporarily transformed into a mystical magical place for creative construction.
We love fairy houses for so many reasons. Collecting natural items from local parks and using these materials to create small sanctuaries for our fairy friends is a beautiful thing. Equally beautiful is the opportunity for our kids to unplug from technology and the indoors for just a little while, and reconnect with the natural world in the library’s garden space.
The fairy house program gently teaches kids about seasons and how the natural world is in a constant state of change. In May, materials included chive flowers from the library garden, green pinecones, tiny flower buds, sleepy sticks discovered under weary wintertime leaf piles, and many other springtime finds. In October, we find colorful leaves, rich pinecones, acorns, chestnuts and ripe berries.
While the colors vary season to season, the calming effects of just being in a green space, quietly creating tiny homes for magical friends, is always refreshing and inspirational for everyone present. It’s amazing to watch children and their parents and caregivers connect while building together. Sometimes, kids and adults alike can experience anxiety when given the opportunity to be completely free in thought and practice–after all, we are all very scheduled and busy all the time, very often with specific parameters, expectations and objectives. This all falls away during Fairy Houses, though. Kids and families build together quite harmoniously, and this alone creates a kind of magic that cannot be easily replicated or explained.
During these kind of creative intergenerational outdoor programs, we are able to utilize the amazing green space we are lucky enough to have at CLP – Squirrel Hill. In this way, the library backyard really becomes an integral part of the library space as a place for creative expression and sharing as a whole community of learners. In this same vein, we are also able to make lasting connections with our Children’s nonfiction collection, showcasing the many lovely fairy and gnome house books we currently have available for check out. Children and adults alike are able to pull ideas and inspiration from these texts and construct tangible tiny homes for the fairies of Squirrel Hill. Check out Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s catalog for current fairy and gnome house book offerings. There are so many amazing resources to explore when planning the design of your next fairy house!
A seasonal celebration, creating fairy houses is always a magical experience with new and different materials each time. We hope you can join us for our upcoming program Kids Create: Fairy Houses at CLP – Squirrel Hill on Wednesday, July 20th at 4:15 pm. We supply the building materials, you unleash your creative spirit! See you in the library garden, friend.
Rachel is a Children’s and Teen Librarian at CLP – Squirrel Hill. She loves listening to stories, yoga, tiny pumpkins and mermaids.
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