Who said fairies and princesses need to be dressed in pink sequins, with fluffy wings, and ballerina tutus? As I wrote about time spent in front of screens last week, I thought it would be a good follow on to write about one of the creative activities Poppi and I have been up to recently.
Creativity is so versatile. It can be done at any time of the year. This activity combines three of my greatest loves; being creative, creating something from nothing, and getting outdoors. As many of you know from reading my blogs, or if you know me in person, I hugely value the power of the outdoors for our mental, and also physical wellbeing. So, this activity got Poppi and me out, away from the screen and allowed us to use our creative minds. Poppi’s reaction to her own creation was truly beautiful. As a three-and-a-half year old, I wouldn’t have really expected her to appreciate the wonder of nature. But so many times she commented on how delightful she thought her handiwork (and there wasn’t even any pink in it). So, off to the woods we went, not to find the teddy bear’s picnic, or build a den, but to become woodland fairies. Poppi is going through a “princess” phase (I’m guessing a lot of little girls go through something similar and if you have boys this activity is easily adapted if they’re not into being princesses or fairies) so this idea thoroughly suited her.
To make your woodland fairy crown you will need:
A good, long strip of ivy (or another bendy, leafy plant)
One of the things I love about our city is that there is a lot of green around and about so a few good trees covered in ivy are easy to come by. One thing that is also good about living in the UK is that ivy trees are not poisonous ivy trees, so for all you exotic readers out there, just be careful! But, even if you don’t have a lot of green patches you can easily make a cardboard base and attach your natural findings with good glue or a stapler.
Once we had found a good tree with ivy growing all the way up we pulled off a long strip to make the base of our crown. I wrapped it round Poppi’s head and then secured the size with some garden wire. From then on it was up to the woods as to what we found lying on the floor to dress the crown. And that is where the woods delivered amazingly. I couldn’t believe how much a wintry wood had to offer. I had been hoping for the odd primrose or daffodil, but no such luck. But that didn’t matter.
My grandma was a wonderful woman full of knowledge about all sorts. She was an avid nature lover and taught me all I know (I’m sure she could have taught me more as well) about trees and birds. It felt so special to pass some of this knowledge on to Poppi as we found different leaves to weave into our crown. Most of the vegetation we were able to intertwine into the crown with the odd bit of garden wire to fasten it. We found a single rosehip on one path and the rest of the walk became about ensuring we didn’t lose this special jewel. The lovely thing about this activity too is that there is no right or wrong way to go about it. Whatever is available is the right thing and whichever way it ends up looking is just perfect.
I don’t want you to think that as a mum I’ve got it sorted when it comes to spending time with my kid. That is absolutely not true. I continue to struggle with a work/life/kid balance. However, since Poppi started school in the afternoons I have made a conscious effort to dedicate my Friday (Poppi/Mummy day) mornings to her. This has made a massive difference to our relationship. We both know that we will have a certain time each week to hang out together. I think this has helped Poppi understand that at other points in the week I do need to get on with jobs and can’t create with her all the time. She still asks and loves any bonus time, but having that one morning a week set aside has been a real breakthrough. I will also add that is probably our most tired morning of the week (being a Friday) which is why I have pushed myself to get out with her. I cannot stress enough the healing properties of the great outdoors. It brings us both to life and I feel we have quality time. It’s great escapism and a chance to sneak away from mundane jobs and life admin and really get away with the fairies.
All these findings have come through a series of trial and error experiences but I will share with you what I can. I hope that, perhaps, some of these ideas might inspire or help if you, like me, find it a challenge to give that quality time to your children. So, why not carve out an hour this week to become a woodland fairy?