Backyard Fairy Houses

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Maine is known as Vacationland, but if Natalie has her say, the nickname will soon be Fairyland. A few years ago, Natalie's sisters introduced her to the art of constructing fairy houses, tiny structures of natural, non-living materials such as fallen bark, twigs, leaves, acorns, shells, and rocks.

Now she's the main caretaker of the sprawling village of twiggy structures that they've made together at the edge of the woods. She fixes the winding roads and monitors winter fairy food storage. She makes repairs with anything from dandelions to pine needles.

Sometimes all it takes is new materials to kick her into construction mode. One of her favorite birthday gifts was Tracy Kane's FAIRY HOUSES.The book alone was captivating, but the icing on the cake was the accompanying cache of nifty building materials that my aunt must have found at the fairy version of Home Depot. It included silky milkweed pods, plump pine cones, and best of all, spiny globes from a Southern hickory. The village got quite a facelift.

When Natalie's village gets too familiar, there's nothing like a visit to other fairy hangouts for inspiration. We drive out on the causeway to Macworth Island, home of an expansive and ever-changing fairy village with an ocean view.

For ideas on building your own fairy house, take a virtual tour of some enchanted sites or check out Barry and Tracy Kane's FAIRY HOUSES...EVERYWHERE, which is chock-full of photographs of special tiny structures.

What's your family's favorite imaginative play? Click the comments link below to find and share solutions.

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Backyard Fairy Houses

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