EYFS Activities – We explored … the fairies

In one setting, the children broadened their interest in fairies by co-creating and managing a fairy museum. Annette Rawstrone Reports

Fairies are often referred to as children exploring the Magic Forest during their daily Forestry School sessions at Little Barn Owls in Southwater, West Sussex. Earlier this year, interest in these mythical creatures manifested itself in an interest in tree houses, which, according to atelierista Laura Thompson, quickly turned into a desire to create small homes for them. fairies using natural forage materials.

“Before making the houses, we discussed what a fairy is, and the kids were amazed to find that not all fairies are pretty, with glittering wings,” she says. Laura asked the question “What is a fairy?” and showed the children representations of fairies, from the typical pink and flowery fairies to the most mischievous, men and women. This got the kids discussing their own fairy ideas and drawing, painting and sculpting their own, ranging from a birthday cake fairy to a spider fairy and even a cereal breakfast fairy.


As the kids’ exploration progressed, Laura asked if the kids would like to organize their own fairy museum. They talked about what they know about museums and what they should have in theirs. Some children had experience of museums and associated them with objects, pictures and also skeletons.

“During a more in-depth discussion, the kids were interested in what a fairy’s skeleton might look like, because their museum experience told them they had to display skeletons,” says Laura. “They concluded that different types of fairies probably had different types of skeletons, made from different materials, such as sticks, wire or ‘blue’.

They studied skeletons and how they form by examining how skeletons are depicted in books, online research, a skeleton in the nursery workshop and even small ones they found.

The children used the sculpture to make their own fairy skeletons. They also created a giant, collaborative skeleton drawing with children sketching out their own representations and then voting on which part of the body, such as the fairy’s rib cage, felt most appropriate to them. “The collaborative work helped the kids focus on their drawing, knowing that what they produced would be judged by their peers,” says Laura.

Teacher trainer Rebecca Kilshaw comments: “Children can express themselves by voting and it amazes me how much two, three and four year olds can choose other children’s work because they feel it is. is the best representation of what they want to achieve as a group, rather than just choosing their own. They show how they are able to listen, negotiate, debate and respect the ideas of others. ‘


During the careful drawing of the fairy skeleton, Laura noticed a change in the precision of the children’s markings – “from rushed scribbles to recognizable bone shapes.” “For the kids who weren’t previously confident artists, this was a huge moment for them, as they discovered that when they really focused and slowed down, they were able to produce fantastic designs,” she recalls. .

In addition to gaining confidence through their drawing skills, the children focused on their sculpting techniques to create fairy statues. “I made the decision to give them polymer clay for these, as it can be reworked over and over again, allowing the kids to take time with their sculptures, come back to them and make changes. , even weeks after starting, ”says Laura. “The development of the children’s dexterity and ability to use clay has been amazing, and by using reworkable material they have allowed themselves to criticize their work, peel off and improve areas they were not. not completely satisfied. “


After working on exhibitions for a few months, the children were delighted to find letters from some fairies. The letters said the fairies wanted to move into the museum, which sparked a lot of excitement as the children anticipated their arrival.

“They started out by making tiny fairy clothes, cutting out patterns and learning to sew pieces together,” says Laura. “It was a complicated process and I was so proud of the children for their determination and patience. Along with learning to sew, the children were eager to practice their handwriting, leaving their own messages to the fairies. ‘


They also began to design a house for the fairies. “The children quickly realized that since fairies are much smaller than us, their houses must be too, but didn’t realize how much smaller they were. The kids used rulers and tape measures to measure themselves and various objects, comparing whether they were bigger or smaller than a fairy, ”says Laura.

“In the end, the kids got stuck in the woodworking tools. As a forestry school daycare, our older children know some of the tools we used and they became excellent teachers for our younger children, showing them how to hold tools properly and reminding them of safety procedures. It was nice to see the enriching way the children shared their knowledge.

After the wooden house was completed, the children furnished it with tables, chairs, shelves and teapots, using their wood skills and carving techniques.


As the centerpiece of the museum, the children created a collaborative piece of art of fairy wings carved from wire. Rebecca says they like to use this medium as “a language of expression – to bend, twist and connect”. The kids voted they should be “pirate card fairy wings”. These were wrapped in cellophane, so they were covered but the thread remained visible.

They created invitations and tickets for parents. The workshop opened on a Saturday to allow children to show their families the sculptures, drawings, photographs and documentation of the progress of their investigations.

“While the children were able to proudly display their work, parents were also able to gain a better understanding of how they acquire skills and knowledge, rather than just focusing on an end product and talking about ethics, values ​​and curriculum, ”says Rebecca.

Laura adds: “It was a truly collaborative project. With two to four year olds playing an equally important role, learning from each other and learning valuable new skills. ‘


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