In my experience of being a teacher and raising children of my own, I’ve discovered that kids love painting on all types of objects. In fact my daughter prefers to paint on anything but paper!

The other day my daughter brought me a piece of decking timber my husband was cutting to repair the deck. When she asked if she could paint on it, I looked at it’s size and shape, and thought it would make the perfect outdoor fairy door.

She thought this was a super idea too and got really excited to create a door for fairies to come and visit. There’s nothing like breathing a little magic and imagination into the garden when you have little ones to fuel it.

Because I wanted the doors to last outside I used Resene Lumbersider in a range of test pot colours, but if you intend to leave them inside, then kids acrylic paint will work just fine.

My daughter loves mixing up her paints and getting very messy, so I always make sure before we start to have a big bucket of water ready. I also have lot’s of handy towels for wiping up spills and rags for wiping hands and brushes.

If it’s a fine day a session painting outside is always fun and much less stressful if you hate the thought of paint through the house!

My daughter got very creative while exploring all the different ways she could apply the paint and ended up using the paper towels to press paint onto the doors. This created some really cool patterns and also helped take off the excess paint she’d used.

My main tip here is don’t worry about the door looking pretty at the end, just let your child’s inquisitive nature take over. They really do just love exploring how the paint can be manipulated.

Once the doors are made and placed in the garden you can use them to build on your child’s language skills by creating family stories around them. Kids love to write letters, so try leaving little notes to the fairies. Children can also build little fairy and pixie villages around the fairy door. Supply your children with the tools and materials, and you’ll be amazed at what they can create.

Easy to make outdoor fairy door

Materials you will need

One metre of grooved decking timber (try asking at a timber yard for free offcuts)
Resene test pots in various colours
A saw
Drawing pins
An assortment of shells, twigs, and seeds (optional for decorating)

What to do

Cut a piece of decking timber 200mm long.

Then have your child paint it any colour they like. My daughter used every colour available!

fairydoor_painting fairydoor3 fairydoor2 fairydoor4

Add glitter while the paint is still wet. Then leave to dry.

We discovered that a drawing pin makes the perfect handle. But feel free to use any found objects, like shells and stones and glue them on with a hot glue gun.

Depending on the age of your children, they may want to glue a number of different found objects on to decorate it. Just let them explore and see what they come up with.

The last step is to find the perfect spot in your garden to place the fairy door. Gluing it to the bottom of a large tree works well. You might even want to embellish it with a small stone path leading up to it.

Our kids are learning and developing

Communication –  When creating art you’re providing your child with the opportunity to learn words for colours, shapes and actions. The fairy door also lends itself to creating stories. Story-telling is a great way to build your child’s communication skills in a fun and supportive environment.

Physical skills – This activity is great to help children develop their fine motor skills. They’re doing this when they use a paint brush and stick objects in place. Fine motor skills are important to practise because they help small children perform everyday skills like cutting, threading beads, self care tasks like zipping and buttoning, and doing puzzles and writing.

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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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