Fairy Teepees

Ready to get your children outdoors and thinking creatively?

Set them up to create their own fairy teepees --
using unusual items.


I came up with this idea when I was trying to think of a meaningful fine motor activity to do with a little boy for one of my occupational therapy sessions. I started looking through my kitchen drawers and found bamboo skewers. I took them outdoors and stuck them into the dirt. It was so easy, even a little child could do this!

I ran back inside, into my office, and grabbed a bunch of different materials: Leftover alpaca yarn, beads, fabric, jewels, ribbon, scissors, and colorful paperclips.

It was time to start creating.

I tested this activity out with my two girls first, to see what they thought. As soon as they came home from school and saw baskets full of yarn, beads, jewels, and skewers next to the tree garden, they dropped their school bags and eagerly started to experiment.

They instantly started placing the wooden skewers into the soft dirt and tested out the materials. It was clear from the beginning that they had different visions in mind for their designs.

My youngest daughter was all about the fabric and the beads and wanted to create a more traditional teepee.


My oldest didn't want to stop at creating a teepee, but started making canopy entrance ways--equipped with a jewel-lined pathway.

I then tried out this activity with my client and the new TimberNook providers, each design different than the last. I decided this idea was a keeper and wanted to share it with others.

Material Ideas:

  • Yarn
  • Beads
  • Fabric
  • Paper Clips
  • Wooden Skewers
  • Jewels
  • Buttons
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Ribbon

Set Up:

Pick a few materials from above and display them in baskets. As a prop to get the children started, simply tell them your idea about making fairy teepees and show them how the skewers work. Then step back and let them do all the brainstorming and creating.

Therapeutic Benefits:

Using a variety of unexpected materials (like paperclips), inspires the child to think creatively and in new ways.

The act of putting beads on string, manipulating paperclips, and tying knots helps with fine motor coordination skills.

Pushing skewers into the dirt gets the child into a functional grasp pattern and strengthens the little finger muscles typically used in controlling the pencil for writing tasks.

Scissors skills are exercised through cutting of the string, ribbon, and fabric. Ripping of the fabric also strengthens the fingers.

Planning and executing the designs works on higher-level problem solving and fosters the child's creativity.

Most importantly, making fairy teepees is meaningful to the child, is a form of play, and inspires their imagination in the great outdoors.

Do let us know if you make one of these teepees and share your experience with us...and photos if you get really creative!

                                         Happy Creating!

Part of a Blog Hop from our friends over at Encourage Play

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10-Jun-2014 05:11 PM Liz

The teepee and its cloth/bead coverings sound great for practicing fine motor tasks. At Highbury Orchard Community we provide Forest School sessions for families learning together and elements of a fairy village have been created by them in the city park where we are based (Birmingham UK). Children came up with a ladder, a trapeze, a sailing boat, a barbecue and an ice rink and many more - all fairy-sized and made of wood, ivy, bark etc and bits of string.

13-Jun-2014 08:48 PM Michelle

This is a fabulous idea! I am sending it to my daughter who is a counselor at a camp in Pisgah Forest. Thanks for sharing!

13-Jun-2014 10:47 PM Betty Peters

i like this and I am certain this would have appealed to me when I was in elementary school or kindergarten. I'll remember it when we have a grandchild. High-tech 21st century children need to do some fanciful things that require easily found materials and lots of imagination. I look forward to more ideas like this.

31-Aug-2014 06:53 AM CaliBelle Mommy of 5

This idea is amazing, I'm going to get my girls to do this TODAY!

14-Sep-2015 11:33 AM Janine Halloran

I love the creativity and playfulness of this activity. What an awesome way to play!


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