Add a little magic to your child's playtime with these miniature gardens that will make an inviting home for footloose fairies.
Adventurous sprites will feel right at home in this land before time, made with faux fossils and toy dinosaurs.
Make It Fill a shallow glass bowl (Blomster Bowl, $10; ikea.com) with aquarium gravel, and add a few air plants (Bulbosa Guatemalan and Ionantha Guatemala, $3 to $5 each; air-plants.com). Then paint plastic dinos in neon hues and place them among modeling-compound fossils.
This magical escape, complete with a looking-glass reflecting pool, is the perfect hideout for a fairy in need of some R & R.
Make It Layer the base of your pedestal bowl (9¾-inch Clear Glass Pedestal Bowl, $22; jamaligarden.com) with gravel first, then soil, and top with preserved sheet moss ($4; joann.com). Place a 3-inch round mirror ($3 for five; joann.com) on top of the soil to form the reflecting pool. Add leafy foliage (we used dwarf baby tears, $4; aquariumplants.com) and small flowering plants (we used white kalanchoe). Set out cork toadstools and a bench made from bark, then bring on the snails!
Build a magical world below the waves where merfairies can ride sea turtles and sleep in a sand castle.
Make It Fill a fishbowl a third full with colored sand (turquoise Activa Scenic Sand, $2; createforless.com) and arrange aquarium plants inside (medium neon blue Penn Plax Club Moss Plant and neon orange Blue Ribbon Palm Plant, $5 to $13; petlanddiscounts.com).
Add these crafty touches to make your fairy garden even more inviting.
Faux Fossils Shape air-dry modeling compound (Crayola Model Magic, $4; crayola.com) into boulders and use toy animals and shells to make fossil-like impressions.
Swirly Snails Roll small tubes out of air-dry modeling compound. Press a ½- or 1-inch marble into the center, and bend one end of the clay up to form the head. Use map pins for antennae. (Take care with all small supplies, as they could pose a choking hazard to children under 4.)
Toadstool Seating Use a white paint pen to add dots to painted corks.
Bark Bench Hot-glue pieces of bark and twigs to form a mini bench.
Stately Sand Castle Roll a 4- by 6-inch piece of sandpaper into a tube; secure with tape. Cut a 5-inch sandpaper circle, make a slit along radius, roll into cone, and tape. Glue to top of tube; decorate with shells.
Pasta Pet Crab Paint pasta shells. Cut coordinating chenille stems into quarters. Twist three of the pieces together in the middle. Center and glue to shell's underside, then bend to form legs. Cut remaining piece in half, bend into claws, and attach with glue. Glue on googly eyes.