fairies displayed on a table

Introduction:

I used to work with special education students. Every week we would spend a day doing various art projects. One of my favourites was making fairies. I was always looking for a way to get the students into the outside and experiencing life beyond four walls. This art project that brings the beauty of the outdoors into the classroom, blending imagination with the tactile joy of natural elements. Designed with special needs students in mind, this project is about more than just crafting; it’s about exploration, sensory experiences, and the joy of making something unique. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps of creating your own nature-inspired fairies, using simple materials and the great outdoors as your canvas.

Materials Needed:

  • Fairy printouts (available for download)
  • Scissors (safety scissors for younger students)
  • Glue or double-sided tape
  • Assorted leaves (collected from a nature walk)
  • Coloring materials (crayons, markers, colored pencils, glitter, extra leaves etc)
  • A space for drying leaves (newspapers or a drying rack)
  • Optional: additional decorative items (glitter, sequins, etc.)

Step 1: Preparing the Fairy Printouts

  1. Download and print out the fairy templates at this link, there’s some fab ideas . Ensure you have enough for each student.
  2. Cut around the fairies, leaving space where the wings should be. This task can be an opportunity for students to practice their cutting skills, but assistance might be required for some.

Step 2: A Nature Walk to Collect Leaves

  1. Organize a morning walk in a nearby woods or park with your class. The goal is to collect leaves that will become the wings of the fairies. Encourage students to look for leaves of different sizes, shapes, and colors.
  2. Discuss the texture, color, and shape of the leaves as they are collected, making this a sensory and learning experience.

Step 3: Drying the Leaves

  1. Once back in the classroom, arrange the leaves on newspapers or a drying rack.
  2. Let the leaves dry completely. This may take a day or two, depending on the type of leaves and the humidity.

Step 4: Coloring the Fairies

  1. While the leaves are drying, give the students the fairy printouts to color. Encourage them to be imaginative with their color choices. You can see in the photo above we used glitter and some other decorative leaves left over from a different project.
  2. This is a great time for students to express their creativity and engage in fine motor skills development.

Step 5: Attaching the Wings

  1. When the leaves are dry, it’s time to attach them to the fairies. Help the students choose leaves that best fit their fairy.
  2. Use glue or double-sided tape to attach the leaves to the back of the fairy printouts, positioning them where the wings should be.

Step 6: Final Touches

  1. If desired, students can add additional decorations to their fairies, like glitter or sequins.
  2. Encourage students to name their fairies and maybe even create a short backstory for them.

Conclusion:

This art project is not just about creating a piece of art; it’s a multi-sensory experience that combines creativity, nature, and storytelling. It’s particularly beneficial for special needs students, offering a range of sensory inputs and fine motor skills practice. The end result is a magical fairy, unique to each student’s imagination and creativity, bridging the natural world with a sprinkle of fairy charm.

Remember to take photos of the process and the finished fairies, and perhaps create a fairy forest display in your classroom. This project is more than an art lesson; it’s a journey into an enchanted world of learning and creativity.

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