Over the past decade, fairy gardens have become increasingly popular for both kids and grownups. As many parents with little ones know, an elaborate fairy garden placed outside can be a kid-magnet, but often the figurines and buildings that comprise said garden are fragile decorations that are not meant to be played with. Here at our house, that’s meant quite a few fairies have made their way to the “daddy, please super glue these” shelf after having mishaps that usually result in broken wings.
The beauty of the collection is that kids can learn real-world gardening fundamentals while using creativity to craft their own miniature landscapes — doing it all in a manner that fosters open-ended imaginative play.
This fall, My Fairy Garden expands with the release of the new Nature Cottage. This set features a flowerpot — home to the included fairy, Isla — as its centerpiece.
Similar to the other sets, the Nature Cottage includes a package of Magical Seed Mix, along with a growing medium for kids to plant in. In the past, that meant a dehydrated puck, much like that included with some seed starting sets. With the Nature Cottage, kids get a much-improved bag filled with loose vermiculite that features a little bit of shimmer to give it a “fairy dust” appearance.
Having grown several My Fairy Garden sets over the years (they’re great for repeat play across changing seasons), we’ve always had great luck with the seed mixture sprouting in about a week or so. Since it is fall, we decided to skip ahead with some pre-grown garden mums and perennials to give our Nature Cottage an Autumnal kick start.
When kids water the top level of the garden, excess water trickles down into a fairy-sized rain barrel that can be used to water other parts in the garden. There’s also a small stream on the lower level; a ladybug shelter; lily pads; a wind spinner; and some included pretend friends, such as a butterfly, ladybugs, and a frog.
I recommend — from experience, trust me here — that you swap the seed starting mixture with Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix to give your plants a boost. While the included mix is perfectly fine, I find that a soil designed for containers just gives the presentation a little something extra.
In addition to being a fun set that can also be beautiful, the My Fairy Garden Nature Cottage is also a fine starting point for a larger village, which kids can connect using the included bridge. Beyond playtime, kids can also learn the responsibility of tending to a garden by caring for the plants around the cottage.
My Fairy Garden offers a perfect balance between fun and learning.