FARMINGTON – You could hear their voices long before you could see the schoolchildren as they made their way to Abbott Park to make fairy houses.
They carried bags filled with bark, grass, seashells, twigs, acorns, pine cones, a mushroom cap and other natural materials.
The kindergartners and second-graders walked to the park to make their houses after author and illustrator Tracy Kane read them her book “Fairy Houses” several minutes earlier in their classroom Thursday at Mallett School.
The children were coming to create their own fairy houses like the fictional Kristen did in the book after she and her family left the city for a week’s vacation on a Maine island.
Each time Kristen visited her fairy houses she found a frog, a bird, a deer or others in nature’s habitat enjoying her houses. At one point, she thinks she sees fairies that turn into monarch butterflies flying toward the sky. Did she really see the fairies or was it her imagination? That’s the idea of the book: To have children develop their imaginations and creativity and go outdoors to do it.
Children dumped their bags on the ground to make piles of natural material to share with others. Already straw and branches had been set out in piles for the house builders’ use.
The children paired up with reading buddies and set to work.
Kindergartner Meghan Charles asked her mother how to cut a hole in the tree for hers and second-grader Logan Hader’s house.
Her mother said you don’t, and told her to make the house at the base of the tree.
Some straw was set down, then they worked with branches as they built their house.
“I’ve never built one before but it’s kind of fun,” Hader said as he put a branch in place.
Charles added a couple of seashells to make a little entrance.
A couple trees over, kindergartner Shania Wilbur and second-grader Taylor Withey had placed some birch bark between two trees and were busy finishing their creation.
Withey balanced a twig between two branches.
“I made a little seesaw, right here,” she said. “I have to have balance, counterweight.”
She picked up a large mushroom cap and was wondering what to do with it when Wilbur suggested she use it as a couch.
All around there was a flurry of activity as children made their houses using bark for roofs, sticks to hold those roofs up and straw to make floors soft for the fairies.
Another group had been in the area earlier to make their houses but you had to look close to find them because they blended in with the environment.