If you have young children (or even older ones) who believe in fairies, this is a fun, ongoing project you can do with them. A fairy mailbox is a special mailbox that kids can use to write the fairies and receive messages from them.
The idea originally comes from Cultivating Sacred Space by Elizabeth Murray. In the chapter on her own garden, she mentions a knotty hole in one of her trees that the neighborhood children use as a fairy mailbox to send letters and small gifts to the fairies (as well as receive them, sometimes).
When I moved into the enchanted cottage where I live now, there was an old mailbox in the backyard that my mother had put there as a birdhouse. A light bulb clicked and I knew it would make a perfect fairy mailbox for my own daughter. She loves it and checks it everyday in case the fairies have sent her something.
Here’s how to make your own:
For ages 2 and up, with adult participation.
What you’ll need:
- Old metal mailbox, or other weather-proof paintable container
- Primer for metal (or whatever material your mailbox is made out of)
- Paint, various colors
- Weather-proof varnish
- Various ribbons and lace
- Bells or wind chime
- Metallic ink pens (available from scrap booking supply stores)
- Fairy treats (see instructions)
Prime the mailbox for painting. Explain what a fairy mailbox is to your little one. Then, together, paint the mailbox however you want. You can paint flowers, fairies, animals, plants, stars, hearts—whatever motif you think the local fairies will like. And you can use whatever method you like best.
In my daughter’s case, we used sponge shapes she got in a painting kit to put flowers and birds all over the box. However, you could use stencils or decals or just freehand designs. Afterwards, cover the box with the varnish to preserve your paint job. Tie the ribbons and lace on the handle of the mailbox to create a decorative pull to help the fairies (and your little ones) open it.
Next, find a spot outside where you can mount the mailbox so the fairies can find it. An old tree trunk works well, or you can use a post. In our case, the box was already mounted on a pole outside so we painted the post as well. Hang the bells or wind chimes nearby. The fairies will like to fly by the box a lot and that way you’ll be able to hear them.
For letters from the fairies, use paper that has the edges artfully torn. You can use ordinary computer paper, just carefully tear off the edges to make the paper seem more rough. Write the letters addressed to your child (or children) with the metallic ink pens. If you can, use a fancy script print (or cursive if your child can read it).
Write about the things going on in your child’s life (latest trip to Grandma’s, school activity, favorite toys, etc). As an extra touch, use the pen to add glitter trails (make * all over) or tiny fairy footprints. Originally, I signed these letters “the fairies” but my daughter began to ask what the fairies’ names were. So now they are signed with a fairy name (such Daisy Starshine) and the rest of the fairies.
The fairies also like to leave presents, usually in the form of a small piece of candy, stickers, or some other small trinket. On special occasions such as birthdays, they like to leave something bigger.
Encourage your child(ren) to correspond with the fairies. Younger children can draw pictures and older ones can write notes (great writing practice by the way). And they can leave presents for the fairies too, such as flowers, leaves, shells, or pretty stones.