We began with a basket full of gathering bags made from twill tape and scraps of felted sweaters. The children were able to fill the bags with treasures along the way and then take them home to use and fill with all manner of leaves, pine cones, stones and whatnot on their seasonal nature walks.
The felt piece measured about 6" x 18" and was stitched onto a 3' length of twill tape leaving a few inches to be folded over for a flap. I had thought of them as gathering bags but with quite a few left at the end of our party, I fear some of the boys may have seen them more as "purses" and opted to carry their treasures in their pockets instead.
In a tree nearby, the children found their second item and a fairie offering a clue to the next.
|We hope you can find your own name in this tree|
Right after this there are more things to see
A gnome watches over a tiny collection
of critters to share - find and make your selection
The idea for these name tag pendants came from those worn by some children I spied at summer camps in the wild parks of Portland. The wood rounds were cut from a branch of a hazelnut tree that our neighbor had left on the curb for firewood and we wrote the names with a wood burner pen.
The tree fairie lead the adventurers to our garden gnome who overlooked a field of sweet critters.
|Into your pouch one sweet critter will go|
Which one you’ll chose, only you know
Next look for pixies who seldom we spy
Perhaps their small village is somewhere nearby
With so many children in attendance this year, I cheated a bit and purchased one of the prizes. We found these little glass critters at Audubon Society of Portland's Nature Store.
After tarrying a bit with our gnome and selecting a critter, the children were led to a pixie village. The pixies (as is often the case) were not to be found, but they left their little homes for the kids to have as their own.
|The pixies away by the wind have been blown|
But they’ve left you their houses to have for your own
Tuck one into your bag now, then run off and play
We ‘re so happy you joined us for this special day
These are surprisingly simple and quick to make. They're formed out of Super Sculpey and baked in the oven for half an hour. I painted them with water colors and I think this gives them a nice translucent, magical quality. The downside is that the watercolors will just wash off if they get wet. I figured that made them, in the long run, a more interactive play thing... the children could repaint them themselves!