It was a normal Friday morning. I was on recess duty on the primary playground. I noticed a tiny wooden door on one of the trees. I crouched down to take a look and was immediately joined by a small group of 7 year olds.
“It’s a fairy door,” one of them whispered.
“We can watch, but we mustn’t try to open it or they won’t come out anymore,” another added. “Lots of fairies live inside the door. It leads to fairy land.”
I was immediately gripped by their excitement and enthusiasm for the magic door. On the ground were carefully spread colourful petals and leaves, and children were excitedly gathering more things to add.
“The door is always closed. The fairies only come out when the children are back inside the school.”
“I have seen one of the fairies flying around the flowers.” One of the children added. The whole group stopped and listened as the child continued, “I was putting some petals down on the ground and I saw a blue fairy hiding behind the tree.”
It was a magical moment as the whole group held on to every word shared by the child. It was a beautiful exchange between imaginative 7 year olds.
I was hooked with the story and watched as the young children carefully tidied the area around the door and added some new sticks and pebbles in patterns as they exchanged their own stories. It was enchanting.
What are Fairy Doors? They are a small door that can be attached to a wall or a tree. Some doors can be opened, but most are fixed shut and only the fairies can open them leading to a magical space.
In our primary school playground we have two or three ‘Fairy Doors’ attached to large trees tucked away in quiet parts of the garden. It’s lovely watching how some of the children react to the doors using the magic of their imaginations. I’ve seen children gathered around the doors waiting to see if anyone or anything comes out. Some leave nature ‘gifts for the fairies who live behind the door.’ Some sit quietly, watching and waiting.
These very simple miniature doors have brought to life a magical space for children to create their own stories. The wonderment created feels like a gentle innocence not related to the technology most of the children have access to. They play in small groups of boys and girls making up stories. They take pride in carefully looking after the spaces around the doors.
I shared the story of the ‘Fairy Doors’ with my brother in England, and he has taken it a step further for his two year old granddaughter. He has bought doors to place on various trees around his garden. He has also bought some fairy sized props to place close to the doors, a tiny picnic table and chairs, and a washing line with miniature clothes. I’m looking forward to hearing his stories of the adventures they get up to in the garden.
I love the idea of children having access to things that can peak their imagination to create their own stories. They’re just simple small wooden doors attached to a tree, but they open up a whole magical world.