Get Your Wings at South Mountain Fairy Trail
Sparking our imagination, the idea of fairies have made young children look a little deeper at nature. These winged creatures have inspired stories, movies, and dreams. From Shakespeare’s Puck to the iconic Tinkerbell, fairies have been in popular culture for centuries and now they hold a special place in Millburn, New Jersey.
On the South Mountain Reservation, a trail was established several years ago filled with dwellings to invite fairies to take residence. A Special Education teacher and mom began to create homes along the trail using the natural material found in the forest and as time the South Mountain Fairy Trail stopped being a hobby and became a unique experience in New Jersey.
Visitors began to donate their own creations to the trail which is now filled with beds, doors, dining sets, and swings. It is a visual delight for young children and helps parents motivate their children to get outdoors. This space is magical as it serves several benefits.
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Benefits of South Mountain Fairy Trail
Playing Look & Find
Along the trail children are playing I-Spy on two different levels. They are looking for the next creation and while some are pretty obvious as they sit on top of tree stumps or bright colored, others are very well hidden. You can easily walk past a tree, however if you look carefully inside you may find a twig chair or look above to see houses suspended from a branch.
As well, children are looking around enjoying nature. From the wildlife of squirrels, chipmunks, and birds, they are also looking at plants and flowers. My son spent a good amount of time finding a rock to bring home.
Invitation for Pretend Play
My daughter was enamored with locating every fairy home. After a while she began to collect flowers to decorate the homes and moss to place on the chairs because she wants the fairies to have someplace comfortable to sit. In her mind, the fairies exist despite the many assertions from my son they don’t.
We believe that being outside is not only healthy but also is therapeutic. My son gravitates towards being outdoors and finds a calmness that we want to encourage, however my daughter has a personality that doesn’t like the cold. Or the heat. Or the outdoors. However, she was absolutely enthralled to find all the fairy homes along the trail. For the first time my son was done with the walk after an hour, while my daughter wanted to stay.
The South Mountain Fairy Trail is a wonderful space that promotes creativity, pretend play, and being outdoors. Our next step may be building a home to contribute to this space as sadly homes due get damaged for natural reasons as well as there has been some vandalism. Out of respect for the environment it is asked that all homes donated to the trail only contain natural materials, so if this does sound like a project you would like your family to contribute please make sure there is no plastic as it will be removed.
The entrance for the South Mountain Fairy Trail is located at Locust Grove which is across from the Millburn Public Library. Parking is available onsite and look for the trail by the Rahway Trail. A public sign is expected to be erected shortly but in the meantime you can see the photos on our Facebook photo album.
South Mountain Fairy Trail is located near 197 Glen Ave., Millburn, NJ