This project creates a small world for play for children using common household items.  Small worlds allow children to use their imaginations, interact with each other, develop characters and narratives for those characters.



  • Clean paper egg carton
  • Spools *
  • Scissors
  • Paper towel (You can use newsprint, regular paper etc.)
  • Flour
  • Warm water
  • Plastic containers (for the paste and the paint)
  • Acrylic
  • Paint brush
  • Stylus, mini dowel or toothpick/BBQ skewer with the end trimmed off
  • Glue gun

* As you can see, with many of the mushrooms we also used wooden items for stems.

Flower Trees

  • Blocks
  • Drill (to be used by an adult)
  • Acyclic paint
  • Glue gun


  • Wooden plaque, coaster or round
  • Paint

We always find these items useful too:




  • Cut your paper towel into strips and your cartons into individual cups.
  • Make your paste.  We used about 1 cup of warm water to 1/2 cup and a tablespoon of flour.  You want your paste to be a bit thicker than pancake batter.  Whisk your ingredients together.  You could also use craft glue alternatively.  (Or a third option for a more silky and harder drying paste, you can have an adult also cook the paste, however, be cautious not to let your paste get lumpy by cooking it too long or at too high of a heat.)
  • Don your smock.  Layer your strips over your egg cup, covering the area completely.  If you find they are too dry, add a bit more paste with your fingers.  If your mushroom cap is getting too saturated, add a few more strips of paper towel.
  • Do the same with your spool- we found going length-wise with a few strips wrapped around held everything in place.
  • Repeat as many times as you like to get a desired thickness- we went a few layers.
  • Allow your pieces to dry overnight.
  • Paint your mushrooms in your chosen shades.
  • We added a few details with a stylus dipped in paint.  You could also use a toothpick, mini dowel, end of a paintbrush or a BBQ skewer with the end cut off of it.  Older children could paint on the details.
  • You could add an acrylic gloss for a shiny finish to your mushrooms should you like.

Flower Trees

  • Have an adult drill a hole in your blocks so that your artificial flower can stand freely in your block.
  • Paint your block in your desired colour and allow it to dry.
  • Insert your flower into the hole. (You may have to glue it in.  If you find that it is tipping over, trim the stem down in size.)


  • Paint a wooden round or plaque to create a pond for playing with.

Set up your small world and play!

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Recycle household materials to create these magical mushrooms for small world fairy play!


  • Re-imagining materials.
  • Creating opportunities for social interaction, dialogue, narrative development etc.

Safety Notes

  • We suggest that you use a tray and a smock to protect your clothing and surfaces.
  • Use scissors and a glue gun with care and direct, adult supervision.
  • Small items such as the rocks used can be a choking hazard, therefore be sure to keep them out of the reach of children ages 0-3 years of age or those that tend to put things into their mouths.
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