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Fall is officially here! The leaves are changing. The weather is cooling. It’s a time of rebirth, renewal, and hope (especially this year). It is also a great time to search for fairies with your kids. Maybe you’re a believer in the Magical Folk, maybe you’re not. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that looking for fairies is a wonderful way to spark your child’s imagination and get them observing and interacting with nature. It’s also a great way to get kids outside for hours of independent, creative play.

Fairies to Look For

One of the coolest things about fairies is there are so many different kinds! Did you know that humans all around the world believe in fairies? Most fairies bring good fortune, so humans have tons of traditions for finding them, enticing them, and making them happy. Fairies from all around the world could be hanging out in your backyard. They are magic, after all! Here are some of my favorite fairies to search for:

  • Kobito

These Japanese fairies live in small holes in the ground and are crazy for all kinds of human food.

  • Kappa

Take care if you meet this water-dwelling imp. It looks like a cross between a frog and a turtle, but its head is hollow and filled with water it can pour out, flooding rivers or streams. In Tokyo, people used to write the names of family members on cucumbers, Kappa’s favorite food, and toss them into rivers for protection. Today, a cucumber-filled sushi roll is called kappamaki.

  • Djinn

These wish-granting Arabian fairies can be found in caves or wells. If you spot one, be ready for it to shapeshift into a cat, dog, or bird.

  • Leprechaun

You’ll have more luck spotting this Irish elf if you are holding a four-leaf clover. Follow one and it might lead you to its treasure!

  • Pixies

Another Irish fairy that likes to dance on your fireplace hearth while you’re sleeping. To make it more inviting, clean the hearth and decorate it with flowers. Leave a bowl of water, which the Pixies can use to wash their babies.

  • Menehune

These Hawaiian fairies live inside volcanoes, but often hide inside hollow logs. You can lure them out with their favorite foods—bananas and fish.

  • Inktomi

This North America trickster spirit can disguise itself as a spider and travels around on the backs of coyotes and wolves.

  • Aires

Found mostly in Mexico, these water sprites live at the bottom of rivers, pools, and waterfalls. If you see ripples across calm water, that’s a sign of Aires below.

  • Ekkekko

The popular Bolivian spirit of abundance even has his own holiday. During the last week of January, Bolivians decorate their Ekkekko statues with miniatures of things they are hoping to receive that year—new shoes, money, even a car!

  • Duendes

These forest guardians in Central and South American are invisible to adults, but kids can often see them. If you touch one, it can make you invisible too! They can disguise themselves as anything—a shadow, spider, even a stick. One of their favorites is to transform into a cat and sneak into your house for a nap.

  • Asamanukpai

If you find a piece of quartz with a hole through it, it could be a sign of these African fairies. They dance on the stone with their backward-pointing feet. Leave them clean water for a bath and they might grant you a wish.

  • Huldufolk 

There are even fairies in the frozen north. The people of Iceland are known for diverting roads and other building projects to avoid harming the invisible settlements of the Huldufolk and bringing bad luck. 

Learn more about fairies from across the world in Finding Fairies: Secrets for Attracting Magickal Folk by Michelle Roehm McCann and Marianne Monson.

Available November 8, 2022, in paperback.

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