Terrariums are a fantastic indoor project for kids of all ages, especially during the winter months. What is not to love? Terrariums use recycled materials, can become quirky playscapes, and make great gifts. You do not even need a green thumb to create fabulous indoor gardens with your kids.
This is an inexpensive project, but it still requires some specific supplies. If you know you will be making terrariums in the future, you can look for interesting jars at thrift stores and save small amounts of potting soil and pebbles until you are ready.
- Container: Look around your house and garage for old bottles, fish bowl, or unused jars. If you do not have anything handy, look in your fridge for an almost empty vessel before purchasing anything. That glass pickle jar will do just fine.
- Pebbles: If you cannot find a handful of pebbles, or get to them under the snow, then you can buy a small bag from a hardware store or nursery.
- Charcoal: While you are at the store, grab a container of charcoal to layer over the pebbles to keep smells away.
- Potting soil: You want organic potting soil mix, not simply dirt. You want a quality mix that will sustain the life of your plants.
- Plants: Succulents work well and they are hardy enough for a child to work with. If you have a succulent plant in your home, simply use a cutting.
Build the terrarium
One terrarium, two terrariums, the mess is the same. So if you are going to pull out all the materials anyways, you might as well make a couple at a time. The decorations can be customized and used as great gifts. Consider teacher gifts, grandparents, neighbors or friends. Changing the figurines inside the terrarium will make all the difference.
- Layers: Pour a layer of pebbles in first. Cover with a light sprinkle of charcoal, and then add the potting soil. Like sand art, your child can gently pour one layer at a time.
- Plant: Use chopsticks, or a spoon to help you dig a hole for your plant or cutting. Set the plant in the hole and then push the dirt back around with the help of the tools. If the opening is large enough, or your child’s arm is small enough, they can plant without the help of any tool.
- Decorate: This can be as simple as placing a few rocks around the plant, or can include plastic animals and other miniature figurines. You and your child can even make your own figures from Sculpty clay if you want to create a custom look.
Maintain the terrarium
The nice thing about this adventure in gardening is that it requires minimal maintenance.
- Water: Designate a day to add a small amount of water to your terrarium. Once a week is plenty.
- Don’t overwater: It is important to avoid overwatering. Add just enough water to keep the soil moist. If you add too much water, too often, the terrarium will start to smell.
- Sunlight: Place your masterpiece in a spot that receives a moderate amount of sunlight.
Enjoy your low-maintenance garden and possibly help direct your child into a new hobby. Whether that hobby is in the gardening realm, or in creating miniature worlds, it can be a relaxing pastime.
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