Learn How to Make a Terrarium

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Okay kids, how would you like to learn how to make a terrarium? I mean, Summer getting closer and I just know that you want to go outside, do outdoorsy things and learn all about nature! Seriously, how cool is nature? One really great way to learn about nature is by having and observing a terrarium.

Parents if you are reading this, a terrarium is a great way to get kids interested in planting and/or wildlife. Of course, this is for smaller wildlife such as small lizards and insects, but it’s a great way to peak your children’s interest! Your child can use their terrarium for planting flowers or other plants, or they can create the perfect environment for whatever small creature that they want to observe. I am a mom, with summer coming up, I am always looking for activities that will keep them busy and doesn’t involve screen time. This might just be the new favorite spring and summer activity!

One fun thing about having a terrarium is that you can easily make it yourself with just a few simple steps:

  1. Start with a terrarium base. Yes, you can build this yourself, but you can also order this Paint Your Own Terrarium Kit from Sassafras and get a great start on it. I prefer this because I like the focus to be on nature, not the construction of the terrarium.
    1. Paint Your Own Terrarium Kit: this terrarium or greenhouse is a great way for kids to learn about planting and caring for plants. the wooden back panel is removable so you can create a colorful background for your garden as well as the other wood surfaces. complete instructions and gardening tips included. terrarium includes: paintbrush, 8 paints and instructions.
  2. Shop for the necessary supplies. This may differ for a plant terrarium than for an animal terrarium, so here we are going to just talk about a plant terrarium:
    1. Gravel, sea glass or beach stones
    2. Loose Activated charcoal (not capsules)
    3. Potting mix
    4. Moss
    5. Decorative pieces
  3. Choose your plants. When choosing the plants for your terrarium, be sure to choose first based on size. You need to be able to fit the plants inside of the terrarium without it touching the sides so that it has plenty of room to flourish. Also, make sure the plants you choose can thrive in a low light environment as well as an environment with a high level of humidity (since your terrarium will be enclosed). This article from Simple Most has a great list of plants that do well in terrariums.
  4. Start your terrarium creation. Now that you have your supplies and your plants, it’s time to get busy creating your terrarium!
    1. Place the moss of the bottom of your terrarium to be sure that you have good drainage for your plant water, moss is great for soaking up and holding the water for your plant roots. Add rocks on tops of this moss for looks (this part is optional, but I like the look of it).
    2. Next, add a layer of the activated charcoal on top of the moss. This helps with any smell that your small, humid plant filled area creates.
    3. Now add another layer of moss on top of the charcoal to prevent the charcoal and potting soil layers from mixing.
    4. Add your potting soil, the amount depends on the plants that you chose and your personal preference.
    5. Start planting! Where you put each plant is up to you, but keep in mind how your terrarium is set up. Try to put the taller plants to the back and sides so that they don’t cover up the smaller plants. Using your fingers, dig a hole in the potting mix where you want your plant to go and then place your plant inside the hole, patting the soil around it gently.
  5. Water your terrarium. Water your terrarium with a spray bottle using the spray function (not stream), you want your plants to be damp, not soaked.
  6. Place your terrarium close enough to windows for it to receive some light, but do not place on a window sill or near a heat source. You don’t want the heat to kill your terrarium plants.
  7. Care for your terrarium. There are several tips to follow when it comes to caring for your terrarium.
    1. Check the soil every other week to see if it has dried out and needs water.
    2. DO NOT FERTILIZE. Terrariums are not for plant growth. Yes, you want to keep them alive, but growing your plants in the terrarium will likely kill them off (as well as the other plants inside).
    3. Keep it clean. Using a paper towel dampened with just water, wipe down the inside walls of your terrarium every month or so.

If you are looking for more terrarium tips, be sure to check out Pinterest and don’t forget to follow us while you are there!