Pseudo spring has us in the mood for green, but mother nature has another idea! Therefore...we're making our own little piece of spring...in a bottle.
Terrarium building is fun and is a great opportunity to teach about ecosystems and the water cycle. I built terrariums with my Ranch boys (where I volunteer) and with my own boys at home.
Terrariums are simple to build, and if you think about it ahead of time, you can reuse, and upcycle supplies that would otherwise be thrown away. I had the cook at school save all the large glass jars from items in bulk. Mine were primarily olive and hot peppers jars!
Terrarium Building Supplies
- Large glass (or plastic) container with loose fitting lid
- Potting soil mix
- Gravel (sterlized)
- Small houseplants
- Clean, soft, dry, paint brushes
- Water bottle
- Misc. decorations; small rocks, sticks, colored glass, or shells.
Terrarium Tool-Building Supplies
- Plastic spoon
- Wooden skewers
- Glue gun and hot glue
1. First, you’ll need to assembly your supplies, including the plants you’d like to put into your terrarium.
2. We found that making some specialized tools was incredibly helpful when building a terrarium. Extending a plastic spoon by taping it to wooden skewers worked well when we were trying to place the soil in a specific spot around the plants. And gluing a poker chip to a cork that was skewered worked wonders when we needed to tamp down the soil after placing the plants into the soil.
3. Using your funnel, pour a layer of pebbles in the bottom of the jar. If you are working with students, remind them that the rocks may break the glass if the pebbles are tossed in to quickly. These pebbles provide drainage and air pockets for the roots of the plants. I sanitized my rocks by washing them, then placing them on a cookie sheet and baking them @300o for 15 minutes. Although, I’m not sure that is necessary.
4. On top of the pebbles place a thin layer of charcoal. This absorbs odors and keeps the soil fresh.