Here are a few ways to help them create their miniature ecosystem😍!
Isn’t ‘Planting’ a great activity for kids 🧑👧👦👩 especially where they naturally learn scientific concepts through experiencing & experimenting? The best part is they learn – Observation (checking the soil minutely and watching the plants grow), Sensory exploration (touch & feel the soil & plants), Communication (discussing with parents), Comparing (measuring, monitoring the soil), Hands-on Learning, Independent Thinkers and so on.
So, why not make this activity more fun 👍 & trendy 👌? Yes, let’s encourage kids to learn & make their customized Terrariums….isn’t this sounding fun & exciting? Well, Terrariums are a great craft activity as it is easy to make; maintain them as well as they make a lovely gift idea (either to present it to their friends, teachers) or just keep them on their study desk. Older children benefit a lot through this activity as it helps to build a curious mind and a crafty hand.
A terrarium is like a mini aquarium, where we find plants 🌵🍀 instead of fishes. Though the first terrarium was developed by botanist Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward in 1842, Terrariums have now become quite trendy. They are also referred to as a “terraria” where ‘terra’ is a Latin word that means terrain or land.
Let’s learn from our expert on the different variants of Terrariums, what exactly goes on selecting and it’s preparation and process of building the most popular terrarium amongst kids.
Enisha Oberoi who is in this field since many years now, says, “I have been conducting Terrarium workshops for kids and it has been an amazing experience for me. This activity helps to channelize their creativity and learn the art of making Terrariums. This is a lovely project where kids can undertake this activity to create their own little ecosystem and learn from them as they grow! Making use of kid- friendly equipment’s with a variety of plants, pebbles, rocks, mosses and decorative elements… makes this activity ‘a fun learning’. It also teaches them to focus, learn patience and develop a hope for tomorrow!”
She continues – In simple words, Terrarium is basically a sealable glass container that comprises of soil and plants. The best part is that it can be opened for maintenance to access the plants inside whenever necessary. Terraria are often referred as a decorative or ornamental item.
#To begin with, here are the necessary steps on how to go about it-
- Decide the Type of Terrariums– Kids can first decide the terrarium they would want to build-Will it be an Open Terrarium /Closed Terrarium/ Succulent Terrarium/Sand Terrariums/ Bottle Terrarium or A Fairy Tale Terrarium.
- Select a Theme– Kids can make their own choice depending upon their likings. One can select a scene from their story books, cartoon shows, sea, zoo, farm, underwater, dinosaur park and so on.
- Gather the materials –A Container (Glass or Plastic) : Glass is preferable, and something with a wide opening will make it much easier. You can use mason jars, fish bowls, lanterns, jugs, vases. A clear plastic bottle (any aerated drink bottle) can be cut into half…this works well too. –Soil : Any kind of potting soil/mix is good to use.- Rock/ pebbles/beads/stones: Anything that is large and doesn’t fit together. As the spaces between them help to form a reservoir for the excess water to drain into.- Pick your plants– Decide which plants to use … pick that’s easy to plant & looked after. Prefer the higher temperatures and humidity that a terrarium creates and don’t grow that big!
- Build it Up– The fun part starts now….. Put all the assembled things/ objects to create your own masterpiece.
i) Open Terrariums Plant
Open Terrariums are most popular and easy on maintenance as they have plants in an open container (the one that has an open lid). Open terrariums are for anyone who wants a natural green space, but lacks the time for extensive upkeep. Open terraria are better suited to plants that prefer less humidity and soil moisture, such as temperate plants (that grow naturally in places where the weather is neither very hot nor very cold). Open terraria also work well for plants that require more direct sunlight. The main advantages of open terrariums are that plants can always get fresh air from the surrounding.
ii) Closed Terrariums
Closed terraria create a unique environment for plant growth. Its transparent walls allow for heat as well as for the light to enter the terrarium, thus causing the moisture from both the soil and plants to evaporate at the elevated temperatures inside the terrarium. This water vapor then condenses on the walls of the container & eventually falls back to the plants and soil below. This creates an ideal environment for growing plants due to the constant supply of water and prevents the plants from becoming dry. The light that passes through the transparent material of the terrarium allows the plants within to photosynthesize, which is a significant aspect of plants to grow.
Mosses, Orchids, Ferns, Air plants & Nerve plants (Fittonia) which come under the Tropical house plants are typically kept within the closed terraria due to the conditions being similar to the humid environment. Keeping the terrarium sealed allows for the circulation of water. The terrarium may be opened once a week to remove excess moisture from the air and the walls of the container. This is to prevent the growth of mold or algae, which could damage the plants of the terrarium. Terraria must also be watered occasionally, the absence of condensation on the walls of the terrarium or any wilting of the plants is an indicator that the terrarium requires water. A common medium that can be used is a mixture of peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite.
iii) Succulent Terrariums
Succulent plants are not a good choice for terraria – open or closed. The lack of drainage in the terrarium will inflict root rot. If we want to use them, we need to make proper arrangements for drainage, adding pebbles helps. They are desert plants and live in much warmer, dryer environments than most tropical plants. Succulents love bright light with some direct sun. For watering, allow the soil to dry almost completely between watering. Water slowly around the base of the plant.
iv) Sand art terrarium
This is the most loved and a popular terrarium choice by kids. As they associate sand to their favorite destination i.e Beach… they would love to try this first!
Here is the STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS:
- A glass container; 2. Any succulents of your choice; 3. Moss and little bits of driftwood for decorating; 4. A stick (for moving things); 5. A paint brush for cleaning things off; 6. Sand which comes in various colors (you can get at least three choices that complement each other and makes you happy). You can also try choosing similar ones like yellows and oranges or going completely crazy with every color of the rainbow.
Start layering your sand by laying down your base layer evenly across the bottom. Build layers and pour different colors of sand in piles all around the sides. Be careful not to fill-up the center. When you’ve got the sand to a height you’re happy with, lay down a layer of pebbles to help with drainage and to keep the sand stable for the plants to stay. Add cocopeat soil mix- it works better for succulents. You don’t need much; just add an inch or so and then make a little hole in the center. Do this by pushing the soil down. Pull your succulent out of its container (2″ varieties work best) and shake off as much soil as possible without damaging the roots. Place it inside the hole into your soil. Do this with as many plants as you can fit. Don’t worry if the container looks overcrowded:). Add another layer of pebbles to finish the top. Here’s where a paint brush comes in handy. It helps to even the things out. It is now the time to experiment and explore with whatever theme you choose…You can go for shells to create a beach theme. ‘Creativity here has no end’.
v) Bottle Garden Terrariums
These Bottle Terrariums are popular and ideal for homes, but planting it in a right way is very important. Use of equipment’s, tools, feed and compost makes it easy for creating this.
vi) Fairyland Terrariums
My personal favorite theme is Fairyland as my princess loves it and I can use her miniature toys for the same (most of the stuff is picked-up from her toy cupboard😊) Kids would love the fairy land terrariums, so according to the theme you can add in miniature articles and characters that are easily available online.
Hopefully this article has generated a sense of liking or interest towards building your own Terrariums… and I am very much sure kids will enjoy this activity too! So, let the kids try their hands at making one for themselves. Readers, what do you feel which type of terrarium would your child first pick? Share their lovely experience & learnings from this DIY project….Take care #Besafehome