Terrariums for Kids
By Tovah Martin, author of The New Terrarium
Terrariums are kid-size
So, it’s been raining for two solid days and the kids are climbing the walls.
Or it’s steaming hot and no one wants to go outside.
Or you’d like a nature-based diversion for your tween, to break the obsession with staring at a screen.
Instead of a screen, they’re windows on nature. As far as kid appeal is concerned, they have it all. First, they’re compact. Kids love small worlds. Remember your dollhouse? Or trollhouse? You were drawn to it because it was like someone shrank reality.
Terrariums are easy for kids
Any kid from 2nd grade on up (and maybe younger – you decide) can construct a terrarium and succeed. And the project is inexpensive. You can recycle salvage jars or go for something more evocative – like an apothecary jar or a Wardian case (Wardian cases allow your kid to create a whole landscape – in miniature). H. Potter’s terrariums will fire their imagination.
Glass terrariums teach kids about nature
Terrariums are a cognitive exercise in applying creativity. The results are totally compelling – here’s a work of art that your kid can whip up without spending a fortune on supplies. In terms of payback, this can be a long-term investment.
Terrariums get nature and your kid into a dialogue that might hang in there for the rest of your child’s life.
Bet there were terrariums somewhere in your childhood memories. Remember? See! Terrarium experiences always seem to stick.
How to make terrariums with your kids
- Collect the ingredients beforehand (see my How to Plant a Terrarium post) so you can whip them out when the right moment arrives.
- Be sure to have small-sized gloves on hand to make this happen.
- If your kid is prone to tote things around with him/her (or if this is a school project and a bus is involved to get the terrarium home), you might want to go with a small, portable version of a terrarium and work with a plastic container. Plastic’s fine for terrariums – they just need to be aired out more often (opening the lid once a week for half a day usually works).
- When the weather is good, organize a nature hike with baskets or bags for your kids to pick up “nature treasures” to include in their terrariums.
- Teach kids what not to collect – like bird’s nests (which the birds might reuse) and endangered plants. But most seed pods, seashells, lichen-covered sticks, little stones, etc. are fair game.
- Be sure to wear gloves and long sleeves. Check for ticks and watch out for poison ivy!
- Let your kids unleash their right-brain creativity. Help them plant the little plants properly (see my How to Plant a Terrarium post), but anything goes for decoration.
- That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get involved with this craft project. Make your own terrariums!
Watch a new video about this H. Potter terrarium.
Don’t miss any of Tovah’s expert advice on terrariums! She’s the author of The New Terrarium. For a free RSS or email subscription to this blog go to the upper-right section of the sidebar. Your email address will not be shared.