How to make a simple succulent terrarium with kids

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Being out in the garden with little ones can be such a fun time and often it is these memories that children take with them into adulthood. When my youngest was a toddler (eek, almost ten years ago!) she roamed our vegetable garden every day in summer. She’d sit on the edge of the garden bed and chomp away at cherry tomatoes, beans and snow peas. To this day she’ll choose a punnet of cherry tomatoes over a block of chocolate. Weird, I know.
Let’s face it, kids are going to be happy with any project that involves being outside and spending time with mum, dad, grandparents or any loved adult. Pair this with dinosaurs and fairies and you know you’re on a winner.
This is a simple terrarium project for children that uses mostly found objects around the house. You may need to purchase a small pack of sphagnum moss, which is readily available at any garden centre or hardware store.

What you’ll need:
– an old jar (one that you or the kids can reach into a little way if necessary) – I used an old coffee jar
– pebbles
– sphagnum moss, soaked in water to hydrate
– potting mix or soil
– small succulent plant (more on plant types later)
– a small figurine for the terrarium, such as a little dinosaur, fairy, even a matchbox car would work
I recommend everyone wears gloves for this project, as potting mix and sphagnum moss can carry harmful bacteria.
How to make your terrarium:
Place the pebbles in the bottom of the jar, so that you have a layer of pebbles at least 2cm thick. It can be thicker, depending on how large your jar is. Pebbles help to ensure drainage and act as a small water reservoir.
Squeeze out a small handful of sphagnum moss (watch out for prickles!) and place it on top of the pebbles. Sphagnum moss is great for holding moisture but it also acts as a barrier to stop the soil or potting mix falling into the pebbles. Push it down so it sits nice and flat.
Top with about 4cm of potting mix. Make a small dent in the mix where you’ll place your plant.
Now here’s where little hands come in handy. Shake off any excess dirt from your succulent and plant it into your terrarium’s soil. If you’re using a succulent cutting, just push that baby right into the soil.
If you’ve got spare pebbles, top your terrarium with pebbles, then place your figurine and you’re done! Succulents won’t do well in a closed terrarium, so keep the lid off your jar and find a bright, warm spot indoors, or a sheltered part shade position out of direct sun outdoors. It should only need a small amount of water every two weeks or so. Keep an eye on the water level in your bottom pebble layer. It’s fine to have a little water in the bottom of the jar, but never more than a couple of millimetres as this will rot your succulent.

kids open terrarium 2_web

If you prefer not to get your hands dirty, but love a tiny garden, you might like our Tiny Dinosaur Gardens, all made up, boxed and delivered to your, or someone special’s, door.


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