Making Terrariums…and Mud

The wonderful Jacqueline Cook found herself in possession of hundreds of beautiful terrarium plants. Being the lovely friend she is, she called me up last Sunday and asked If I wanted to bring the boys over and help make a bunch of terrariums…and take some home of course. At the mention of her name, the boys sprinted to the car. A little note, Jackie and her fiance’ Justin, are some of my boys’ favorite people. Also, their house construction site, is one of their favorite places to go. So, needless to say, it took no coaxing to get the boys to rally during our late morning breakdown zone. On the short car ride over, between the chanting of “we are going to Jackie’s house, Jackie’s house”, I talked with the boys about the plants and the planting. They seemed excited about it (they actually love helping in the garden) asking what kind of plants there were, and telling me what they needed: dirt, water, and sun mom. When we finally pulled up their driveway and jumped out of the car…the boys lost all desire to work with plants…

…see why? Good thing we had the trucks in the trunk!

Oh, and notice the construction of the shed behind them? Yeah, the terrariums did not have a fighting chance.

So, while the boys climbed, dug, and slid, Jackie and I got to work on the terrariums.

Here is what we did.

First, we made sure the containers where clean, for any bacteria could kill the plants. Then, we put in a layer of stones or pebbles. We followed this up with a cut to size (coffee) filter and then some activated charcoal. Now, we also then added a layer of moss, but  I also have seen directions where this is not used. Then we put a layer of soil on top. Finally, we selected our plants and planted. A note, because the plants had been in small planter trays for a bit, we loosened up their root ball a bit before planting. This would help them take root in their new home.

I think these beginning ones turned out well. The boys, on the other hand, were still mesmerized by dirt piles…

While I helped out Jackie with a few more, the boys stripped down and took advantage of the other dirt pile and hose with sprayer. Oh the wonderful mud that covered their bodies!!! Once again, Jackie and Justin’s house proved to be the source of adventure and delight for the boys, and enjoyment for us all!

Since we have been home, the boys have enjoyed looking and talking about the terrariums. I also made one with a lid so as to talk about the water cycle with the boys.

Here are a few other shots of the completed terrariums.

If you are looking for another great educational tutorial on making terrariums with kids, you should check out the wonderful one in this book by Mariah Bruehl over at Playful Learning. Her site is magical and if you have not yet discovered it, you should grab a good cup of tea and explore!

Also, if you are looking for something on a smaller scale, you have to check out this beautiful post over at Eat.Make.Play. Those ladies are always coming up with magnificent projects!

Do you have any other fun planting project to do?

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14 thoughts on “Making Terrariums…and Mud

    • Thanks so much for checking out the post! I got my plants from Jackie, who was handed them after her photo shoot for White Flower Farms, which is an amazing nursery here in CT.
      http://www.whiteflowerfarm.com/
      I know they have a mail order catalog and online store which you can access through the link above. I think they are starting to offer plants for terrariums, hence the plant subjects for the photo shoot;-) I imagine if you were also to ask at a nice local nursery, they would be able to direct you towards some appropriate plants. Hope this helps!

  1. Hooray for dirt!! Great pictures, and what an awesome idea. The glass containers you chose really have a cool look to them- nice reminder that you can really make anything into a terrarium with the right “ingredients”. Also, love that you are already talking about the water cycle with the boys- and what a great demonstration tool you created. Can’t wait to see how you take on the carbon cycle with those budding little scientists 🙂 Keep me posted!!

    • My gosh…the carbon cycle..I may need to brush up on that, it has been awhile;-) Yeah, I was happy with the outcome, and all those containers I had sitting in my basement. Some we actually even used for flowers/ plants at our wedding 7 years ago! Its fun, for if all goes well with the plants, these terrariums will also be on the tables at our dear friends’ Jackie and Justin’s wedding!!!

  2. These are fabulous! I was given a large green glass terrarium. I tried a few things, but they all perished very quickly… However, I did not put in the charcoal, so I wonder whether this is why… I think I might have another go. Thank you for sharing 🙂 x

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