Gardening with kids : Make a fish tank terrararium

Gardening with kids : Make a fish tank terrararium
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With a nature lover ( who isn’t?) in the house, I love every opportunity to instill the habit of loving and caring for plants. Gardening with kids doesn’t have to be complicated. This season we have started with a very simple nature activity for the kids – build a simple terrarium in our old fish tank. Before moving on to a grander scale of gardening with kids, we decided to start off simple. Something the kids can create on their own, personalize them and call it their own. How exciting! Here is a easy run down on what we did to create a cute little terrarium.

Things we used
  • Fish tank/ any glass or large clear plastic container
  • Gravel/Small stones
  • Soil
  • Plants
  • Accessories (shells, rocks, wood)
We first collected the things we would need to create a terrarium. We purchased a silk plant and a croton plant from a garden store. Mostly moss, fern and lichens make amazing terrarium plants. For a quick reference  ake a look here for  plants suitable for terrariums.  Here is another list of plants that will thrive in terrariums. 

gardening with kids

With terrariums you can create many layers but just 2 of them are mandatory

First we lined up our fish tank with small rocks and gravel to serve as drainage rocks. About an 1 inch of rock will be good. We used the colored gravel which came with the fish tank.

pouring gravel inside terrararium

After the gravel/pebbles layer it is recommended to have a layer of activated charcoal. Some sources also site that this layer is optional. So we went ahead without this layer.

gravel inside the terrararium

After this you could add the Spanish Moss if you have. But we skipped this part as well. Creating something with minimal purchase here folks..

We simply scooped in our potting soil on top of the gravel layer. This was especially fun for my kid.  Only when you scoop and pour dirt do you really feel like gardening. All through this kids activity my 4 year kept reiterating that she was very excited about gardening. Glad to have a nature girl in the house.

nature activities with kids for gardening

Then we removed our terrariums plants from the post and planted them. I purchased a silk plant and a “Gold Dust” plant for the terrarium.It is a plant that was small enough to fit inside the container without touching the sides. Here is a great list of plants that would thrive in terrarariums.

planting with kids

After that my 4 year old went ahead and decorated the rest with shells, twigs, drift wood, rocks and pebbles

decorating inside the terrararium

We even added a cute fairy and a mushroom to add to the terrarium.

fairy garden with gardening

Our completed terrarium. We later slightly misted the soil with water and put the lid on. Closed terrariums are easier to care for while compared to open terrarium because the moisture is trapped inside the container thus preventing excessive drying of the soil.

fish tank terrararium

Talking Points

What is a terrarium?

What to plants need to grow?

What is Water Cycle?

Thanks for reading.

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