Busy Kids Project: Creating a Terrarium

Try a craft that’s equal parts cool and green- build your own terrarium!

How are you going to the kids busy over the holiday break? Try a craft that’s equal parts cool and green- build your own terrarium!

It’s time to break out some creative ideas to work on inside when the weather outside turns frightful. Making a terrarium is a great project the whole family can work on together. There are no intricate fiddly details, so younger kids can participate without risk of frustration. And then the kids are left with magical make-believe worlds of the natural variety to adorn their rooms or favourite reading nooks.

Materials Required

  • 1 wide mouth, glass bowl
  • Small pebbles, rocks, or broken pottery
  • Clean, fine dry sand
  • Potting Soil
  • Succulent plants
  • Moss
  • Larger beach rocks, stones, shells or pottery pieces
  • Plastic Lego mini-figures, fairies, animals, or small ceramic figurines


Find or buy a glass bowl, like a fish bowl. The dollar store has some inexpensive ones. You could also try a short, wide-mouthed vase, drinking glass or Mason jar, or even an old coffee pot (glass) with the metal removed. The key is to have a large enough opening to allow plants and rocks to be placed inside.

Add small pebbles and stones: This can be from a personal collection, found outside, or purchased from the dollar store, garden centre or craft store. It provides drainage.

Layer Some Sand: Add a layer of fine, clean dry sand. It can be white or a vibrant color. Keep in mind that as you add layers, they will be visible from the side of the terrarium. If you’re not sure where to get a small quantity of sand, check the craft stores. Or ask around at yoga studios – they often use dry, clean sand to fill their sandbags and almost always have some leftover.

Add the soil: This time of year potting soil is your friend. You don’t need much – think no more than 2 inches. Make a hole in the soil where the plant(s) will be placed. When planning the holes for the plants, avoid overcrowding. Think about the heights of the plants.

Time for succulents! It’s time to choose a plant that will be the focal point of the terrarium. This is fun because succulents are so cute, and each creator can choose their favourite. We love hen and chicks, but any succulent will do. Moss is another great addition, but keep it dry when watering.

Add stones or shells: A small beach rock will be a soothing reminder of a magical place. Shells can convey an otherworldly ocean theme, and pottery pieces can provide interesting structure.

Populate Your Terrarium: Lego mini figures are a hit and can serve as the foundation of the theme for the terrarium. Tiny plastic dinosaurs make it feel like there’s a mini Jurassic Park unfolding. Fairies, elves and unicorns make the terrarium like an enchanted forest.

Maintain: Water the live plant 1-2 x a week so that the soil is just moist, not wet. Prune back dead foliage so that it doesn’t rot. Provide, natural, indirect light. The little ones can be in charge of gently misting their natural creations a few times a week.

Enjoy your mini natural world!

Photo credit: FarOutFlora/Flickr

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