It’s really fun to set up these tiny little scenes housed in glass containers. No pet feeding required, just a monthly water spritzing!
Terrarium comes from the Latin word terra, meaning “earth” and arium meaning “a place to relate to something”. You’ve probably heard of other “ariums” like aquarium, a place for exploring a water environment, but have you ever heard of a vivarium? It’s a place to relate to live animals! How about paludarium? That’s a specific area to experience a rain forest or swamp environment!
With a terrarium, you get to explore your inner giant and make little scenes in interesting glass containers. You can take soil, small rocks and pebbles, pieces of grass, moss, leaves and sticks and build a terrarium. Add miniature elements for a touch of whimsy. Bring a different view to your home with objects from a foreign city (tiny Eiffel Tower, or mini Golden Gate Bridge), from the beach (sweet little shells and gritty sand), from a much-loved story (bears, elves, gnomes, pigs, dogs, etc.) or anything that flies from your imagination.
Since you need to water once per month, maybe even change out the scene or idea then too! Tell a story, share a memory, even make it a gift. (What mom or dad wouldn’t love a custom terrarium for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day!?)
You can use any glass or see-through container for your terrarium. Then add moss, soil, sticks and plants found in your own backyard or a nearby outdoor spot. Scour your toy bins or craft supplies for teeny tiny objects that go with your selected theme. Or go to hobby shops or online for small items like those for model trains to add some flare to your terrarium.
Why not start really simply?? Grab a 2-liter soda/pop bottle and give it a go! As the girls and I did this, we had a blast stomping through the woods gathering the natural bits we needed.
Then we raided the toy bins for small creatures and people. I even went through the basement looking for an old plant rooter I bought at the Minnesota State Fair around 1994 to house my own seascape-style terrarium. The imagination flowed as fast as spilt milk, and I was very impressed with all the ideas!
First, the girls had to decide which way they wanted to design their bottle’s stance. If it was to be upright, they needed to cut away the bottom, as Alexis demonstrates here.
If they were going to choose a horizontal, “ship-in-the-bottle” style, they would cut a flap on the side of the bottle. This type of terrarium stays in one piece, with a “treasure chest” type of opening. Also, on horizontal bottles, the girls needed to make a stand so the bottle and all the creative contents wouldn’t go rolling off the kitchen table! Molly shows here how to make a simple stand from an egg carton top. She and Tessa both used these types of bottles, so it was handy that one egg carton top makes two stands. (Later they plan to paint them to match their terrariums.) The girls then got creative choosing rocks and pebbles for their base layer or selecting sea glass and floral stones, in the perfect color blue to resemble water.
I figured out that for my narrow-neck plant rooters, I would need some sort of tool to get my moss into the bottom. Chopsticks would work, but I simply grabbed two “Pick-Up Sticks” to do the trick! Depending on the size of your container, you could use anything from tweezers to your wee one’s fingers.
After dropping in my layers of white sea glass, I added the moss and then fresh sand before adding the final touches of tiny shells from our various beach adventures. What a great way to mentally go off to the beach when I need a mini-break!
Tessa’s “Monster Terrarium” includes her stand made from an egg carton top half, which she plans to paint black.
April really enjoyed adding some of her favorite woodland animals to her terrarium. The finished terrariums represented a few hours of learning fun, spending time out in the sun and in nature, exploring our imaginations! Have fun and we’d love to see what YOU come up with for your own terrarium!
Check out this fun site by “Terrarium Man” for additional information and supplies. http://www.stormthecastle.com/terrarium/soda-bottle-terrarium.htm
This link has many gorgeous photos to give you some interesting ideas. http://twigterrariums.com/photos
Eagle Alert! – The third eagle egg hatched last night. You can see all the eaglets at The Eagles Have Landed post.