How to Make a Terrarium with Kids -Step by Step Instructions and Inspiration

If you’re looking for ideas on how to spend some quality time together this summer, try planting your own terrarium. This can be a great educational experience for kids.

This is a quick and easy project for the garden that will help teach your children about nature and help them learn how to care for living things. 

kids making a terrarium

Have you ever wondered how to make a DIY terrarium? It’s easier than it looks, so it makes an ideal gardening project to do with the kids.

It’s fun, inexpensive and the finished terrarium can even be given as a homemade gift for friends and family, on occasions like Mother’s Day, as a thank you gift for a teacher, or a gift for grandparents

Let’s create a wonderful terrarium with some beautiful plants and succulents. It will look like a mini forest!

I am sure that your children will be fascinated with this terrarium and will want to keep it for a long time. With just a little care, your terrarium can last for months or even years when you chose low maintenance plants to go inside, and take care of it properly.

What is a Terrarium?

terrarium gardening activity for kids

A terrarium is basically a glass enclosure that is intended to be used as a natural environment for live plants, and is used for slow growing plants.

You can make your terrarium in any kind of glass container or jar, with a lid or without.

How to Make a Terrarium Step by Step

These step by step instructions on how to make terrariums with kids will have you making one together in no time.

Terrarium Supplies

  • Glass container, bowl or jar of your choice
  • Pebbles
  • Charcoal
  • Moss
  • Potting Soil
  • Plants of your choice
  • Decorative stones, small piece of driftwood, or other decorations of your choice

You can choose any type of class container, if you want to include more plants then go with a large or medium glass bowl.

With kids, making an open terrarium in a medium to large glass bowl is the easiest option to give them room to work, and to place their miniature plants inside.

You could re-use an old fish bowl, a mason jar, or you can choose a new glass container specially at the garden centre.

Although you can even make a terrarium in a narrow glass bottle, this is a bit tricky for children and it’s always best to prepare the activity in the best way to give them the chance of success, and the freedom to work as independently as possible.

Which Plants are Best for a Terrarium?

Succulents are super popular for terrariums, many types of ferns and violets also do well.

You can grow cacti in your terrarium alongside your succulents, in an open terrarium as they have similar watering needs (as they need less humidity and moisture in their environment, these plants prefer an open container)

You can grow aloe vera in your terrarium, and even carnivorous plants.

Check this guide from Country Living to help select the best plants for your house, based on how much light you get an other factors.

This will also help you out with where best to place your terrarium in the house, for the best environment for your selected plants to thrive.

You can buy live mini succulents and other suitable plants online, even at Amazon (affiliate) or go out with the kids and pick some together from the garden centre.

types of succulents to use for your terrarium

Check out this list of popular succulents which are hard to kill.

DIY Terrarium Step by Step Instructions

(see our create card below if you would like to print these out in bullet point format)

First add your pebble layer at the bottom of the container (a couple of centimeters is best), these pebbles are here to act as a drainage layer in your terrarium. Since a glass container doesn’t have any holes for drainage, like a regular plant pot does.

Next, add some activated charcoal, just a sprinkle or a thin layer is fine but this ingredient is really important in helping to remove any toxins from your terrarium.

Next, add your moss layer. This helps to put some separation between the pebbles and the potting soil, and keep things tidy. We used sphagnum moss for our terrarium.

adding moss to a terrarium

Next add the potting soil, make sure to add enough that you’ll be able to plant all of your chosen plants into the container nicely, and for their roots to spread a little.

Now you’re reading to start adding your plants. Carefully remove them from their individual pots, and plant them into the potting soil layer of the terrarium.

planting in a terrarium

When adding plants to the terrarium, go with biggest first and be sure to give each one enough space, away from each other plant and away from the walls of the terrarium.

adding mini succulents to a terrarium

Finally, add your decorative stones, or any other decorations as required. With kids, you can make it really fun and add some pretend animals, or a little bridge, or sea shells… there are so many possibilities!

Terrarium Care and Maintenance

Once you’ve finished making your terrarium, they are pretty self sufficient and low maintenance.

Depending on the plants you’ve chosen, you will need to water every 2-6 weeks, with closed terrariums generally needing watering less frequently than open terrariums. A closed terrarium can even go for months without needing any water!

The best way is to check the soil carefully with your hand to feel whether it is dry. You can allow the soil to dry out completely in between waterings, and don’t over do it by adding too much water at a time or watering too frequently.

Terrarium Inspiration

These simple terrariums with moss and succulents were made by our girls N and I when they were 4 years old.

kid made terrariums

To get variety in your terrarium finished results, you can play around with the size and shape of your terrarium bowl or containers, use different plants and succulents, different accessories or colored stones to give a different look and feel to the finished terrarium.

terrarium inspiration and examples, how to make a terrarium

Here are a few examples of Terrariums for inspiration – aren’t they gorgeous.

terrarium with driftwood

Beach Terrarium

This beach terrarium has a super fun seaside look including colored blue water, sand and a little figure.

You could adapt this idea to make a mermaid terrarium or under the sea themed terrarium – how cool for kids!

beach terrarium to make with kids

Peaceful white stone terrarium

The white decorative stone layer on top of this terrarium gives it a super minimal clean and peaceful vibe

white stone terrarium

House shaped terrarium

By using a house shaped glass container, this terrarium looks just like a real greenhouse in miniature. How cute!

greenhouse terrarium

Terrarium with Sea shells

Adding sea shells to the top layer of the terrarium is a simple way to add personality and interest. This would be a fun project to make using sea shells collected on a trip to the beach, to remember your travels.

terrarium with sand and seashells

Mini Geometric Terrariums

Using a geometric container makes these little terrariums so contemporary and effective

geometric terrariums

Lightbulb Terrariums

You can even plant a terrarium in an old lightbulb, since it has a round glass bottom. What a fun way to re-use and recycle – great for Earth day!

lightbulb terrariums

Cork Topped Terrarium

Some terrarium plants do better with an open container, and some prefer the humidity and moisture of having the terrarium closed.

cork topped closed terrarium

Printable step by step below

How to make a terrarium with kids

How to make a terrarium with kids

Materials

  • Pebbles
  • Charcoal
  • Potting Soil
  • Plants
  • Moss
  • Decorations

Tools

  • Terrarium Bowl
  • Small gardening tools eg small trowel or a spoon

Instructions

  1. First add your pebble layer (a couple of centimeters is best)
  2. Next, add some charcoal
  3. Next, add some moss
  4. Next add the potting soil
  5. Start adding your plants, biggest first
  6. Add your decorative stones, or any other decorations as required

Notes

Full details and pictures in the blog post at intheplayroom.co.uk

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Children love the outdoors, so why not bring the outdoors into your home with a DIY mini garden. Creating terrariums is a fun and easy craft to do with your kids, you don’t need to have green fingers – just give it a go! 

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We hope you enjoyed this guide to make a terrarium with kids, and that you feel inspired to give it a go!

how to make a terrarium with kids, step by step guide for this fun gardening activity

Please share these terrarium ideas with friends, or on your social media or pin on Pinterest. Thanks so much!

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