People making terrariums

This is a great time of year to plant an ‘indoor garden’ or terrarium. For older children, it’s a perfect opportunity to learn about the water cycle, condensation, respiration. A closed terrarium is its own biosphere: some terrariums have stayed closed and alive for a hundred years.

Man showing off his terrarium

Still going strong: Pensioner David Latimer from Cranleigh, Surrey, with his bottle garden that was first planted 53 years ago and has not been watered since 1972 – yet continues to thrive in its sealed environment.

A terrarium can be made from all kinds of household items. One of my favorites is a large clear soda bottle terrarium. You can use houseplant cuttings you may have, or someone you know may give you,  or you can even hunt for native plants outside. While doing this activity you might talk about pollution and how plants do best with clean air and water, and how important it is to have a clean place to grow up in.  I like to remind kids that plants are like people in many ways. A discussion about clean water and environments for plants could easily become a conversation about “What do people need to be healthy?”

This is a great opportunity to hear what your child thinks is needed to be healthy, in their own words. During these pandemic times, while we are focusing more than ever on what’s ‘healthy’, it might be great to check in. You might even check in with them — “What do you need to be healthy?” You might not be surprised, but then again, you might be! It’s a great question for kids of all ages.

Check out these resources on how to make a terrarium: