How to make a terrarium with your child

Making a terrarium from an empty two-liter plastic bottle is a fun way to get children interested in growing and taking care of plants while teaching them about recycling. When I made these with my children, they asked all kinds of questions like how much water do the plants need, and should the terrarium be placed in a window; so do some studying and have your answers ready. Many children can learn from just observing an object or process. They can see how you fill the container, place the plants, and add the water.

Items needed for terrarium

-Thoroughly washed 2-liter plastic bottle (2)

-Small pebbles (white looks the best)


-Moss (the kind you find in craft stores)

-Rich organic soil

-Small plants (ferns, jade plant, miniature African violet, peace lily)

-Gardening gloves

-Plastic wrap

-Clear wide tape



-Plastic fork

Making the terrarium

Step 1. Cut the top off the 2-liter bottles, eight inches from the bottom and set them aside. If your child is small, you may want to do this step for them.

Step 2. Put on your gardening gloves. Create layers on the bottom of the bottles with the following: pebbles, charcoal, moss, and organic soil. Pebbles go in first, then the charcoal and moss, and then the organic soil on last.

Step 3. Use the pencil to make holes in the soil (about one-inch deep), and gently place the plants in the holes. Do not let any plants touch the sides. Use the fork to break up any clumps in the soil.

Step 4. Spread some moss on top of the soil around the plants. Water the soil just enough to dampen it.

Step 5. You can either use plastic wrap to put over the top of the terrarium or tape the top back on. Place the terrariums in a location where they will receive indirect sunlight. Check once a week to see if the terrarium needs water.

TIP: If your child has a small toy or two such as a frog or lizard, let them place that in among the plants to add their own personal touch to the terrarium.

Not only does this project provide you and your child with some quality fun time, the terrarium can also be used as a birthday gift or for some other special occasion.

Source: Master Gardner Program