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How to make a terrarium with your kids

Just because summer is winding to a close doesn’t mean that your kids can’t still get their hands dirty and grow some fun plants. These terrariums help them bring a bit of green inside.

Keep summer going long after the kids return to school with this fun (and super simple) indoor gardening project.


Terrarium | - supplies

  • A glass container with a lid (anything from a repurposed pasta sauce jar to a large Mason jar)
  • Small stones for drainage (gravel, pebbles or river rocks will do) 
  • Crushed charcoal
  • Soil
  • Ferns
  • Young gardening assistant


1. Sterilize and create drainage

Terrarium | - step 1

Clean the glass container thoroughly with hot, soapy water to remove any potential bacteria. Have your assistant begin building the terrarium by layering a 1 1/2-inch layer of small rocks at the bottom of the jar to collect water drainage.

2. Add the charcoal

Terrarium | - step 2

Add a thin layer of crushed charcoal to help keep the soil fresh.

3. Pour in the soil

Terrarium | - step 3

Add the potting soil. (Note: The rocks, charcoal and potting soil altogether should equal about 1/3 to 1/2 the height of your selected container.)

4. Plant your ferns

Terrarium | - step 4

Place your ferns in the soil and lightly pack the soil around the plants. (They’ll need some space to grow, so don’t overplant.)

5. Finish and replace the lid

Terrarium | - step 5

Add a small amount of water to the jar. Replace the lid, closing it tightly.

Ongoing terrarium maintenance

Terrarium | - step 6

  • Your closed terrarium should almost never need watering.
  • Prune back any dead foliage or overgrown plants as you notice them to prevent any rotting.
  • Your terrarium will be happiest in natural, indirect sunlight. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight or other overly hot areas.
  • Mist your terrarium weekly to provide ample humidity.

More gardening fun with kids

How to create a winter garden with kids
Kid-friendly gardening projects
Gardening with toddlers and preschoolers

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