Bottle Terrarium

What You Need:

  • Two-liter (or similar-sized) bottle
  • Ruler
  • Sharp knife
  • Permanent marker
  • Kitchen scissors
  • ½ cup of gravel or coarse sand
  • Potting soil
  • Small plants or seeds
  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Optional: activated charcoal (available at aquarium stores)

What You Do:

  1. Help your child use a permanent marker and a ruler to draw a line 4½ inches up from the bottom of the bottle.
  2. Use the knife to cut into the plastic bottle. (This step is all you; cutting plastic can be dangerous.)
  3. Have your child use scissors to cut the rest of plastic along the marker line.
  4. Set the top part of the bottle aside.
  5. Let your child fill the bottom of the bottle with a ½ cup of gravel or coarse sand. Explain that this layer will trap excess water.
  6. If you have activated charcoal, help your child pour a bit into the bottle. Have them pat down the charcoal. Adjust the amount until you have a layer that's about a ¼ of an inch thick.
  7. Have them fill the rest of the bottom of the terrarium with potting soil. Make sure there is at least an inch of room between the soil and the top of the plastic.
  8. Help your child plant their seeds and plants in the soil.
  9. Let them fill their spray bottle with water, and use the spray bottle to cover the soil with a fine mist.
  10. Take the scissors and carefully cut two 1-inch vertical slits on either side of the terrarium's top.
  11. Help your child place the top of the bottle on the terrarium. The slits you made should help secure the bottom and the top.
  12. Have them place their terrarium in an area that gets some sunlight.
  13. If the terrarium gets too damp, have your child take the lid off and let it dry out for a couple of days.

Terrariums make great gifts! Your child can even add some tiny toy decorations or signs—just make sure any added items don't mind a little moisture or heat.

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