Help Me Grow | United Way of Utah County

There are numerous benefits to having plants or “green space” in your home. For example, green space has been shown to decrease stress, anxiety, blood pressure, and can even purify the air in your home. Building a terrarium is a perfect way to bring green space into your home and enjoy the benefits that come with it. It’s also an activity that can be enjoyed and accomplished at any age. When I created my own, my 2-year-old joined me and helped collect rocks, sticks, and pieces of moss as seen in the video below. Oh, and we had a blast doing it!

A terrarium is a transparent enclosure for keeping or raising plants. The first step is to find a container. Terrariums are most commonly glass but you can use a clear plastic container as well if you’re worried about a little one breaking it. An old cleaned-out spaghetti jar, mason jar, or other container will work great. The next step is my favorite part, the exploring! Grab a small hand shovel and a bag and go out with your kids on a walk to the park, along the river, or maybe your favorite hike where you think you can find some interesting items to make your terrarium. Things to collect include; rocks, sticks, sand, small plants, moss, and whatever else stands out to you. You can involve your child in deciding where to go by asking them where they think there will be moss or small trees growing. Me and my 2-year-old found lots of moss along our local river and we found a nice baby pine tree growing right outside our apartment. Tree seedlings can often be found underneath the parent tree. Take your time exploring and gathering items in the great outdoors.

Next, gently wash off your gathered items. This will remove any unwanted bugs from living in your new terrarium. To start your terrarium, place rocks and/or sand at the bottom of your container then add a layer of soil. If you have a larger plant you’re wanting to add, be sure to place it in before you add your soil to make it easier to install. After this, you and your little ones are ready to add all the extras. Place down some moss, sprinkle some rocks in, place a stick here or there and have fun with it. There’s really no wrong way to create a terrarium.

Lastly, you need to give your new creation a drink of water. Grab a spray bottle or a small cup and generously water your terrarium this first time since your soil will be pretty dry. They’re very low maintenance so you’ll only need to spray your terrarium with water every 2-3 weeks. Placing your lid very loosely on top of your terrarium will allow less evaporation and may decrease the need to water that often. Once you’ve watered it your child can decide where they’d like to place their new terrarium. They do best in bright indirect sunlight.

This project will allow your child to take joy in watching their creation grow, add green into their life, and it will also give them a small and fun responsibility to keep their personal terrarium growing and taken care of. If it somehow dies, don’t worry, all you need to do is go out for another adventure to gather new materials to recreate it.