DIY, Family Activities

Kids activity: Building a terrarium

If you’re interested in a simple and easy activity that will introduce your kids to gardening on the weekend or during the COVID 19 period, this is my “Kids activity: Building a terrarium” instructional article and review.

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My mom bought my kids Venus fly trap plants, see picture below. Venus fly trap plants eat bugs and they thrive in humid terrariums, see video below about Venus fly traps. A terrarium is indoor garden in a jar. So, my wife and I thought it would be fun for the kids to build their own terrarium.

My mom had rocks and glass jars. We purchased the potting soil, charcoal and rocks at a local garden supply store. I’ve also provided some terrarium kit options below that you can buy online.

Items typically needed to build a terrarium

  • Small to medium glass/plastic jar/container
  • Small rocks or pebbles
  • Charcoal and sphagnum moss
  • Potting soil
  • Plants
  • Ornaments or decorations

Need ideas for plants for your terrarium, check out the Better Homes & Garden article “12 Best Terrarium Plants,” click here.

Step 1

Put a layer of small rocks or pebbles to ensure your terrarium has good drainage and will create humidity.

Step 2

Add a layer of charcoal, it will help absorb odor and excess moisture. Then, add a layer of moss, it will prevent the soil from settling into the pebbles/rocks.

Step 3

Add about 1 inch or more of potting soil depending on your plants root system. We added more than an inch of soil because our venus fly traps root system was large. If you’re creating a desert environment, then you may want to consider using a cactus planting mix.

Step 4

Select your plants. You’ll want to consult with your local garden supply store regarding options. Or, check out this article by Better Homes & Garden “12 Best Terrarium Plants,” click here. Make sure the soil is moist when you transplant your plant to the terrarium and water thoroughly.

Step 5

If you have any ornaments or decorations you’d like to install, you may install now. My kids placed some marbles in the terrarium.


  • Terrariums will typically do best in indirect light.
  • When condensation builds inside of glass, then you should consider opening the terrarium to let some air in.
  • You’ll want to consider creating a schedule for removing lid to air out the terrarium through out the week.
  • Typically, you’ll want to water your terrarium once a week. Please consult with garden supply store regarding your specific type of plant’s water needs.

My thoughts about this activity

My kids enjoyed building the terrarium, but the only thing is that the activity didn’t take long to complete. It was relatively quick. So, building the terrarium won’t occupy your kids for very long. But, they may enjoy watering and watching your plants grow in the terrarium over the long term. My kids continue to be excited about the terrarium because of their fascination with venus fly traps. They enjoy feeding them with bugs they find in the yard. I remember having a venus fly trap when I was a kid and enjoyed this species of plant for the same reason. I hope this instructional article/review “Kids activity: Building a terrarium” was helpful, happy gardening!

Where to buy terrarium kits

You may have some of the items in your backyard or garage. And, you can buy anything else you need at the local garden supply store. If you’d prefer to buy a kit that is mailed to you, below are some highly rated terrarium kit options at Amazon, including a succulent/cactus kit.

Creativity For Kids Grow ‘N Glow Terrarium Science Kits for Kids – Create Your Own Mini Ecosystem, Educational Toys

Cute Farms Terrarium Starter Kit | Moss, Vermiculite, Soil, Pebbles, Plant Food, Finishing Tools (Large Kit)

Complete Terrarium Kit: Succulent Planter with Soil and Glass Globe + All Supplies for Succulent, Cactus, and Fairy Garden (Glass Globe, Medium Height 4.75 inches – Width 5.5 inches)

Succulent Planter Soil Kit – Total DIY Terrarium Supplies -Terrarium Kit for Succulent or Catcus – Create Your own Terrarium with These Supplies – Great for Fairy Gardens

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