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Cool terrarium themes to add some untamed fun to your kid’s natural habitat

A terrarium is a sweet way to add some living charm to your kid’s space, and they can personalize it however they want.  Keeping a little eco-system alive can also be pretty empowering for a kid. Get ready for Earth day with these five recipes for magical mini gardens.

You’ll need:

  • A wide, clear lidded glass container (a cookie jar, apothecary jar, pickle jar, round vase, or a glass or plastic cake dome)
  • Pebbles
  • Activated carbon
  • Soil
  • Your choice of plant (here are some ideal terrarium plants)
  • Your choice of decor

Here’s how:

  1. Cover the bottom of the container with an inch of pebbles for drainage.
  2. Top pebbles with a layer of activated carbon to absorb any earthy odors. Now, add 7-8 cm of potting soil. Create hill and valleys to accommodate plant roots.
  3. Stick your plants roots into the soil layers and cover with soil up to the base of the plant. Be careful not to overcrowd the container!
  4. Mist the terrarium until the soil is moist but not wet. Now add decor and make your sweet scene. Close the lid. If the container gets cloudy, remove the top to let the moisture out.

The Themes:

Think of your scene as a frozen moment. What story do you want you terrarium to tell? Hunt for some mini artifacts in craft/trinket/dollars stores or around the nooks and crannies of your house. Check out these Etsy terrarium accessories for inspiration!


Small ferns and creeping fig do well in terrariums and look majestic. Add crystals or large gemstones instead of rocks, and add layers of glitter dust or multi-coloured pastel fish tank pebbles on top of soil. Decorate with plastic fairies, gnomes, butterflies and toadstools.


Sphagnum moss and snake plants do well in low light terrariums, and look jungle-tastic. Stick in some huts with rocks and thick coil-y twigs. Add plastic animals like lizards, tigers, lions and rubber snakes. Hang some coiled green yarn from the lid of your container so it hangs down like a vine.


Instead of soil and moss, decorate with cacti, bamboo and round rocks and shells. Make sure you select the right growing medium for your cacti before you plant – most cacti and succulents need a sandy soil mix. Incorporate sand into your decor by creating hills here and there, or distribute a thin layer on top of your soil mixture. Alternately, you could skip the plant altogether and layer your terrarium with multi-coloured sand and make a Zen rock garden on top. Psychedelic!


Carnivorous plants like Venus fly traps add some attitude to your terrarium, and they’re fun to feed. Stick twigs vertically into the soil to resemble dead trees. Decorate with jagged rocks, rubber tarantulas, dinosaurs and snakes. Hang some rubber bats from with fishing wire from the lid.

These ideas are just a starting point — go nuts with your natural habitat and add as many wacky trinkets as you want!

Photos by nadja_robotnseikadevaburgerexlibris via Flickr

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