Courtesy Stephanie Staton
Finding fun and interesting ways to entertain a toddler while making the experience educational and farm-related (not to mention doing all of this indoors while the winter winds blow outside) can be challenging at times. So when the opportunity to take a class on making terrariums presented itself, I jumped at it. That same night, I went home, rummaged through the cabinets for an old, glass fishbowl and put my son’s hands to work in the soil.
Fulfilling two of his outdoor obsessions—playing with rocks and digging in the dirt—this project was easy enough that he could participate with a little instruction and supervision on my part. It offered quality time together as well as constructive learning, with Mommy giving way too much information on plant health and the benefits of microorganisms. (It’s just unavoidable sometimes.) Once he got the plants in position and covered the soil with gravel, he added a special touch—a small plastic dinosaur from his toy collection. Every time he sits at the kitchen table, he talks about his dinosaur and what it’s doing in the "jungle,” as the terrarium is now called.
Like children, we (ahem) adults often feel the need to fill the gardening void left by winter’s restrictive temperatures. Depending on your available time and patience, terrariums can be tailored to be as complex or as simple as you want—with minimal (or more if you wish) ongoing maintenance. Any member of the family can make one, though some might need a little more supervision and guidance than others, and it adds a splash of life to a seemingly dead landscape. Get instructions for making a terrarium of your very own.
If a brown thumb has you feeling like a stick in the frozen mud this winter, check out the myriad other cooking and crafting options in this issue to keep your hands—whatever color their appendages may be—busy while expanding your skill set. For another fun kid- and adult-friendly activity, check out the bulletin board project.