Recycle some Bottled Terrarium Fun
If you’ve got a couple of old Coke bottles lying about, you can keep the kids busy for hours creating beautiful mini terrariums to pop about the place. Not only will they get some gardening joy but some practical science knowledge too, with the mini ecosystem they are creating.
What you’ll need:
• 2-litre coke bottle with cap
• Potting soil
• A handful of small stones or pebbles
• A Marker
• Seedling of your choice
Shopping time! Pop into your nearest accredited garden centre and get some potting soil, small stones or pebbles, moss and the little ones can pick a seedling of their choice.
Once you’ve got everything home, get the kids to gather the rest of the essentials; an empty, washed and rinsed coke bottle, scissors and marker. Remove the label and draw a line around the midsection of the coke bottle, where the middle of the label was sitting previously.
Punch a small hole in the bottle on the line to make it easier to slide the scissors in and then cut along the line. Parents to supervise this action please!
Set the top half of the bottle aside and place a 4-5cm layer of stones or pebbles in the bottom half of the bottle.
Why pebbles? They allow excess water to drop to the bottom of the bottle stopping everything getting all muddy and waterlogged. When it gets nice and hot inside the bottle, the water will evaporate, just as it does with the sun but having no-where to go it collects at the top of the bottle and forms water drops, just like rain! Pretty neat, huh?
It’s time to use the moss by placing a decent layer over the pebbles, and they might be wondering, why a layer of moss? It just acts as a filter that stops the soil from draining out through the pebbles, keeping it nicely, layered in place while still allowing the water to move through it freely.
Now they can add some potting soil, not too much, and place their plant in the bottle, adding more soil around it until the added potting soil is level with the original soil around their plant.
Decorate, decorate and then decorate some more! Well, as much as they can in their coke bottle terrarium. Let them add pebbles, stones, shells and any other decorations the kids can find to their terrarium to make it unique.
Time for a wetting. Let the kids water their terrarium but not too much, just enough to wet the soil throughout.
If the kids are struggling to keep the lid in place or just to take it off and put it back on easily then just simply make four cuts on the wide section of the top part of the bottle on opposite quarters. Hook these slits over the bottom part of the terrarium when sliding the lid on.
Taking Care of a Coke Bottle Terrarium
Sunlight – A terrarium gets very hot inside because it is a closed environment so explain to the children that leaving it in direct sunlight for the whole day would not be a very good idea. It needs sun, yes, but in moderation.
Water – Show the children how to check whether their terrarium needs water or not. It’s pretty easy. If water drops are forming in the top part and dripping down, there is enough water. If not, or very few drops are forming, they should give it some water. If the terrarium looks a little like a tropical rain forest, it’s very possible that they’ve overwatered it so would be best if you remove the lid for a day or two to help some of it dry out somewhat.