Here’s a picture of a “grown-up” terrarium I bought from ‘Contained Beauty,’ a mom-owned business that sells flowers, fairy gardens and terrariums at the Clayton Farmer’s Market.
Anyone with children in the house knows that kids need to be outside every day in order to feel right; and, it’s hard to act right when you don’t feel right, so extra outdoor inspiration is needed to get through to winter’s end.
Kids can make their own indoor, and recyclable, terrarium with a Ball jar and lid. Simply add a few scoops of dirt, and go on a “moss hunt” with an old kitchen spoon or butter knife. Scrape a layer of moss, like a green carpet, from the yard or a crack in the sidewalk, and put it in the jar. When you get home, you can add little farm animals if you like, or fairies if you wish.
Moisten the terrarium, or spritz it heavily with water, screw on a tight fitting lid with no holes, and wait for the magic to happen.
Tiny insects will hatch out, and in a few days, delicate fronds will begin to unfurl and stand up like little trees. Put the tiny terrarium on the kitchen table where kids can inspect it before meals, perhaps with a loupe or magnifying glass. It is surprising how engaging a tiny terrarium can be, even for busy boys, and a “wild” experiment like this helps to stretch the powers of observation as well as the all-important imagination.
One can’t help but think of the book “Horton Hears a Who!,” along with the empathetic question of who will care for the small unseen things.
Families of mixed ages can enjoy a giant terrarium within easy reach: the Climatron at the Missouri Botanical Garden, a wonder of inspiration and delight that helps more than a few of us get through the last few days of February every year.