Tuesday, September 23, 2008

We Love Our Jar Gardens!...fun with your child learning activity

Looking for something fun & different from our everyday activities, I suggested to my preschooler & toddler that we should make mini indoor terrariums...which I called 'jar gardens' to help them better understand what it was were going to make.
My older child who is 4 got excited right away as I told him the list of things we would need. To make one, you will need these items:

* a jar with a lid
* small pebbles
* potting soil
* small plants (moss)
* water
* a medicine or eye dropper
* a spoon

We cleaned out our jars really well, then took them outside to collect the things we needed with our spoons in hand...

It was kind of a game and kind of a treasure hunt at the same time!

I said, 'first we need some tiny rocks & pebbles to put in our jars for draining extra water down under the plants,' so we searched the yard and found just the right size rocks in the pathway going to the barn. Each one of us took turns scooping up some pebbles with our spoons and covering the bottom of the jars.

Next I said, 'we need some soil for our plants to grow in,' and my four year old suggested we dig in the garden for dirt...so we headed to the flowerbed...adding just enough soil to cover the layer of rocks in our jars.

Now that we have dirt & pebbles in the jars I ask my kids what is missing from the jar gardens, and my little guy said, 'I think we need plants!' I asked him where we could find some small plants...and we proceeded to look around the yard for awhile considering the different kinds of flora available....I suggested that we should take a few pieces of moss from around the base of our trees to add to the gardens. It didn't take much and it was loosely attached to the ground around the trees...so even my 2 year old didn't have much trouble taking her spoon and scooping up some moss for her jar. We carefully put the bits of moss in the jars...roots side down and plant side up...then brought them into the house to water them just a bit with an eyedropper.

When we were done, I helped them put the lids on their jars and we set them on the kitchen windowsill....just out of direct sunlight.

My kids are so proud of their little 'indoor jar gardens,' and I'm so proud of them following instructions & learning a little about plants while having a lot of fun together.

If you are looking to purchase a ready made terrarium....rather than making your own, I suggest you check out madebymavis's shop on etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5836556

...terrariums are her specialty...little peaceful worlds of wonder that she creates with such care & precision!

My current favorite is the large ball jar with the little gnome home! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=sr_list_7&listing_id=15227175

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