Since we are in the South, we are experiencing our normal, humid heat waves throughout the summer months. They will last well into the fall and they can often be oppressive. One day recently while talking with the children about why it was so hot and other parts of the world where it may be even warmer, we started chatting about rainforests. This has always been a topic of interest to me, even when I was a child. I loved to learn about the tropical atmospheres, the exotic animals, and the bright and lush plants that grow in these biomes.
We pulled out one of our favorite books, Secrets of the Rainforest by Carron Brown.
This book is a part of the Shine-a-Light series and is SUPER fun for little ones because each page “hides” something that is revealed when you shine a flashlight behind it!
My kids ADORE pulling out their flashlights, dimming the lights, and reading these books. In this particular one, they will take a look at the rainforest’s ecosystem. After spending quite a bit of time exploring pages and the surprises hidden, we decided to bring the book to life a bit by making our own diy rainforest terrarium!
This is a super easy project. You just need a few simple supplies, most of which you can probably find in your backyard!
Supplies Needed for a DIY Rainforest Terrarium:
- a glass jar or an empty soda bottle with a lid
- small rocks or pebbles
- potting soil
- assorted plants or greenery
Take your jar and have your child search for small rocks or pebbles to fill about 2 inches or so of the bottom of it. We have a gravel driveway, so this part of the project was easy for us.
Once you have enough rocks, use a trowel or your hands and add some potting soil. The amount you put in is totally up to you, but I’d recommend at least 1-1 1/2 inches of it. Don’t pack it tightly.
Now’s the really fun part! Go out and about and find some small plants that you can easily dig up by the roots or purchase seeds to plant. We opted to grab some moss and a small leafy plant from our backyard. We used a trowel to dig down enough to get the roots, carefully knocked off some of the dirt, and then placed the greenery in our jar.
You’re almost done! Now just add enough water to slightly moisten your potting soil. It will likely seep through and pool a bit in the bottom down in the rocks. That’s perfectly fine! You don’t want to over saturate the jar though, so really keep it to enough to dampen the soil.
Put the lid back on your jar, poke a few small holes in it, and place your jar in a sunny, warm place. After a day or so, you’ll get to view the water cycle in action as the water in the bottom of the jar rises up, and starts to evaporate from the heat that is “trapped” inside. If you planted seeds, you will eventually see the germinate and being to grow!
This is a great visual for young children to see how the rainforest climate operates. It’s simple and fun nature and science!
Have you ever made a terrarium?
For more tips and inspiration, check out the other participants: