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Ecosystems Activity for Kids

Terrarium DIY

  • Duration: 30-60 min
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Cost: $0 to $10

Make your own ecosystem!

Material List

  • 1Large glass jar with a lid
  • 1Piece of mesh
  • 1Pair of scissors
  • 1Handful of rocks or gravel
  • 1Cup of activated carbon (available in the aquarium section of a pet store)
  • 1Spray bottle of water
  • 1Plants growing in soil (choose a type of plant that needs a lot of water)
  • 1Moss growing in soil
  • 1Extra soil
  • 1Spoon


  • 1Add a 1-inch thick layer of rocks in the jar.
  • 2Add a 1-inch thick layer of activated carbon over the rocks.
  • 3Cut a circle of mesh slightly wider than the inside of the jar and place it on top of the carbon.
  • 4Add a 2-inch layer of soil on top of the mesh.
  • 5Then, add the moss and plants.
  • 6Water the plants generously using the spray bottle.
  • 7Close the lid tightly.
  • 8Watch the ecosystem over time.

How It Works

A terrarium is a closed environment of living things that can show us how an ecosystem works. With the right balance, once the jar is closed the plant uses the water, sunlight, and nutrients from the soil to survive. As the plant loses some leaves, they are broken down by bacteria and become nutrients in the soil. With the right balance, the ecosystem inside the terrarium can survive for years.

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