Posted in category: Garden Kits, Terrariums.

DIY Terrariums for Kids

Several years ago Mom and I accidentally gifted each other with the same little terrarium kit for kids. It was kinda cute and sorta worked but it was basically a fancy seed starting kit. The instructions were terrible – faithfully following the rehydration instructions for the growing medium only created a soupy mess.

That said, the idea of teaching children how things grow and successfully growing little plants from seed is timeless. It can be a wonderful experience for children of all ages.

But, do you really need a kit or can you simply gather the materials on your own? and thereby create an even more rewarding experience?

Do keep in mind, whether you opt for making a DIY terrarium for kids or buying a kit designed for young gardeners; your plants will die if not transplanted into a larger container with potting soil or your garden.

Build Your Own DIY Terrarium for Kids

So, some of these children’s terrarium kits are selling for premium prices. Our’s were made by Dunecraft. Their kits often sold for $30 or more. (They appear to have gone out of business or at least drastically scaled back.)

Anyway, let’s look at what is usually included in these kits – seed starting medium, a mini greenhouse and some seeds. Assuming you don’t score one of these at your local 100 pennies store (like we did), or one of the more fairly priced ones on Amazon, you can create what should be a successful and fun experience for you and your little ones in other ways. You can even pick their favorite herbs, flowers or veggies too!

If you need a terrarium kit for a class at school or are looking for a fun activity with your kids, you’ve come to the right post.

The Commercial Inspiration

DuneCraft Mini Dome Terrarium KitOur local 100 pennies store had the little Mini Dome Terrariums. I had seen this product online and they often sold for $8-10. The reviews were generally bad. But, I thought for a buck, why not check them out. In a funny sort of coincidence – I bought one for Mom for Christmas and she bought one for me not realizing I had bought her one too.

The kit was basically a cute little plastic mini greenhouse, seed growing medium, some seeds, stickers and some dubiously identified rainbow gravel (of 2 kits, we had 2 different little bags of plain stones and not the colorful gravel displayed on the box).

The seed growing medium wasn’t labeled. They were probably a version of Jiffy Pellets. You add water and the pellets expand into a little pile of wet coir and/or peat moss. As many times as I’ve used those things, they’re always fun. And, who doesn’t like playing in the mud sometimes?

What’s in a name?

These products are not a terrarium or a terrarium kit. They are not an environment where the plants can live and thrive over time. They are modeled after seed starting trays and mini greenhouses used for starting seeds. Plants cannot remain in them, or in the ‘soil medium’, after they have sprouted and have one or two sets of true leaves.

If we run with their definition of terrariums for kids being a cute mini greenhouse for seed starting; why buy a kit so many folks hated? Why not buy something that might be a little less designed for kids and something more likely to actually lead to growing plants? If the kids absolutely have to have stickers on their greenhouses – use some you already have or go down to your local 100 pennies store and let them buy some of their choice.

DIY “Terrariums” for Kids of All Ages

Grow your own salad or the ingredients for the perfect salsa with these nice terrarium kits for kids of all ages. They’re offered by the Mountain Valley Seed Company. Each kit comes with a domed seed tray with dip tray (mini greenhouse), seed label sticks, compressed soil pucks and packages of seeds. They offer basic (1 mini greenhouse, 12 pucks and 6 packs of seeds), deluxe (2, mini greenhouses, 24 soil pucks and 12 packs of seeds) and premium (3 mini greenhouses, 36 soil pucks and 14 seed packets).

Mountain Valley Seed Company Growing Kit

  • Comes with 2 Drip Trays, Two 12 Cell Seed Tray, and 2 Humidity Domes aka mini greenhouses/terrariums
  • 24 compressed soil pucks
  • seed label sticks
  • Vegetable seeds rather than the grass seed often found in children’s terrarium kits
  • Included Seeds (as of 1/10/24) Carrot – Scarlet Nantes 5-g, Lettuce, Mixed Greens – Gourmet Mixture 2.5-g, Radish – Cherry Belle 2-g, Tomato – Large Red Cherry 300-mg, Cabbage – Red Acre 4-g, Lettuce, Romaine – Parris Island Cos 2.5-g, Beet – Detroit Dark Red 8-g, Cucumber – Marketmore 76 3-g, Pepper, Sweet – Big Red 300-mg, Tomato – Hamson (DX 52 12) 300-mg, Chives 2-g, Lettuce, Butterhead – Buttercrunch 2.5-g

Personally, I would opt for the Deluxe kit, shown above, over the basic; depending on the price difference. It was under $10 when I last checked. The basic kit comes with six different kinds of seeds, while the deluxe comes with 12. When I was writing this article, the price difference was quite a bit less than one would pay for those 6 packs of seeds; not to mention the extra growing trays and soil pucks.

They also offer the just the seeds for both the salsa kit and the salad and veggie kit.

Jiffy Windowsill Greenhouse

Nothing fancy here. But, it’s something that gardener’s have been successfully using for generations to grow nice healthy plants. Again, not a true terrarium but certainly a great option for our version of a DIY terrarium for kids. You get a mini greenhouse and a number of Jiffy-7 Pellets. The pellets contain a similar material to the seed starting medium in our kit but they also have a biodegradable netting to retain their shape.

These are their two smallest options.

Sale Jiffy J410 Seed Starter Kit, Clear/Black
Jiffy Seed Starting Kit, 36 Cell 36mm Peat Pellets with Bonus (2 Pack)

You’ll also need to purchase some seeds, but, you’ll be able to pick plants that will grow well in your garden or would be happy if you kept them indoors. Hopefully, you’ll already have some seeds or you will be starting this project in the spring when seeds can be purchased more easily.
If not, we recommend trying coleus, peppers and/or alyssum. All sprout easily and can be grown indoors year-round. We have successfully grown coleus and peppers from seeds and kept the plants indoors. Our indoor bell pepper plants were small but we’ve had great fun watching it bloom and produce peppers.

DIY Terrariums for Kids from Take Out Containers

One thing’s for certain, we’ve eaten more take-out in the past few years than ever before. With restaurant dining rooms closed or restricted capacity, many of us are limited to getting take out if we opt to leave the cooking to someone else. But, just think of all the free mini greenhouses we’re getting!

You’ll need a container with a clear lid. Sandwich, side dishes and pastry containers are about the same size as the mini domes. Once you’ve enjoyed the food, you’ll need to clean the container with as hot a water as you, and the container, can tolerate. If you don’t eat out much, we’ve got a suggestion for a container for you too.

You’ll also need to purchase some seed starting mix and the seeds of your choice. We recommend a nice selection of edible herbs – seems only appropriate if you’ll be using food containers for mini greenhouses. We also found a sweet colorful set of pots to put your plants in once they outgrow the greenhouses and seed starting mix.

i-CHONY Individual Cupcake Holder - Clear Plastic Dome Single Cupcake Carrier Muffin Container Holders Cases Boxes Cups(50pcs)
KINGLAKE 8 Pcs 4' Plastic Plant Flower Seedlings Nursery Pot/Pots Planter Colorful Flower Plant Container Seed Starting Pots with Pallet and Drainage Holes for Home Garden Flowers Plants,8 Colors
Sow Right Seeds - 5 Herb Seed Collection for Planting - Genovese Basil, Chives, Cilantro, Italian Parsley, and Oregano to Plant and Grow a Home Vegetable Garden - Fresh Assortment Herbal Variety Pack
Sale 50 Count - Jiffy 7 Peat Pellets - Seed Starter Soil Plugs - 36 mm - Start Seedlings Indoors - Easy to Transplant to Garden

DIY Terrariums for Kids or Mini Greenhouse or Seed Starting Kit

There are quite a few options for products being marketed as a DIY terrariums for kids. Whether you opt for a product specifically designed for young gardeners or go for something less cute, but more practical, is up to you and your family.

But, why not aim for growing healthy plants, veggies and herbs that your children can enjoy all the way to the dinner table?

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