Make a Soda Bottle Terrarium

Cub Scouts love to create and do hands-on activities. Making a terrarium is a great springtime activity.  Plus – it reuses a plastic soda bottle, which is great for starting a discussion about Earth Day approaching. Reduce – Reuse – Recycle!

I think all of my kids have made these at one point or another – either in scouts or at school. They usually last several months, even though the kids seem to alternate between completely forgetting them and then smothering them with too much love and water.

This can be used to fulfill:

  • Requirement 3 for the Webelos Naturalist activity badge:  Set up an aquarium or terrarium. Keep it for at least a month. Share your experience with your Webelos den by showing them photos or drawings of your project, or having them visit to see your project.
  • Wolf Elective 15c: Grow a plant indoors
  • In conjunction with Tiger elective 30: Plant a Seed: Plant a seed, pit, or green tops from something you have eaten.
  • Depending on how loose your definition of greenhouse is, it might also be useful for Bear elective 14d: Build a greenhouse and grow twenty plants from seed. You can use a package of garden seeds or use beans, pumpkin seeds, or watermelon seeds.

Materials

  • one 2 liter plastic soda bottle for each child
  • loose pebbles or rocks
  • potting soil
  • plants or seeds (something which won’t get too big)
  • stones, small plastic critters, etc for decoration
  • scissors

Instructions

  1. Wash the bottles.
  2. Draw a line on the soda bottle about 4 inches from the bottom.
  3. Cut off the bottom of the bottle along the line. (Done by the adult)
  4. Put about 1 inch of pebbles in the bottom of the bottle.
  5. Add about 2 inches of soil.
  6. Plant the seeds or plants in the soil.
  7. Add the decorations if you have any.
  8. Water the soil so it is moist, but not wet.
  9. Slide the top half of the soda bottle onto the bottom half. You might have to squeeze the bottom slightly to make the top fit on it.
  10. Place the terrarium in a window.

To care for the terrarium, the scout can just remove the top and mist it with water if it starts to dry out. Our rule of thumb is that if there is condensation inside the bottle, then it is probably too wet. Take the top off for a little while to let some of the moisture escape.

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One Response to Make a Soda Bottle Terrarium

  1. Nikki July 17, 2013 at 11:48 AM #

    Should the bottle cap be on or off of the soda bottle terrarium if you don’t use tropical plants?

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