If you are a fan of terrariums you have to make this “Instant” Winter Terrarium for kids!!! Not sure why I call it instant? Watch the video below!!!
Our students LOVED making this in class this week!!! This is a fun little project to make over Winter Break!
“Instant” Winter Terrarium For Kids
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- Hot Glue works best to make this terrarium quickly but does not stand up well when exposed to moisture. E6000 takes time to set but is water resistant when dry. USE BOTH when making these!
- These last about 2 weeks and then you will have to empty out the fake snow and recycle the materials. Over time the snow shrinks and/or the moisture causes mold to form.
- Instant Snow
- Safari Toob Animals We used the North American animals toob but this would be another fun option:Arctic Animals
- Plastic Mason Jar We used this size but these would be amazing!
- Blocks/corks/wood pieces Cut corks in half to make them shorter.
- E6000 Glue
- Hot Glue Gun/Glue
- Miniature Greenery
- Craft Sticks
- Large Sea Glass
- Step One Build a stand for your plastic animal using wood blocks, corks or other waterproof materials. The stand should be glued together using hot glue and a dab of E6000 glue.
- Step Two Build separate stands for any trees or greenery you wish to add.
- Step Three Add hot glue and E6000 glue to the bottom of the stands and place in your plastic jar. Press to bond. If your hand is too big for the jar use a craft stick to press the block/animal down into the jar.
- Step Four Add 1 teaspoon of Instant Snow to your jar. Make sure it reaches the bottom.
- Step Five Add 1/3 cup of water to the jar. BAM!
You’re done! I recommend waiting a day before adding the jar lid to allow the instant snow moisture to evaporate.
What’s the STEAM
This project is perfect for discussing animals, their traits and habitats. Here’s how we ran the lesson:
- We placed all the animals in a paper bag. Each child chose an animal sight unseen.
- There were two of each animal in the bag so the students had to find the other student with the same animal and pair up.
- The teams were given a sheet of animal descriptions without the names of the animals and had to read through the descriptions to figure out which matched their animal. I’m developing this project into a lesson plan with printable descriptions…coming in the new year.
- The children also read about each animal’s habitat.
While the children could not completely replicate the animal habitat within the terrarium some of them did try to match the available greenery with their animal.
Instant snow is a polymer called sodium polyacrylate. A polymer is a substance made up of a long chain of molecules. When combined with water, sodium polyacrylate swells from 100 to 1000 times it’s original size! Fun Fact: It’s actually the same material used in diapers to absorb and pull way the moisture. You can read more about Instant Snow and the Science behind it here.
This is a mini engineering challenge. Without telling the children why, we asked them to elevate their animals off the bottom of the jar. They had to figure out how to raise them up using water resistant materials and how to get them into the small jars. We did provide them with small wood pieces and corks to use for this part of the project.
We asked the kids to draw elements of their animals habitat on the outside of their jar using Sharpies. Some of the children got really involved in drawing these transparent mini scenes on the exterior of the jars.
We made another version of a mini terrarium for kids similar to this years ago with a different material for the snow…..check them out here.
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