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How to Make a Terrarium Out of a Soda Bottle

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Webelos Naturalist Terrarium

It's so rewarding for kids to plant seeds and watch them grow.  They also learn that they need to take care of their seeds by watering them and making sure they get enough light.

The Cub Scout adventure program has several requirements that involve growing something.  Two of those adventures require making a terrarium.  They are:

Wolf Elective Adventure – Grow Something 4A:  Make a terrarium.

Webelos/AOL Elective Adventure – Into the Wild 2:  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 by having them visit to see your project.

This article will show you how to make an easy terrarium out of a 2 liter plastic coke bottle.  Now, I know that those of you who don't live in the South would call these “soda” or “pop” bottles, but we just call them “coke” bottles.  😉

Grow a Soda Bottle Chia Pet
Tracey's Pack 187 from Millburn made soda bottle chia pets as a pack activity!

We asked each boy to bring a clean, clear bottle with the cap and with the label removed.  The boys measured about 2″ from the bottom of the bottle and drew a circle around the bottle with a Sharpie.  They should also write their names or initials on the top and bottom sections of the bottle.

One of our adults used a craft knife to start cutting around the circle.  The boys then used scissors to continue cutting around the circle.

After they complete the cut, they set the top aside.  The boys put a little gravel in the bottom of the bottle for drainage.  Although you can purchase gravel or have the boys bring some from home, going outside to look for some small rocks would be a great opportunity to get them moving and to put a little “out” in your “Scouting!”

When the boys have put the gravel in the bottom piece of the bottle, they should add potting soil.  Give each boy about two cups of potting soil and some grass seed.  They should mix the seed into the soil.

Next, have the boys pour the soil/seed mixture into the bottle bottom.  Have them water their soil using a spray bottle.  If you don't have one, you can just pour water on the soil.  An adult should supervise this so that all of the water isn't poured into one spot.

Finally, the boys will fit the bottle top onto the bottom.  When they get home, the boys should place their bottle near a window so that the seeds can get lots of sunshine.

In just a couple of day, they'll see the grass start to sprout!  We left ours on the window sill for several weeks, and the grass grew very tall.  The boys took the tops off and gave the grass a haircut.

Have your boys made a terrarium?  I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Yours in Scouting,
Sherry

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Jim Cool

Thursday 18th of January 2018

Flipping the design upside down with holes in the bottle top can allow the terrarium to drain excess water into a cup holder; eliminating the gravel, and any water drops onto the windowsill. Encouraging the kids to come up with improved methods without telling them how can spark their creative minds for many other practical inventive solutions.

Post Holiday Boredom Busters: 10 Fun Things to Keep Kids Busy and Off Electronics | Cub Scout Ideas

Tuesday 30th of December 2014

[…] 5.  Make a soda bottle terrarium. […]