If you and your child are ready to explore the magical world of moss, creating a moss terrarium is an excellent project for learning and exploring mosses. Keep in mind that horticulture or cultivating plants, whatever the plant, is a wonderful activity to engage all of the senses and is often viewed as a form of relaxation or recreation. Studies even tell us that horticulture-related activities can reduce the stress levels of elementary school children with emotional and behavioral concerns. So get mossing!
Creating a moss terrarium is a simple and fun activity. To create one you’ll need the following items:
- 1 small, clear plastic container with lid
- potting soil
- glass jar of any size you desire (mason jars work well)
- spray bottle
- moss collected from yards, parks, or nearby woods
- magnifying glass
- fun objects like tiny objects or small animals (optional)
Step 1: Harvest the mossAlthough mosses vary as to how much sunlight they need, many varieties grow in moist, shady locations. Be sure to get permission when collecting moss from places other than your own property. It is illegal to remove moss from some parks. Try not to take too much moss from one place. To harvest your moss, you don’t need any tools. Just peel it up with your hand For an absolutely superb and fun tutorial on all things moss, head over to SerpaDesign’s YouTube channel. Tanner is a moss aficionado who will help you get mossy by teaching you the tricks to collecting and identifying moss, the best sites to find moss in a forest, moss collecting etiquette.
Step 2: Prepare the mossOnce you get your moss home, you should dip it in non-chlorinated water. This step will clear the moss of debris and pests (hitchhikers). Then just keep it sealed in a plastic container, which should keep it hydrated for about 2 days. Once it's been cleaned, it's a good time to pick up your magnifying glass and have a close look at the filaments and shape of the moss collected.
Step 3: AssembleNow it's time to assemble your terrarium. Get your clean glass jar out and start building. The terrarium is made of two thin layers: 1) A drainage layer made up of an element such as rock, marbles or pebbles and 2) A layer of potting soil Your child can add about a i/2 inch to an inch of each layer using any tools that help them given the size of the jar..
Once these layers are made, children can press the moss gently into the soil to anchor it and spray it lightly with water.
Step 4: Give it flairAs the moss begins to stabilize in its new container, children may want to assemble small play scenes with tiny figures or animals. They can also add sticks, a treasure chest, miniature animal, .pebbles, or shells to create a colorful moss garden. If the space is tight, they can use tweezers or bamboo sticks to manipulate the objects.
Remember that most mosses prefer filtered instead of direct sunlight so find a moss-friendly spot for the container and watch it thrive!