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Make A Terrarium With Your Kids And See How Many Decades You Can Make It Last

Make A Terrarium With Your Kids And See How Many Decades You Can Make It Last

Anybody who loves nature, planting, science, or all of the above will love terrariums. What is a terrarium? Essentially, it is a self-sustaining ecosystem that houses plants, usually enclosed within a glass jar or container of some sort. What makes terrariums special though is the fact that they require little to no maintenance once you have put them together.

While not all terrariums are the same, with some being more self-sustaining than others, there is always a chance that you will craft one with a shelf life as long as the one discussed in this article. That terrarium, created by David Latimer, housed in an immense glass sphere, has been living for more than 50 years, watered only once in its long lifetime.

Once you know exactly how it works (which will be discussed in-depth below), you will find that it is not quite as magical of a process as the amazing story linked above would suggest. It is simply a matter of careful preparation and implementation, and thus, making a terrarium is a fun and engaging activity for those who wish to test their scientific and engineering abilities.

Crafting a terrarium is such an educational experience that I highly recommend you consider making one alongside your child. Not only will they learn a bit about how the world works, but they will do so by building something that will possibly last for decades, serving as a symbol of what they accomplished.

Maybe it will even inspire them to work in a scientific field as an adult!

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How can you go about creating your own terrarium? Just follow the simple steps below!

1. What You Will Need:

First, let us go over what you will need to go out and get before starting your project.

– A tall and relatively wide container, preferably glass, with a lid.
– A small bag of tiny rocks (around pebble sized).
– Soil.
– Activated charcoal.
– A mix of plants that require a similar amount of water and light each.
– Decorations.
– A tiny shovel.

2. Pour The Rocks.

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    This should be a relatively thin layer, perhaps half an inch at most.

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    3. Cover The Rocks With Charcoal.

    This layer needs to be around an inch thick.

    4. Place The Soil On Top.

    Be sure to insert holes in the areas where you want to place your plants. Also, you do not need too much soil, as a four inch layer should be adequate if you are using a medium sized container.

    5. Put The Plants In.

    terrariumz5

      Carefully place your plants into their designated holes. Once they are in, fill in any parts of the holes that may still be visible with extra potting soil.

      6. Apply Your Decorations.

      If you have any decorations you want to place in the container, like stickers, or little figurines, now is the time.

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      7. Lightly Water.

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        Get a small amount of water, and evenly pour it into the soil around your plants.

        8. Move It To The Light.

        Now you will want to close the terrarium, and place it in an area where your plants will get the proper amount of light. Do not place the terrarium in direct sunlight, as that will only serve to literally bake the plants within the enclosed container.

        9. Watch It Grow.

        Here is the fun part. All you have to do now is watch the terrarium maintain itself, and grow to fill the container you placed it in.

        10. How It Works:

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          Now you may be wondering, what makes a terrarium possible? Why do you not have to maintain it at all?

          Well, it is because terrariums create their own water cycle. When light hits the terrarium, it heats up, causing water to evaporate and collect on the bottom of its lid.

          Once the container cools down again, the water drips back onto the plants, essentially serving as a miniature rainstorm.

          The only input a terrarium has is light, which feeds the plant through photosynthesis, allowing it to reuse the same water for (possibly) years at a time.

          While your terrarium may not last 53 years, it should have a good long life. And if all else fails, you can always open your terrarium and add more water or rearrange things, if necessary.

          Have you made a terrarium before, or worked on one with your kids? How long did it last? What did you think of the experience? Did your kids learn something? Comment below!

          Featured photo credit: Terrarium/Erin via flickr.com

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          Last Updated on September 18, 2020

          7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

          7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

          Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

          Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

          1. Exercise Daily

          It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

          If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

          Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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          If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

          2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

          Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

          One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

          This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

          3. Acknowledge Your Limits

          Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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          Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

          Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

          4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

          Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

          The basic nutritional advice includes:

          • Eat unprocessed foods
          • Eat more veggies
          • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
          • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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          Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

            5. Watch Out for Travel

            Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

            This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

            If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

            6. Start Slow

            Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

            If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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            7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

            Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

            My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

            If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

            I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

            Final Thoughts

            Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

            Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

            More Tips on Getting in Shape

            Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

            Reference

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