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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.

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      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 December 2, 2019

          10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

          10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

          Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

          In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

          These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

          1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

          Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

          But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

          Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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          2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

          You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

          The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

          3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

          If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

          Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

          If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

          4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

          Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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          To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

          In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

          5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

          We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

          If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

          Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

          “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

          6. Give for the Joy of Giving

          When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

          One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

          So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

          7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

          Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

          Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

          8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

          When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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          So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

          9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

          Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

          It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

          It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

          10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

          There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

          But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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          Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

          More About Living a Fulfilling Life

          Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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