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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 March 13, 2019

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

          You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

          Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

          1. Work on the small tasks.

          When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

          Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

          2. Take a break from your work desk.

          Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

          Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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          3. Upgrade yourself

          Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

          The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

          4. Talk to a friend.

          Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

          Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

          5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

          If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

          Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

          Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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          6. Paint a vision to work towards.

          If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

          Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

          Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

          7. Read a book (or blog).

          The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

          Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

          Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

          8. Have a quick nap.

          If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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          9. Remember why you are doing this.

          Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

          What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

          10. Find some competition.

          Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

          Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

          11. Go exercise.

          Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

          Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

          As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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          Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

          12. Take a good break.

          Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

          Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

          Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

          Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

          More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

          Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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