I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of handing my toddler my iPhone when I need to distract her, like when I’m trying to do chores around the house, when we are out at a restaurant or when I just need a few minutes to unwind. However, I don’t want to create a couch potato or rely on my cell phone as a babysitter, so I
have planned several *fun* toddler-friendly activities to limit screen time and encourage learning, exploration and sensory play.
Toddlers are curious, eager-to-please and love to use their hands to create things. I love watching Riley get excited about doing a craft, and I also love that it keeps her busy so she’s not making a mess in the house when left to entertain herself (i.e. grabbing the stool to reach on top of the dresser and push all the contents onto the floor, or unravel the entire roll of bathroom tissue paper, like a cat. #truestory, here).
I enjoy keeping succulents around the house (remember this post?). They come in many different colors, shapes and sizes and are easy to maintain. So for our first toddler activity, I decided to use the dinosaurs Riley had lying around her room to make a new terrarium. Plus, we needed a new centerpiece for our dining table. ;-)
Here’s what you’ll need to build your own Dinosaur Terrarium…
++ Glass Vase
++ Cactus Palm Potting Mix Soil
++ Plastic dinosaurs, or other animals
Step 1: Line the bottom of the vase with rocks. This will allow the water to drain from the soil so it does not get oversaturated.
Step 2: Scoop a layer of soil on top of the rocks. No need to level it.
Step 3: Remove each succulent from its plastic pot and place it into the vase with soil. Arrange the taller plants in the back and the shorter ones in front.
Step 4: Once all the succulents are placed in the soil, arrange the moss around it. We put the moss on either side of the plants and filled the remaining space with rocks.
Step 5: Now it’s time to water your terrarium. Slowly pour water into the vase and let the water soak into the soil so it is damp, but not soaked. Less is more in this case, since succulents are cacti and don’t need a lot of water to survive. Wait until the soil has completely dried out before watering it again.
Step 6: Finally, the last step is to add the dinosaurs. Riley had fun placing them in different positions – pretending they were smelling the moss, walking across the rocks and eating the plants.
According to Riley, a dinosaur says, “RAAAWWWWWWRRRRR!”
I’m so proud of my little assistant and love how our terrarium turned out! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Will you try it with your little ones?
Check back for our next toddler activity. (Hint: I promise it will be colorful!)
Photos by Zha Zha Liang
This craft is also featured on Ruffles & Rain Boots.