Are you looking for a simple project to make with your kids while schools are closed? One that you still have a chance of finding all the things you need to make it? Even one that is simple and educational? Is your child a dinosaur lover #littledinosauraficionado? If you answered yes to all of these, this IKEA Borrby hack dinosaur jungle terrarium is perfect!
Teaching about climate
A few months ago, our kindergarten was going to start teaching the kids about topics related to Fridays for Future. I was asked to help come up with some simple projects that would help teach the kids about some of the concepts.
A terrarium is a great way to teach a child about climate and the greenhouse effect as, in effect, it has its own mini climate. Sunlight enters through the glass and warms the air, soil and plants in the terrarium in the same way that the sunlight entering through the Earth’s atmosphere warm’s the Earth. The glass holds some of the warmth just like the Earth’s atmosphere does.
Of course, for Miss M – and the others at her kindergarten – a simple garden would be boring. We considered making a fairy garden, but instead decided it was a dinosaur jungle terrarium. And this IKEA Borrby hack was perfect.
We chose to do an IKEA Borrby hack for our dinosaur jungle terrarium. A number of other IKEA lanterns would also work, such as the Sinnesro or the Lagrad lanterns. Other similar lanterns from other brands would work just as well; the IKEA Borrby was just what we had available (Our IKEA is closed now too).
How to choose your plants
Terrariums work best with plants that need minimal attention. They should grow well without direct sunlight: indoor plants usually work well.
Succulents and small cacti work well because they need little water. Alternatively, ferns and moss work well: this is what we chose. When blending plants, just try to use only those that prefer little water (succulents) or those that prefer it moist (ferns). Mixing them will mean one will thrive while the other wilts because they have different water needs.
How to prepare your soil
Normally, if you are making a terrarium you will start with a layer of rocks and a layer of activated charcoal. This helps filter the water and prevent the growth of fungi. Finally, add the potting soil and plants.
I could not prepare the soil in this way. First, there is little room in the bottom of the lantern for the rocks and charcoal. Second, with the closures around here, it just was not possible to get the charcoal and I was not going to wait for an amazon delivery.
Make a dinosaur jungle terrarium with your little dinosaur aficionado
Simple, educational and it takes no more than 20 minutes to make. This dinosaur jungle terrarium is the perfect project for those who are stuck at home and are looking for something to make with their little dinosaur aficionado.
Wouldn’t your #littledinosauraficionado love to make one of these?
What you need to make your dinosaur jungle terrarium
- Obviously, if you want an IKEA Borrby hack, you need an IKEA Borrby lantern. In fact, any other lantern with clear glass sides would work too (you need to see the dinosaur)
- Aluminium foil
- Suitable plants, preferably of varying heights
- Some extra potting soil (may not be needed)
- Rocks (marble-sized) and activated charcoal to prepare the soil (optional)
- A dinosaur or two
- 2 Wooden skewers (optional)
- a piece of card (optional)
- felt tip liners (optional)
How to make you dinosaur jungle terrarium
- Assemble the lantern, as per the instructions.
- Line the bottom of the lantern with aluminium foil to block the gaps and prevent soil or water leaking out and making a mess.
- If you have it, add small layers of stones, charcoal and soil to form the basis of your terrarium.
- Settle your plants in the soil; if you are using moss, spread it out as ground cover.
- Add your dinosaur(s) and any rocks or other decor you want to create your scene.
- If you want to, make a little sign to warn others of the presence dinosaurs. I made mine on the computer (free printable below); you can otherwise just use some card and felt tips to create a sign. Secure it to two wooden skewers with sticky tape – you may have to cut about 5 cm off your skewers first.
- Carefully water your garden. We used a combination of a mini watering can and a spray bottle full of water.