Bible Science Experiment: Making a Terrarium Allows Kids to “Play Creator”
Children can get the experience of “playing creator” and making their own little Gardens of Eden when they make and care for a terrarium in this Bible science experiment activity.
– Empty aquarium
– Aluminum foil
– Masking tape
– Squirt bottle filled with water
– Potting soil
– Pebbles or marbles
– Decorations (see preparations below)
– Ferns & Flowers of choice – but for this experiment various colored African violets are recommended for flowers. They can be purchased in most large grocery stores. Only buy one type of fern, as too many varieties in an aquarium don’t work well.
Use your imagination while searching your house or children’s play areas or garage for any little decorations to add to the Bible science terrarium project:
1. Little birds and animal toys are fun to add to make your terrarium look like the Garden of Eden.
2. Plastic tops from shaving cream cans make great ponds!
3. Marbles, beads and colored glass make great edging around ponds.
4. A few plastic flowers can add a variety of color as long as they are clean, but silk flowers will get moldy.
5. Fabric, wood and paper items get moldy quickly, so try not to include them.
Tell students the story of Creation and/or read from Genesis 1, which is included below. Then follow with the teacher’s words in bold below it.
The Creation Story: Genesis 1
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there wasmorning – the first day.
6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning – the second day.
9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning – the third day.
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights – the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning – the fourth day.
20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning – the fifth day.
24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
God is the ultimate creator. Some very talented painters and sculptors and artists have noted that their favorite artist is God. Though they love having pictures on their walls and painted vases on their tables, they most enjoy having huge windows, so they can see God’s “paintings” of the sky, trees, flowers, ocean, all of which change from day to day!
God enjoyed creating our earth and creating us, very much like you enjoy coloring or playing with clay and making something. He encourages us to be like him and enjoy creating also. God would probably enjoy it very much with us, if we “played creator” and made this terrarium into our own little Garden of Eden. Let’s do it and learn something about God’s amazing ecosystem afterward.
1. Place pebbles or marbles on the bottom of the container. This will provide drainage for the soil.
2. Place two or three inches of potting soil over pebbles.
3. Create a rock garden, piling up rocks and soil with a pond or two where students decide they should be.
4. Carefully take flowers out of the pot and transplant to the terrarium. Transport the ferns, placing them in and around rocks so they look pretty. When placing flowers and ferns around rocks, make sure there is enough soil that the plant can adequately take root!
5. Add in animals, birds, edgings wherever the children want to place them.
6. Water the “garden.” Fill the ponds and get the soil “moist” but not muddy. Be careful not to over-water as that will cause plants and flowers to rot.
7. Cover the top of the container with aluminum foil, allowing foil to hang over the edge one or two inches. Tightly tape the edges around the container.
8. Punch four holes in the foil.
Each week, have a student see if the terrarium needs watering. There will be less condensation on the glass sides. If there is still a lot of condensation and the plants and flowers look vibrant, do not water. If they need a drink, use a spray bottle and let the students take turns spraying to “make rain.”
The terrarium is like a mini rain forest. You will see condensation forming inside of the terrarium. This vapor will stay in the container and eventually recycle. The high humidity encourages plant growth.
Terrariums are a little like the planet earth that God made. God doesn’t have to come down with a watering can and water the earth. He made the earth so that it would water itself. The lid on the terrarium keeps the world inside “watering itself.”
However, when it gets a little dry, we can provide a “rain shower,” using the spray bottle. We shouldn’t need to do that often because a terrarium will work almost like its own little world
The holes in the top allow oxygen to flow out. Plants produce oxygen, so they don’t need that much.
The life of this terrarium will rely on the sun also. We want to get it positioned just right”¦not directly in the sun, which will turn it into a desert eventually, and not in darkness, as plants thrive on sun.
Find a place to keep your garden this is just right”¦not in direct sun but getting plenty of light.
In the beginning”¦God made the heavens and the earth. There’s no artist on earth who can begin to compare to God. But let’s see if we can keep our Garden of Eden living for quite some time!
Do you think your children will enjoy this Bible science activity? Be sure to let us know how it works out for you! And don’t forget to Become a Fan on Facebook and Follow Me on Twitter, where I will share more great Bible science activity ideas and lessons!