The Secret Garden – Make Your Own Terrarium [FREE Printable]

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The Secret Garden Hands-on Activity – Make Your Own Terrarium

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett tells the story of Mary Lennox and her search for friendships and happiness. As a very young girl Mary is sent to England to live at Misselthwaite Mannor with her widowed uncle Archibald Craven after her parents die suddenly of cholera. The Manor is a large, mysterious place with locked doors, strange noises, interesting people and even a Secret Garden for Mary to explore.

When our book club met to explore The Secret Garden we knew we wanted to include literary discussions, food, and hands-on activities. The obvious choice would be to focus our activities on gardening; however, the temperatures were a bit chilly so we needed an alternative to traditional gardening.

Kat had the great idea to create terrariums.  With this project each child could make their very own “Secret Garden”!

Make Your Own Terrarium

What is a Terrarium?

A terrarium is a miniature ecosystem.  By definition, an ecosystem is a complex system of relationships between organisms and resources of different types.

What’s in your terrarium to make it an ecosystem?

  • Predominant organisms: Plants and the micro-organisms in the soil.
  • Major resources: Water, sunlight, soil.

These ingredients work together to form a miniature ecosystem that is able to sustain itself. If you have a good balance of plants, soil, nutrients and water in your terrarium, you will be able to seal it up and watch it grow and thrive for very long periods of time—sometimes even years!

The ecosystem inside your container is very similar to that in the real world. There is water accumulated in the soil and in the pebbles and sunlight will cause this water to evaporate and form droplets along the sides and top of the container. These drops will grow larger and then fall back into the soil. This is a circular process that will continue as long as there is water and sunlight and this rhythm will bring a constant supply of moisture and nutrients to your plants. In the real world the same thing happens when it rains. Water is evaporated up to the clouds then released back down in the form of rain. It is a continuous cycle just like inside your container.

Make Your Own Terrarium

How to Make a Secret Garden Terrarium

Making a terrarium is easy and fun.  Only a few basic supplies are needed, such as:

  • Jar
  • Pebbles
  • Activated Charcoal
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Soil
  • Plants
  • Decorations (optional) – we included a small key to represent the one Mary found

For step-by-step directions to create your own Secret Garden terrarium, download our FREE Printable:

Terrarium Activity: Make Your Very Own “Secret Garden”

This activity, along with a Care Guide & Ecosystem Study can be found in the World Study Guide for The Secret Garden.

The World Study Guide for The Secret Garden also includes all of the items needed for a complete book club or home study, including:

  • WSG _SecretGarden_Cover_220pixelwidthAuthor Study
  • Timeline
  • Book Study
  • Vocabulary
  • Secret Garden Recipes
  • The Great Taste Test
  • The Novel vs. The Movie
  • Activity: Terrarium – Make Your Very Own “Secret Garden”
  • Memory Book
  • Writing Assignment: The Story Behind the Picture
  • World Links to Disney – Movies, Walt Disney World and Activities

…and more!

We hope your family enjoys reading The Secret Garden too!


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As a veteran educator I am always looking for new ways to bring learning to life for my family. I enjoy traveling, sharing ideas with other moms, and helping my children explore the world around them. Our favorite subjects to study together are history, literature and geography.


  1. says

    Just love this! What fond memories I had of reading this book as a child. I am featuring you as one of my favorites in this week’s Hearts for Home Blog Hop. Be sure to stop by and grab an “I’ve been featured” button when the post goes live tomorrow evening. :-)

  2. says

    Oh, I absolutely love this!! It used to be one of my favorites as a young girl! Can’t wait to read it with my girls and this would be perfect! Definitely pinning and saving it for later :)


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