DIY Gardening: How to Create Your Own Toyarium


A Toyarium is a great way to get kids excited about gardening. Not only is it a fun project that kids can easily do themselves but it is also a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy. The toys incorporated into the Toyarium help draw attention as well as create more interest with the plants. Check out these steps on how to create your own Toyarium with your kiddos.

diy gardening terrarium toyarium

Gather Your Supplies

There are a few things that you will definitely need for your Toyarium. We used the following supplies for this project:

  • Glass Jar, Vase, or Planter
  • Potting Soil
  • Sand
  • Succulents
  • Small Plastic Toys


Use a Glass Container

Toyariums need a glass container that will allow the sun to penetrate through to the plant. You can use large glass vases, glass planters, or even leftover fish bowls. We are a huge fan of mason jars in our household so we chose to use extra-large ball jars that would be big enough to hold a few succulents as well as not take up too much space.


Choose Plants Wisely

We chose to use Hens and Chicks for our Toyariums because we could use a few different sizes in the jar. I liked that these plants are low maintenance and don’t need a lot of soil depth to grow well. I also liked that the mother plant (the hen) produces offshoots (chicks) which were an entire learning session in itself. Succulents are also very hard to kill so using them is a good idea until children learn how to be more responsible with plants.

Choose Your Toys

You can purchase plastic toys for your Toyarium but I decided to use what my kids already had in their bedrooms. My son chose some matchbox cars while my daughter chose some figurines. I would recommend having children choose a toy that is all plastic so that watering won’t be an issue. The matchbox cars have metal so we will need to keep an eye on them to make sure that they aren’t getting too wet. I liked the idea of my kids choosing the toys because I think that they will be more likely to pay attention to a Toyarium with toys that they enjoy. You can also do themes like army men, dinosaurs, or just a mix of toys as well.


Put It All Together

  1. First, place some potting soil in the bottom of your container. We decided to put the soil more on one side of the container so that the plants would be in the background behind the toys.
  2. Plant a few succulents in the potting soil and make sure to press them into the soil to make sure that they have a secure hold.
  3. Pour some sand into the container to make a spot for the toys. We poured more sand on one side of the container but you can put the sand layer on top of the soil if desired.
  4. Place the toys in the Toyarium in any way that your child wants to place them. My daughter included all of her toys while my son stuck to just two cars.
  5. Lightly water the succulents and place the container in a sunny window that your child will see on a daily basis.


How to Care For Succulents

Succulents need at least 6 hours of daily sun so we placed the Toyariums near an east window in order to make sure that they receive enough sunlight. My daughter chose to put her in her room but my son’s bedroom window doesn’t get much direct sunlight. So, he chose to place his in the family room near a window that gets a lot of sunlight. Hens and chicks don’t need a lot of water and can do well in dry soil. I will have the kids check the plants regularly and water only when the first inch of soil is dry. Hens and Chicks spread very easily so I do expect to have to pull out the chicks so that the Toyarium doesn’t get overcrowded.


Overall, this was a great project that was both easy and fun to do with kids. I love that they get to take care of a plant and I hope that it makes them more excited about gardening. The process of putting together the Toyarium was very easy and we talked about the succulents and how they reproduce and grow. It was a great way to learn about succulents and these Toyariums will be a great addition to our home.

Need help incorporating your gardening ideas into your landscaping? Visit our lawn care pages for the many metros we provide service to including, Chicago, Detroit, IndianapolisMadison, and Milwaukee.

This post was contributed by Kristina Phelan, a freelance writer and her parenting column, Mama Bear Moxie, is printed in a few newspapers across the country. She lives on a farm in the Midwest with her husband, three kiddos, and too many animals.


Kathleen Johnson