Children Making Habitats

Dateline: 15 August 2005

People sell old aquariums at garage sales all the time. They’re usually cheap. My son Paul recently paid one dollar for a good-size aquarium. If you have young children, especially boys, buy them a cheap garage-sale aquarium. The bigger, the better.

You don’t want the aquarium for fish, because keeping fish in an aquarium is expensive. It’s boring too. At least, I think so. A far better use for aquariums is to set them up in the garage or the back yard and build little hapitats in them.

Habitat building will not cost one penny beyond the cost of the aquarium. All you need is dirt, stones, some choice sticks, a pan of water, green plants, and some little critters. Snakes, frogs, and salamanders are all good little critters. Insects are good too. Nature provides the creatures free for the finding.

Arrange each of the components into a little environment and add the critters. All you have to do is show your kids just once how to create a habitat like this. They will grasp the concept quickly and spend many happy hours of their childhood building, rebuilding, and watching their own little created worlds. It is great fun! It’s educational! It’s even better than watching television!

At the end of the summer, dump the habitat out and store the aquarium away until next summer. Eventually, somehow, the aquarium will end up getting broken. Thgis is to be expected and it is no problem. When it breaks, just throw it away and find another cheap aquarium at a garage sale.


Walter Jeffries said...

You are ever so right about the value of used aquariums. People often buy setups at the pet store but then tire of it. I have found used 50 gallon aquariums for a song and over the years we have accumulated six of them. We use them for everything from a reef aquarium to water/land habitats to chick brooders. They make excellent multipurpose containers and are easy to clean out and sterilize.

We have made several paladiums - land & water habitats. Our favorite habitat project took over a year to complete. It has four pools with a small submersible pump bringing the water back to the top. The water falls airate the tank and keep it humid. There must be over 200 pounds of rock and sand that we carefully arranged to mimic a woodlands habitat. This was part of a long study project in our kids homeschooling and continues to be a source of much enjoyment.

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