Six composting projects for kids

May 16, 2012

As avid gardeners and advocates of green parenting, we love involving kids in gardening and green living projects.  Composting is a wonderful project in which the whole family can participate.

If you’re new to composting, here are some basic composting instructions to get you started.

And here are six ideas for composting projects - big and small - you can do with kids:

In/Out List Poster.  Kids can create a poster showing what can go in the compost pile, and what stays out.  They can also decorate the kitchen compost container!

Turning the pile.  If you have a compost container which tumbles, kids will love to turn it.  If you turn your pile by hand, help kids with the pitchfork or shovel, and make sure they get to feel the warmth coming off of it!  When turning the pile, kids get a chance to see how much decomposition has occurred.  Which items are fast to decompose, which are slow?

Decomposition experiments.  Is there anything more gross (and therefore cool) than decomposing food?  Kids can measure and chart the temperature of the pile, examine compost components under a microscope, and measure and chart the height of a pile under different weather conditions (does decomposition speed up when the weather is warmer?).  And of course there’s the science fair standby, the decomposing food experiment!

Chore Wheel.  Kids can create a chore wheel to keep track of whose turn it is to take out the kitchen bucket or turn the pile.

Compost tea party!  Okay, not really a tea party, but you can involve kids in making compost tea.

Worm composting.  Worm composting is great for your garden, for reducing kitchen waste, and it’s a natural for kids!  There are many activities kids can do with your wiggly vermicomposting friends.

School composting.  While a bigger project that requires lots of adult help, bringing composting to your kids’ school is a very worthwhile and educational project.  Kids can collect data and graph waste diverted, educate other kids about composting and what goes in and stays out, and even monitor the bins at lunchtime.  In addition to reducing waste and teaching kids, school composting spreads composting habits to an entire community.

Tags: compost tea composting experiments composting with kids decomposition experiments gardening with kids how to start a school composting program school composting vermicomposting worm box activities for kids worm boxes




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