6 Composting Projects for Kids

6 Composting Projects for Kids

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 instructions to get you started:

  • Buy a composting bin from the hardware store or build your own. This keeps smells and critters away!
  • Gather your materials. To create the right decomposing reaction in your bin, you need a mix of greens (food waste, grass clippings) and browns (yard waste, newspapers).
  • Add the browns to your bin, then put the greens on top. Keep the contents damp by lightly watering them with a hose or watering can.
  • As you add browns and greens to your bin, be sure to have an equal amount of each, alternating between the layers. Turn and/or mix your bin every time you add to it. You’ll likely have compost within a few months, depending on what’s inside your bin and how often you turn or mix it.
  • You’ll know it’s ready when it’s dark brown and crumbly. It should smell like soil—not rotting food.


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

1. In/Out List Poster

Kids can create a poster showing what can go in the compost pile, and what stays out.

These are some of the items that can be composted:

  • Yard waste (leaves, grass, weeds, sticks)
  • Eggshells
  • Fruit and vegetable peelings
  • Tea bags
  • Coffee grounds
  • Shredded paper and cardboard (cereal boxes, egg cartons)

These items should be left in the trash:

  • Meat, fish, and dairy products
  • Cooked foods
  • Tissues and napkins

They can also decorate the kitchen compost container!

2. Turning the Pile

If you have a compost container that 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, and which are slow?

3. 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!

4. 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. Kids can color and decorate their own wheel to give them a sense of ownership.

5. 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.

6. School Community Building

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 recycling habits to an entire community.

Last Updated: 3/18/24
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