Skip to main content

Make A Simple Compost Bin (a fun way to teach kids about soil)

We did a fun unit on soil last year and our big culminating project was setting up our own backyard compost bin. It ended up being much more simple to do than I originally thought it would be. In fact it's so simple, everyone should consider starting one! It's a great way to reduce your household waste, teach kids about soil and composting, and you end up with some excellent soil for your garden out of the process.

Set up a compost bin to teach your kids about soil.



Setting Up A Compost Bin:

The first thing you need to do is pick a place for your bin. The best location will get a few hours of sun a day (the heat will help speed up the composting process) but not too much sun because you want your compost to stay moist. You also want to pick a spot somewhat close to the house so adding kitchen scraps is easy. 

Once you've chosen a location, it's time to actually set up your bin. Your compost bin can be as simple as just a pile in your yard (I personally don't use this method because we have too many critters around here that would get into it) or as fancy as a store bought tumbling bin. For our bin I just used some chicken wire and made a cylinder with it. Your bin should be at least 3x3x3 foot but no bigger than 5x5x5 foot. If you make it too small or too large, composting will still happen, just slower. It's really hard to mess composting up!




Now it's time to start adding compostable material!


Material To Compost:

If your using a simple bin like ours, it's best to start heaping material straight on the ground inside your bin. No need to construct any type of floor for your bin.


In order for your bin to have the proper bacteria and nutrients needed to produce good soil, you need to use a variety of green and brown compostable material in your bin. Green materials include: fresh vegetable and fruit peelings, coffee grounds, grass clippings, fresh plant trimmings, and seaweed. Brown materials include: dry leaves and pine needles, egg shells, sawdust, straw, and wood ashes. 


Compostable Material




Taking Care of Your Compost Bin:

Taking care of your compost bin so that it turns your brown and green material into soil is fairly simple. The most important thing is just to add green and brown compostable material to it regularly. This provides the beneficial bacteria and fungi in your bin with the food they need to stay happy and fed. 

Every few weeks you should mix the material in your bin up a bit with a pitchfork or small shovel. You should also check to see that it's moist. Too little or too much moisture will slow down the composting process. If it's too dry it's fine to add a little water. 

You may also want to construct some sort of simple lid to cover your bin on very hot sunny days and during rainstorms. I just use a cheap plastic tablecloth.

And that's it! In a few months you should have soil that is dark and crumbly and you can start using it in your garden.








Learn About Soil:

Use this as an opportunity to teach your kids about soil and how it's made. Here are a few resources to get you started:

YouTube Video: Make the Most of Compost

YouTube Video: How Compost Is Made

YouTube Video: What's the Dirt on....Dirt?

Educational Site: Ducksters- Earth Science for Kids: Soil





If you enjoyed this post, check out some of my other fun kids geology activities: 








Follow me on:

Comments

  1. We did something similar to this when my girls were young. It's a great way to teach them about soil, science, etc

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading! Always good to hear others have shared similar activities with their kids :-)

      Delete
  2. Great post and tips! I think it is indeed very educational for kids. I really want to make a compost bin for ourselves this year too so you gave me quite some ideas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading my post! Glad it might be helpful.

      Delete
  3. I love the compost bin pictured. Is that yours? I want to make one out of wire mesh like that so it can get more air. Great article!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, the chicken wire compost bin is ours, it works great, and was so simple to put together.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  4. I never thought about using eggshells for the brown matter. I have another use for those now! Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eggshells are one of our most regularly composted scaps around here :-)

      Delete
  5. This post is so helpful! A great resource for teaching kids! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading! Glad you found it helpful :-)

      Delete
  6. This is a great idea for learning and useful for the garden as well! Thanks for sharing how to set it up, we'll have to give it a shot!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Replies
    1. Thanks, my daughter enjoyed putting it together and she was so excited when it started producing good soil for our garden :-)

      Delete
  8. This blog is really very nice. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it/ found it helpful :-)

      Delete
  9. I m so glad to visit this blog.This blog is really so amazing

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Learning To Read Is Not A Race

So much emphasis is put on early literacy these days. Many school districts expect children to be reading by the end (or sometimes even the beginning) of kindergarten. While there is certainly nothing wrong with a child learning to read early, not all kids are developmentally ready to read at age 5, and that's okay. In this post I share several reasons why learning to read isn't a race.



Developmental ReadinessKids all develop at their own pace. We know this when it comes to learning to walk, or climb the jungle gym, or being ready for slumber parties, but it is often over looked when it comes to learning to read. Not all kids are developmentally there at the same age.  

Pushing kids to read before they're ready can cause a lot of frustration and resentment. It can destroy a child's chance to develop a love for reading by turning it into a frustrating chore. 

Reading Isn't The Only Way To Learn New InformationOne of the reasons reading is pushed so early, is to get kid…

Learning About The Human Body Part 1: The Skeletal And Muscular Systems

At the end of each school year, I sit down with my daughter to discuss what topics she most wants to learn about the next year. One of her science topics she picked to study this year was the human body. Instead of ordering a boxed curriculum set, I decided to put together my own human body unit. In this 3 part series I will share some of the activities and resources we used for each of the body systems starting with the skeletal and muscular systems.






The Human Skeletal System


Our skeletons are the frame of our body. They give us structure, without them our bodies would be limp like noodles. They also provide places for muscles to attach so our bodies can move.


Why Does Your Body Need Calcium? Experiment:

This is a simple experiment you can do to explore why calcium is important for our bones.

You will need:

-several clean chicken bones

-vinegar 

-a bowl with a lid or plastic wrap to cover it

Let your child examine a clean chicken bone. Note how hard it is.

Place several clean chicken bones int…

Water Relay Races For Kids

I don't know about your kids, but mine absolutely love games involving water and getting wet in the summer time.
In this post I will share 5 of our favorite water relay races to play with friends. These are perfect for birthday parties, homeschool get togethers, and other group events.



Sponge Relay:
For this relay you will need:
-2 teams of several kids each
-2 large sponges
-4 small buckets or containers of some sort
Divide your participants into 2 teams and have each team line up single file at a predetermined starting place. 
Hand out a sponge to the first participant in each line. Set a bucket of water by each team. Set an empty bucket about 20 ft away from each team. 
The two empty buckets should be the same size and should have a "fill line" marked half way up.
On a count of 3 (or ready set go) the first participant in each line should dip their sponge in the bucket of water, run to the empty bucket, squeeze the water from their sponge, then run back, hand off the sponge to…

40 Things To Look At Under A Microscope

Microscopes are an awesome scientific instrument that all kids should get a chance to learn how to use. There are so many everyday things that look amazing under a microscope. Under a microscope you can see that many objects that appear solid are actually made up of tiny parts, and that even plants and animals are made of tiny intricate parts. The microscopic world is amazing! In this post I share 40 things to try looking at, up close, under a microscope.



40 Things To Look At Under A Microscope:
1. A feather 




2. Soil

3. An insect wing

4. A human hair

5. An animal hair

6. Pond water

7. Diatomacious earth-  diatomacious earth looks SO cool magnified!

8. Cheek swab

9. An insect leg

10. A drop of blood

11. Mold

12. Sand




13. A shaving from a chicken bone- try both a piece of hard bone from the outside and some spongy bone from inside a bone.

14. Kombucha

15. Snake or lizard skin after they shed 

16. A flower petal

17. A sliver of wood

18. Sugar

19. Salt- try different types

20. Thread

21. Saliva

22. A spider web