A Kid-Friendly Garden Project

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Whether you are trying to get your kids outside more often, have a child who loves science, or want to start planting in your yard, this compost garden project is perfect for your family.

What is composting?

Composting is a chemical process that ultimately creates nutrient-rich soil. The end results can provide your family with nutrient-rich soil for your flower beds, house plants, or gardening projects.

Why should you start a compost with your kids?

Starting a compost bin is a great hands-on experience to teach your kids the importance of how to reduce, reuse, and recycle in order to decrease waste in landfills. There are all types of cool online videos that can teach your kids about how to keep trash from the landfill, but once they get involved, composting will make your family even more passionate about going green. Starting a compost project at your home also helps to teach your children valuable science concepts. If you have any bug lovers in the house, they will love to see the importance of bugs in breaking the compost down. Once you get your kids excited about composting, have them take responsibility for the project so they can take ownership of it. This is also a great way to keep your kids eating their vegetables. Before heading off to the grocery store, you can talk to your kids about whether the compost needs more brown or green foods. This will help you to plan upcoming recipes around your composting needs.

Getting Started Composting

The more involved you can get your children, the more effective the project will be. As with all children’s projects, it is important to keep it simple! Begin discussing with your kids what can and cannot go into your compost pile. You might even create a poster to serve as a point of reference for everyone in the house. You can also feature on the poster the recipe for successful compost: greens, browns, water, and air (more on this below). This will be how you want to layer the materials for your compost once you get started.

Be sure to place your compost in the right spot in your yard. Some tips to keep in mind: place the compost away from any wood fences and large trees, and make sure the compost has partial shade so the mixture doesn’t dry out quickly.

The compost bin you choose is all about how much fertilizer you will need for upcoming projects. There are plenty of do-it-yourself compost bin projects online ranging in size from small to trash bin sized bins. You also have the option of purchasing a bin from a store or online.

One thing you should also consider: the compost will need to be rotated or stirred every week or so. The size of bin you’ll need will be dictated in part by how much effort you want to put in.

Here is what you should layer in your compost bin:

  • Greens consist of nitrogen-rich materials, such as vegetable kitchen scraps, grass clippings, dead houseplants, and aquarium water.
  • Browns are full of carbon. You need twice or three times as many brown materials as you do green materials. Examples of brown materials are potato skins, leaves, twigs, pine cones, tea bags, eggshells, and coffee grounds.
  • Water is important to the compost pile, too. After adding your brown and green materials, you want to add enough water to keep the materials moist. Explain to your kids that you want to avoid making the compost soggy, or it will take the compost longer to break down. If you do add too much water, cut small pieces of white paper or cardboard to soak up excess water from the compost.
  • Air is important to aerate your compost, so every week or so make sure to rotate or stir the compost to keep the cycle going.

Layer the materials beginning with small twigs and dead plant materials at the bottom, then continue to alternate between the brown and green materials you’ve collected. After each layer has been added, pour a little water to moisten the materials. At the top, add a little bit of garden soil. Whenever you add to your compost, add leaves or brown materials to keep the pile from smelling rotten. Always take plenty of pictures to document the changes in the compost so your children can see the changes in the soil throughout the weeks to come. Once your compost is done, you will have very dark, earthy soil that crumbles in your hands.

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1 thought on “A Kid-Friendly Garden Project”

  1. Gardening with kids is such a great activity not just for family bonding but there is so much great learning happening there too.

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