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Children are often visual learners. Hearing the way something works does not have near the emotional impact for them that actually seeing a process take place has. And so, explaining the process of composting with worms can sound a little boring. But what if they could actually watch the process take place?
A see-through worm farm offers the ability for children to visually observe the vermicomposting process. It provides an opportunity for children to learn the basics of worm composting through a fun and interactive study medium. It also allows them to begin to understand how organic material breaks down to become part of the soil.
Made-For-Kids See-Through Worm Composting Kit
Probably the easiest way to get kids started learning about vermicomposting is with a kit made especially for the purpose.
The Educational Insights Now You See It, Now You Don’t—See-Through Compost Container (link to Amazon) offers an intriguing solution to teaching children the principles of vermicomposting. Recommended for ages 4 and older, the compost container provides three separate aerated compartments so that children can test and observe the decomposition of different types of organic material in a side by side comparison.
Each compartment includes a thermometer so that the temperature can be monitored throughout the composting process. The system also has magnification spots on the sides of the glass to enhance the visibility in those areas.
This looks to be a really fun and interactive way for young children to learn and understand the fundamentals of vermicomposting.
Of course, you’ll need some worms but those can be obtained locally or purchased through Amazon. Click here to see options and prices for live red wiggler worms.
Here’s a short video of a teacher showing his students how this system works. As you can see, it’s a pretty simple project to set up.
Build Your Own See-Through Worm Farm
Of course, if you didn’t want to buy a premade system, you could always build your own. Pinterest is filled with DIY worm bin solutions. A simple modification of using a clear container instead of a solid-colored one will provide at least some level of ability to observe the decomposition process. The only challenge here is that if the bin is large the majority of the decomposition will take place away from the walls where it can’t be seen.
Avoiding Light Sources For A Worm Bin
Since worms are naturally adverse to light, you will want to keep your see-through worm bin in a dark room or cover it with a blanket or something during the day. Obviously, don’t cover all of the air holes. I’ve seen some people who use clear containers for their worm composting cover their bins with weed guard fabric (link to Amazon). This is actually pretty smart because the material is dark and will prevent light from getting through but it is also breathable. It has tiny perforations to allow air to move through it.
However you choose to approach it, the point is to be mindful of the worm’s desire for darkness. Worms don’t have eyes but they do have the ability to sense light (source). A great idea for children is to keep their worm farm in a closet and only turn on the light when they are observing. There is nothing wrong with a little light when they want to watch, you just don’t want to leave them in bright light all of the time.
Why Teach Children Vermicomposting?
Giving kids the opportunity to learn and understand vermicomposting provides an ability to see and really understand the concept of recycling at the most fundamental organic level (source). A worm bin is a contained eco-system all it’s own and children can observe and truly understand the organic breakdown and composting process by watching it take place in a way that no textbook can provide.
A see-through worm farm like the Educational Insights Compost Container (link to Amazon) offers a simple solution to teaching children the principles of worm composting in an all-in-one kit that is designed with a fun style and child’s fascination in mind. It doesn’t look or feel boring. It doesn’t look like work. It looks fun and that’s an important aspect of capturing a child’s interest.
Regardless of how you choose to do it, finding a way to engage children in the fascination and ecological benefits of vermicomposting is a great way to pass on your passion. They can learn the principles of composting, the advantages of worms in the composting process, and how organic material can be recycled through the ecology of nature. This is a great teaching tool and a way to share your enthusiasm for worm composting.
Be sure to read our other articles on composting to learn great ways of creating your own nutrient-rich organic matter for lawns, gardens, and trees.