Opening a Can of Worm (Farm)
Hands-on nature activities are a big thing at our house – the messier, the better. It’s my opinion that allowing a child to explore the world around them with all 5 of his/her God-given senses will create a lifelong curiosity and appetite for learning. One such activity that we tried recently was making a worm farm. It’s easy to do, and is fun for all ages!
All you need is a container of some sort, preferably clear. (We re-used an old soda bottle.) Toss in some dirt along with a few compost items (rotting leaves, banana peel, coffee grounds, etc), and you are ready to add your worms!
1. Search after a rain, when the soil is moist for digging.
2. Large rocks and decaying logs make great places to hide under, and require less digging to discover (although the digging IS part of the fun!)
We spent almost an hour digging around in the garden, only to come up with 3 small earthworms (along with a weird grub that Big C also wanted to keep.) Ironically the next day we kicked over a log only to discover about a dozen of them – all fat, round, and wiggly! One of them was so big that I thought it was a very small snake!
1. Make a cover for your container out of dark paper. (We cut up a paper grocery bag.) Slip the cover on when you are not observing. The darkness will encourage the worms to tunnel all the way out to the sides of the container.
2. A cookie sheet makes a great tray for observation.
When you’re done observing your worms, release them in your garden, or if you have one, your compost bin. (See this post for why you should compost with your kids.) If you kinda dig having the worms around, you can provide a more permanent structure for them using these simple instructions. In return, they’ll provide you with fresh compost every 6 months to a year!
For preschoolers and early readers, check out “Diary of a Worm,” by Doreen Cronin, to add a literacy component to your experiment!
Anyone else ever have fun with worms?