Preschool-aged children love to play with worms (at least my boys do!). You can turn their curiosity with worms into a science project with just a few items from your house and garden. Here is what you’ll need:
- Empty two-liter pop bottle
- Exacto knife
- Small shovel
- Grass clippings
- Kitchen compost (apple peelings, etc.)
Before you let your child loose in the garden, you will need to use the exacto knife to cut off the entire top of the pop bottle.
Help your child create a label for the container that has the child’s name and “worm farm” printed on it. You can make it by hand or on the computer. Tape the label to the front of the container.
Go out to the garden with your child and let he or she shovel a couple of inches of dirt into the plastic container. Pat the dirt down so the next layer of sand won’t filter through. Explain to your child that they need to be careful not to shake or jar the bottle or the sand and dirt will become mixed up.
Add a thin layer of sand, and then continue with a couple of inches of dirt and another thin layer of sand. The top layer should be dirt. Leave an inch or two of space at the top of the bottle.
Next add a few grass clippings on top of the last layer of dirt. The worms will need food, so add a few pieces of fruits or vegetables in with the grass, such as apple or orange peelings.
If you are lucky enough to have worms in your yard, help your child dig for a few worms for his or her worm farm. If you can’t find any, go to your nearest bait shop and buy a small package of night crawlers.
Let your child play with the worms before putting them in the worm farm. Help them make observations about their worms. Check out a book about worms at your local library or search for information online about worms. Talk to your child about how a worm’s job is to eat waste and mix it into our soil to fertilize it.
After your child places a couple of worms into the worm farm, they will be able to see for themselves how worms mix up soil. When the worms dig through the container, they will leave a trail of sand behind them that your child will be able to see mixing into the dirt.
For the most worm activity, place the worm farm in a dark place or tape a piece of paper around the worm farm to keep the light out. Worms do most of their work at night.
Your preschooler will have a lot of fun creating his or her worm farm. From digging in the dirt, to playing with worms… what’s not to like!
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of five. For resources for the Christian family, including parenting, toddler and preschool activities, homeschooling, family traditions, and more, visit Christian-Parent.com.