Family composting? Yes, children, in particular, learn through hands-on experiences called a play. In the articles on making a lasagna garden with children part 1 & 2, I talked about expanding the experience by adding related activities.
An extended activity not only helps optimize children’s learning but also encourages them to be active learners.
In this article, you’ll find How to enhance a family composting experience.
What you need for a family composting activity
- soft drink tray (or any box of similar height)
- organic materials (Green & Brown materials)
- shovel (if you need)
- bucket (easier to carry materials)
- pen & paper (only if you want the green and brown sign)
How to make a family composting model
Step 1: Find a spot
To begin with, let’s get dressed for the weather. Because it is a fun outdoor activity even in cold weather.
Next, find a flat area to work on like a patio table or even the ground.
Tip: choose a spot based on the children’s height. You want to make sure it is accessible without them having to step on a footstool or a chair.
Step 2: Gather materials
When you find the spot, start gathering the organic materials. You can certainly make this part fun by creating a drama play or turning it into a game. You know your children, so pick one of the methods below and go for it! Or try both!
#1 Cooking style
First, place the tray, and start gathering materials. You can put them into different piles like wood chips, cardboard, kitchen scraps, grass clipping, etc. Once you gather them all, start making layers like adding ingredients to a cooking show.
The children simply become chefs mixing the ingredients for the lasagna garden!
#2 Scavenger hunt-style
Instead of having the green and brown materials all laid out, turn it into a scavenger hunt. For each layer, you can give children the task of finding either green or brown materials.
For instance, the picture above is ‘Green materials’. It is up to the children what they pick and how much they want to include in the lasagna. When they come back with their materials, they can immediately make a layer.
You probably guessed it, repeat until it’s done.
Step 3: Make the layers
Start making the layers by adding browns and greens. For the bottom layer, choose sticks, twigs, wood chips, or peat moss for aeration. Then put a skinny layer of cardboard pieces over on top like a blanket. The next layer is greens, then browns again. Add as much as you want until the last layer, which is your soil, compost manure etc.
Tip: use a piece of cardboard to keep the soil in the tray. See the picture above (right).
Final step: Add some plants to the family composting project
Let’s add some plants to make it real. In my case, I used the tiny carrots from my veggie garden. If you can’t think of anything, dandelions are a good choice since we all have them everywhere!
In addition, you can make paper tags like what you see in the picture. Ask the children to identify each layer as either green or brown, and place the tags on top. It’s a guessing game!
Tip: What we want to show children is the relationship between plants and the compost below. The roots take nutrition from the compost to grow and produce food. Healthy soil = healthy plants = healthy body!
As an Early Childhood Educator, I use props for maximizing children’s learning. In this case, it’s a replica of the lasagna garden. In fact, props facilitate deeper engagement in their learning and stimulate their curiosity.
Surprisingly, their imagination leads to diverse outcomes. That is what I value the most! And I hope you do, too.
When you make one, please send me a picture! I would LOVE to see it!!