Composting 101: Making Composting Understandable For Kids [A Complete Guide]
Composting refers to the natural process of decomposition and recycling of organic elements, such as grass, into an enriched soil amendment, and the soil amendment is called compost. It’s indeed a fun practice that anyone can enjoy, including kids. Composting at home is very interesting for people of different age groups.
It is not only customizable for the environment but also a fun science project that can teach your children about biology, recycling, life cycles, and conservation. Your kids can learn how to complete life cycles as well.Our article on composting 101 guides for Kids will cover all aspects of composting and will also guide you through the steps you need to take to make composting with your kids and what you need to consider. Keep reading!!
What Do Kids Learn Through Composting?
There are many things your kids can learn in composting. It will enhance their knowledge of science and biology. Composting is a fun outdoor activity associated with nature that can bring great enjoyment to all the members of the family gathering together.
This practice will get your kids engaged in a good gardening activity with a touch of nature. In this section of the article composting 101 guides for Kids, we describe some of the lessons that your kids can learn through composting activities.
A. Kids Learn About Environmental Awareness
Composting creates awareness about the environment in the minds of kids. It is indeed a unique technique to teach your kids about environmental awareness and how to conserve the environment and reduce waste.
After gaining experience in composting, kids realize that they can contribute to the development of the environment. With composting, children are introduced to the three concepts of the environment – reusing, recycling, and reducing.
B. Kids Learn Science
Composting plays a vital role in learning science for kids. Composting is simple processing that provides an excellent introduction to science, including biology, physics, and chemistry. When children put their organic items in the compost pile, they become concerned about what happens next.
By observing the natural process of breaking down and recycling organic matter, children are learning the fundamental steps of the scientific process. In addition, children are introduced to nitrogen material and carbon material.
C. Teaches Kids Patience
Patience is a great intrinsic virtue that every person should have. Involving your children in making compost will develop patience in them. They learn patience through composting practice. In composting, it is critical to recognize that the breakdown process can take a long time.
While waiting for the material to decompose, children must learn to be patient. The anticipation j
Basics Of Composting
A. What Is Composting?
Composting is a natural biological process that turns organic matter such as food waste, grass, and leaves into dark brown soil. Compost is an organic fertilizer that aids in the growth of your garden and lawn. Various microorganisms, such as insects, fungi, and bacteria, break down organic solid waste into simpler compounds during the composting process.
Beneficial microbes generate heat as they degrade organic waste, and therefore, compost piles are often hot and even steamy in cold weather. A compost pile can reach temperatures of 50 to 65 degrees celsius under ideal conditions.
B. What Is Compost?
Compost is a great organic fertilizer to use for the growth of your houseplants. Compost can be used as a fertilizer in the garden in different forms. You can add compost to the soil for plant growth and sprinkle compost tea on your plants. Compost looks black because it is healthy and nutrient-rich soil. Compost humus is sometimes called “black gold.”
C. What Is Compostable?
All organic materials are compostable, However, this does not imply that they must be grown organically in order to be composted. This implies that it must be organic rather than inorganic materials. Some specific organic materials should not be used in compost.
For example, large wood cuttings and branches are excluded from compost. Similarly, unbleached paper is not added to the compost. Although these materials are compostable, they take maximum time to break down, so it is recommended not to keep them in your compost bin at home.
D. Why Composting?
There are several reasons that justify the practice of composting. For example, the practice of decomposing saves natural resources as well as dollars. Composting decreases human influences on nature and improves soil fertility. While setting up your composting system can take some time, the returns will be well worth it.
After a few months, you’ll receive a complimentary organic fertilizer to keep the plants fresh and beautiful. The strong reason for the composting practice is that the organic material in our waste is unable to be breathed in when it is disposed of in landfills.
When waste material decomposes, methane gas is released, which contributes to climate change. Conversely, if you consider composting the waste at home, it will decompose aerobically, forming very little methane. Greenery benefits from this.
Backyard Composting At Home
If you want to make compost at home, you first need to learn how to compost your food scraps and other compostable materials with the easy home composting process. Our composting 101 guide for kids will help you with the complete composting process from first to last.
Once you learn how to make compost, you can experience the great joy that will encourage you to indulge in this practice further. Composting is a good habit that you can teach to all family members. If possible, include the practice of composting in your daily routine.
You can mix your finished compost into your yard or garden. This will help your plants grow and do better. Furthermore, the organic materials in compost aid the soil in holding water as well as nutrients, which benefits your houseplants.
A. What To Use To Make Compost?
Making healthy compost requires certain ingredients, such as brown material, water, green material, and air. You can combine the brown and green stuff listed below to make compost. It is specifically recommended to use nitrogen and carbon in a ratio of three parts carbon and one part nitrogen. You can experiment with your kids once at home.
1. Browns Materials 2-3 Parts –
Brown materials have a higher carbon content and are typically dry as well as bulky. This is because they don’t hold enough moisture and don’t decompose quickly without green compost elements.
The following are carbon-rich compostable components:
- Corn and sunflower stalks, dried potato, dried legume plants, and tomato vines
- Tea bags
- Shredded newspaper
- Pruning and branches from hedges
- Needles of pine
- Chopped up brush
- Unbleached paper
- Coffee grounds and unbleached coffee filters
2. Greens Materials 1 Part:
Greens have a high nitrogen content and are typically damp and heavy. If you do not balance them out with good brown materials, they decay rapidly and can stink.
The following are nitrogen-rich compostable components:
- Fresh grass clippings
- Aquarium water, plants, and algae.
- Dead houseplants
- All fruit spoils
- Green garden debris, such as spent pansies and deadheaded flowers
- Chicken manure
- Pruning’s, cuttings
- Vegetative kitchen scraps
- Cow, chicken, rabbit, and horse manure
Composting is impossible by simply layering the brown and green materials in the compost pile. It is essential that air should be supplied by rotating the compost through the rolling compost. Organisms serve to break down the organic matter, resulting in the heating of the compost pile.
Moisture supports the ideal environment for bacteria to break down the substance. So, water the compost pile after adding the green and brown materials and thoroughly mixing it. You’ll only need enough water to keep the compost moist, avoiding getting wet.
5. Essential Compost Addition To Speed Up Composting:
Beneficial bacteria, worms, and fungus in some materials can speed up the breakdown process. In order to make healthy compost, use just a small quantity of one of the following ingredients,
- Healthy garden soil
- Well-rotted manure
- Mushroom manure
- Compost accelerator
B. What Ingredients Should You Not Use?
In general, practically any organic material can be composted, but it must have previously been alive. All organic matter, on the other hand, isn’t always beneficial. A few elements do not break down effectively and will slow down your compost pile’s efficiency. The following are such materials that you should avoid using in a compost pile.
- Diseased plants
- Gypsum board scraps
- Dog, cat, and reptile manures
- Materials from the side of the road, such as leaves
- Inorganic Materials
- Coal Ash
- Colored Paper
- Synthetic Chemicals
- Inorganic Materials
- Wood ash
- Meat, bones, fats, dairy, and fish
- Weed seeds
C. Composting Materials: Green VS. Brown
Two categories of composting materials are green materials and brown materials. Both materials have some unique features. We are presenting a list of both green and brown composting materials.
1. Green Materials:
Green materials usually are green and moist. They are rich in nitrogen. Some examples of green materials are,
- Coffee grounds and tea bags
- Plant trimmings
- Fruit and vegetable scraps
- Animal Manure
2. Brown Materials:
Brown materials are generally dry, and they are brown. Brown materials are rich in carbon. Following are some examples of brown materials,
- Wood chips
- Paper products include paper plates, newspapers, tea bags, coffee filters, etc.
Getting Started Composting For Kids
The entire composting process is straightforward, giving you the best experience with your kids.
However, it is not as easy as simply throwing your kitchen or garden scraps in the compost pile and looking at them after a long time. Here we are providing a step-by-step guide on how to start composting for kids to make the whole process of composting with your kids hassle-free.
Step 1: Compost Bin
Bins are a very useful item in the composting process. Conserving heat and preventing animals from coming into contact with compost in a bin play a great role. You have two options regarding bin collection – make your compost bin or purchase one from a garden store. Moreover, you have the chance to store organic material in many different types of bins. The size and type of your bins will be determined based on how much organic waste you and your family generate.
Step 2: Composter Location
It’s critical to select the finest site for composting. So, pick a location that is both sunny and well-drained. Most significantly, you should choose a location that is accessible all year. To guarantee that beneficial organisms can get into the compost, place the container on loose soil rather than paving.
Step 3: Making Excellent Compost
You must collect the compostable materials listed above to make excellent compost. You should chop materials into small pieces as the smallest pieces are better for composting. When they are full, empty the materials into the compost bin.
Where To Start?
Whenever you add any food waste, don’t forget to top it with a layer of brown materials. If you do not add carbon materials, your compost will be wet and smell like rotten eggs or garbage. Always use a layer of brown materials on the peak of any food waste. Keep in mind that your compost will be moist unless you add carbon materials, leaving a rotten egg-like odor.
Step 4: Use Water
Although each layer is sprayed with water to wet the organic materials, you should wet each layer as you assemble it. Repeat the layers until the bin is full.
Step 5: Maintenance Compost Bin
As your compost bin or can fills with materials, you should mix and turn the bin every week. This will help in the process of decomposition of the materials, and its odor will end. The more you turn the compost pile, the quicker you’ll be composting.
Step 6: Your Compost is Ready
In general, three to twelve months are required to make excellent compost. The timing depends on the materials and processes employed. Finished compost is dark in color and scaly in texture, mostly found in broken, foul-smelling soils. To remove the compost needs to be removed from the trap door of your unit. Also, remove unfinished materials and return them to the compost bin, so they can continue to decompose.
Step 7: You Can Use Your Compost
Your compost is ready, and you can use the compost ready for:
- Use compost as a top dressing for flower beds
- Use for houseplants growth.
- It can be spread on your lawn several times a year.
- Compost can be mixed in with the garden soil.
Apart from this, you can use compost tea. Compost tea is rich in nutrients that can be used to improvement of the plants for watering your plants and garden. To make compost tea, fill an old pillow with 1 liter of compost, tie it up, and leave the bag to “stack” in a garbage can filled with water overnight.
Key Benefits of Composting
Compositing offers us a number of benefits which you can realize by reading the article till this part. Let’s see the benefits.
- It is necessary to inform our kids about the life cycle and teach them to complete it, which we have mentioned somewhere in the article composting 101 guide for kids. Our food sources depend on the cycle of life to a great extent. So, by composting activities, your kids can gain enough knowledge about it.
- Humans, as well as animals, are jointly responsible for assisting the breakdown of foods for plants. Completing this cycle contributes to the survival of humankind on this beautiful planet, earth. This is another significant benefit of composting.
- Chemical fertilizers are used less due to composting.
- Composting improves the quality of your soil by holding moisture and suppressing plant diseases and pests.
- Composting can help you save approximately 500 pounds of organic matter annually by removing it from your garbage.
- Composting promotes the growth of useful bacteria and fungi that decompose organic materials to produce a nutrient-rich material called humus.
Composting And Microbes
Microbes play a great role in composting. They are the driving force behind transforming your kitchen garbage into so-called gold fertilizer. In order to make the composting concept easily intelligible for children, it is necessary to explain to them that microbes should be kept happy.
Microbes require the components listed underneath to degrade organic waste, according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
- Oxygen: Microbes require oxygen to survive, which is completed by turning the compost pile.
- Adequate Temperature: This is achieved by ensuring that bacteria are kept at their comfortable temperature. The action of microbes can be slowed down if the temperature is too low.
- Moisture: This can be achieved by letting natural rainwater fall on your compost pile or watering it. Water is as important to microorganisms as to other living things.
- Smaller pieces: Smaller pieces can be obtained by grinding and chipping. Microorganisms may more easily chew and break down organic material into smaller pieces.
A. Materials You Need For Composting
- Empty 2-liter bottle
- Food Scraps
- Dirt from outside
- Pieces of paper
- Old lid
- Spray bottle
- Plant scraps
B. How To Make Compost In A Bottle: Step-By-Step Instructions
- Remove the bottle’s top and poke a few small holes in the bottom
- Underneath the bottle, place the lid or plate.
- Fill the bottle halfway with dirt.
- After that, put some pieces of paper.
- After that, throw in some plant and food scraps.
- Using water, spritz.
- Carry on in this manner until the bottle is full
- Placing the bottle in the sun is a good idea. Cover the bottle with a kitchen towel when it is not in use. It shut with duct tape.
- Every few days, give the bottle a good shake.
- Have your kids keep track of what occurs over time
C. Subjects That Tie Into Composting
D. Solutions To The Problems Arising In Composting
The outdoor fire pits can be used as the focal point of a peaceful evening or as a gathering place for a quiet night ceremony. However, these fire pits can become a danger to your pets. To keep pets safe, pet owners should take the following precautions,
- Keep the fire pit under control
- Set limits for your pet
- Don’t leave your dogs alone
- Extinguish the fire fully after your program is over
What Should You Do If Your Compost Gets Soggy?
If these problems arise with your compost, don’t worry. Simply put a handful of shredded paper or crispy leaves in your compost can. These objects will help your bin absorb moisture like a sponge while providing extra carbon.
What Should You Do If You See Fuzzy White Mildew On Your Compost?
If ever such a problem comes, don’t panic. You don’t need to throw out your compost immediately, as it doesn’t threaten your health. The speckled organic matter with some fudge will still be accepted at the collection place. However, if you wish to avoid repeating this problem, place the compost in the freezer.
The Benefits Of Teaching Your Family To Compost
Composting activities with your children and other family members provides a variety of mental and physical benefits. Composting is also beneficial to the environment as a whole. The following are some of the advantages of educating your family to compost,
A. Encourages A Love Of The Outdoors
Composting helps your kids acquire elementary notions about nature and conservation. So, encourage your kids to spend more time outside and get involved with them yourself. Your children will also enjoy watching natural processes such as the transformation of organic matter into the soil. This will inculcate a sense of love and care for the land in their mind.
Research says that it is important for kids to spend some time outdoors in playing activities. Being connected to nature helps in the development of children. Nature provides a different kind of stimulation for mental development, self-confidence, and independence. Also, it helps in teaching a responsible mindset to children.
B. Food Waste is Reduced
It has been observed that many children are badly finicky eaters. Consequently, enough food is wasted. So, in this case, composting is a measure to save food. Composting aids in cleaning the house by reducing waste. Trash accumulated in your trash bin, such as fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, spent Tea bags, egg shells, plant trimmings, and so on, are all compostable materials.
C. Encourages Sustainability
Talk to your kids about why your family composts and how important composting is to protect the environment. Providing enough information about composting to kids is also a part of composting.
Composting is an important consideration in a more sustainable home. Even without the availability of a big backyard in your home, you can continue your composting practice at home. A small composting container under the sink can create enough soil to fill a window box or potted plants.
D. Provides Teachable Moments
Composting is a part of teaching. Composting offers an opportunity to turn an ordinary activity into an academic teaching moment. By making compost, children not only learn about the environment and sustainability, but they also learn to sort out and name biodegradable elements. They can also observe how insects eat, break down food, as well as experience the carbon cycle in action.
E. Improves The Soil's Quality
Composting also contributes to making the soil fertile. If you enjoy gardening with your whole family, composting can give you the hope of getting a bountiful harvest next season. Composting fills your soil with nutrients, resulting in your fruits and vegetables growing well. In addition, composting can help your kids understand where their food comes from and how it is produced and grown.
How Can You Compost Cheaply?
If you wish to compost cheaply, this part of our article, composting 101 guide for kids, will be useful. You can avoid going through lengthy procedures. The first step will be to find a suitable location to place your compost bin.
If a shady area is available in your home that is able to partially expose the compost bin to the sun, it will optimize the composter. Then construct a composting bin that the kids can easily access. To prevent extra moisture in the composter, install good water drainage.
You can make your bin, or buy one from the store. Play a game with the kids to make the composting process more enjoyable. It’s necessary. Otherwise, neither you nor your children will find composting entertaining.
Invite your children to compete in collecting organic waste that would otherwise be discarded in landfills and used to make compost. Now, combine all the materials in your bin and begin composting for your soil and houseplants.
A. Teach Your Kids To Identify Compostable Materials
In the composting practice, it is vital to introduce your kids to compostable materials. So, begin teaching your kids what you need for the composting process. Compostable materials include coffee grinds, tree twigs, eggshells, tea bags, fruits, newspapers, vegetable debris, coffee and tea filters, etc., which can be used to compost at home.
B. Introduce Your Kids To Materials That Should Not Be Composted
Introduce your kids to materials that should not be used in composting. So, your next step would be to teach your kids that there are certain ingredients you should not compost. Also, explain why you shouldn’t use these materials in the structure.
Well, the first thing you shouldn’t put in the bin is meat scraps, as these ingredients produce a rotting smell. Additionally, they take longer to decompose than other compostable materials. If composting is arranged outside, all animals will usually be attracted to the terrible smell of the meat.
Likewise, animals, such as raccoons, dogs, rats, and other pests, can be drawn to it. Apart from this, feces from humans and pets should also be avoided in the compost pile. These two have the potential to spread diseases to the garden soil.
Dead plants, for example, should not be added to the compost pile since they spread disease. You should also avoid bones because they do not decompose. Milk, cheese, oil, and fat are other waste items.
C. Make A Plan To Do Composting
Including composting activities in your routine would be a great idea. Make a plan with your kids for each week’s composting practice. Make it a family bonding activity that brings the whole family closer in a positive way. Activities like adding worms to vermicomposting are very exciting for kids. Harvesting finished compost and then spreading it in the garden will educate your kids about composting.
D. Composting Methods: Hot VS. Cold Composting
When a candle or potpourri holder is burning, pets should never be left unattended. Your pet can knock over the candles, which could result in a fire. If a curious pet spills hot water from a potpourri pot, it could get burned.Electric candles and potpourri, which emit fragrance without an open flame, are safer options. Nevertheless, keep the cables for these heaters out of reach of your pets.
Creating a heated or active compost pile is the most efficient approach to producing rich garden compost. It gets its name from the fact that it can achieve internal temperatures of up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71°C). A heated, active compost pile should be kept at a temperature of roughly 140°F (60°C).
Composting in the cold, or dormant, state requires less effort than composting in the hot state. A pile of organic matter is built and decomposed using the same elements as a heated compost pile. The only difference is that you don’t have to turn the pile or keep track of the green-to-brown ratio. Cold compost requires less labor, but decomposition can take a year or more.
E. When Is The Best Time To Compost?
You can plan to make compost at any time of the year or even in the month. Composting is one of the year-round safe activities. However, if a particular month is to be specified for composting, according to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), late summer to early winter is considered the peak time for composting.
F. How To Choose A Good Composting Place?
It’s critical to select the correct place for your composting operation. It’s recommended not to put your compost pile or container somewhere where the temperature and humidity fluctuate. This is because the bacteria that transform trash into compost prefer stable circumstances.
G. What Kind Of Compost Bin Should You Choose?
Composting bins come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, from repurposed wood pallets to little plastic bins. Composting bins with a cubic meter or greater capacity are preferable. If you don’t have much space in your garden, the most basic sort of compost container, a little cardboard box, would suffice.
You may fill it with everything from your kitchen garbage, including fruits and vegetables. When the box is filled, submerge it in soil with its materials and let it rot. You can get healthy compost for your garden after a specified time.
Composting broadens your children’s knowledge of biology and the environment. Composing activities is enjoyable for children because it provides a variety of opportunities for them to experiment. Making compost for kids is easy. Children will also help the environment by composting things that, if left unmanaged, can harm the environment and humans. This composting 101 guide for kids will assist you in easily completing your composting procedure.