Building a Portable Compost Bin for Kids
Children need to learn the benefits of composting and building a compost bin that is just for them is a step in the right direction. Teaching recycling vegetable scraps and other materials via composting is a great way for any child to learn about conservation and the environment. The following steps will show you how to build a portable compost bin that the kids can help put together and maintain.
Step 1 - Preparing the Container
The size of the container should be large enough to keep a nice amount of compost in it but small enough to carry around. For this type of compost bin a one gallon container will do nicely.
Wash and clean the bucket thoroughly and make sure it is completely dry before trying to use it.
Turn the plastic container over so the bottom is facing up. Drill three 1/4-inch holes in the bottom of the container.
Step 2 - Filling the Portable Compost Bin
In order to make compost you need two things: vegetation and something to turn it to waste.
Put a layer of old newspapers in the bottom of the container in an even layer. Sprinkle enough water over the newspapers to make them moist but not too wet.
Add a single layer of the following, in this order, to the container: straw, sawdust, and shredded leaves. These three things create a layer for your little composters to live in while they work. It also allows the air to come in from the bottom of the container.
Step 3 - The Workers of Composting
The key ingredient to this type of composting is adding the one ingredient that will actually create the compost and allowing them to stay alive to work.
Add several inches of soil to the container in an even layer. It's best to use soil that is rich in iron and other nutrients. You can find this type of soil at garden supply stores.
Introduce around thirty worms to the container. The worms will do all of the work as long as you feed them a healthy diet of materials like lettuce and other green vegetable scraps. Their excretion will become the compost you will use in the garden.
Step 4 - Storage and Security
Composting is a dirty job but as a sceicne experiment for the kids; or a useful gardening tool for you, it's worth the effort. The smell can attract wild animals which makes how and where you store it important.
Place the lid on top of the compost bin and make sure it is a nice fit. A container with either a lock-tite lid or a screw on lid will work best.
Lay two pieces of wire on a surface to form an "X" the place the container in the center of it. Bring each end of the wire up and over the container then twist them together to keep the lid in place.