Earth day is tomorrow, April 22! Celebrate by starting a compost pile with your littles! I’m all about reducing waste and using what you’ve got. I mean I started a blog and wrote a book called Creating Really Awesome Free Things after all! Turning what would be wasted wood floor samples into jewelry organizers is my jam. Andy and I try our best to be conscience of how our actions effect our planet. We use reusable bags (it’s actually the law in Austin), walk and bike as often as possible, recycle as much as we can, I drive a Prius, we buy organic food, conserve water, and we compost. Andy even made us a compost bin out of fence posts we found in a neighbors trash. Needless to say I’m excited to partner with Earthbound Farm to share how we teach Maxwell (and one day Mills) all about composting!
The low down on composting for kids:
1. Teach: What is composting? Composting is how the Earth recycles! In nature, leaves fall on the forest floor, and after time the leaves and other plant debris break down and are recycled into plant food. Here are the 6 ingredients needed to make compost: 1) Green stuff (nitrogen) 2) Brown Stuff (carbon) 3) Air (oxygen) 4)Water (moisture) 5) Bugs (Micro Organisms) 6) Heat
2. Explore: Take a little field trip outside and observe the plant decay in your yard or at the park. If you have any thick bushes near by, take a peek behind or under the bushes and you might just find decomposition in action. Or, if possible, visit a farm or spot that you know already has a compost pile. In Austin, Boggy Creek Farm and Springdale Farm have giant compost piles that kids can investigate. Here’s a scoop of leaves from under our bushes that are in the early stages of decomposing.
3. Build a compost pile: Start small and make it bigger as you and your kiddos feel ready. You don’t need anything special to compost. You can literally start a compost pile in the corner of your backyard or in a large bucket or even an empty cardboard box. A large bucket and cardboard box are not permanent solutions, since they aren’t big/sturdy enough to keep your compost over time, but it is a good way to get started and to show kids composting in action. Andy and I started with a pile in the corner of our yard and graduated to an open air bin made out of recycled fence posts. I’m always amazed that our bin never overflows, and we put a ridiculous amount of stuff in our compost pile.
4. Let your toddler/kids help: Apples and oranges for snack? Perfect! Add the peels and cores to the compost pile! Lint from the dryer? Toss it in! We keep an aluminum bowl next to our sink and toss in fruit and veggie scraps, egg shells, coffee grinds, tea bags, paper towels, and nut shells. We take the compost to the bin once a day. When Max and I are outside, sometimes he fills up his little bucket with leaves and yard trimmings and adds them to the compost pile. We’ve been composting for over 3 years, and the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t really mess it up. Now, there are things you can do to make it decompose faster, like turning your compost or adding water. But, we don’t do anything special and our pile is doing awesome. One thing to note: never add diseased plants, diapers, pet droppings, meat, foil, glass, plastic, or metal.
5. Bugs and worms: Micro organisms are an essential ingredient to your compost pile, but all you need to do is make sure that your compost pile has a little soil in it. There are plenty of creepy crawlers in a your soil, promise. If your compost pile is on the ground, you’re golden. If not, add in a few scoops of soil depending on the size of you pile. Now that our compost pile is mature, Max loves to dig in the pile and hunt for worms and then add them to our garden.
And another fun composting treat, a free printable composting coloring sheet to help you get your compost pile started! And don’t forget to compost the coloring sheet when you’re done! (Printable made for C.R.A.F.T. by Messes to Memories)
I bet you’ll be surprised at the amount of room you will free up in your trash can by composting. Another added benefit… free plant food! I love to use our mulch in potted plants. Composting is a little thing that you and your family can do everyday that will make a big impact on our Earth! Another super simple thing you can do is visit, Everyday Counts and take the quiz. For every quiz taken, Earthbound Farm will plant a tree, how cool is that? And you will receive a coupon for $1 off any Earthbound Farm product at the end of each quiz taken. Save a dollar and plant a tree, it’s a win-win! Happy Earth Day!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Earthbound Farm.