Composting with kids feeds your garden and your soul
07 June, 2023
Composting your food scraps has so many benefits – for the environment, your garden and your wellbeing! And, it’s actually pretty simple. So go grab your food scraps and let’s get started!
Composting is a great way to help kids feel connected to nature and learn about how everything is interconnected. It’s an activity the whole family can get involved in together and it has so many benefits.
What is composting?
Composting is simply collecting kitchen food scraps and helping them to break down into rich organic fertiliser that can be added to the garden to help plants grow.
Why should kids try composting?
There are so many reasons why composting is a great experience for kids and a worthwhile activity for families:
- Composting diverts food scraps from household waste that would otherwise create greenhouse gas emissions as they rot at the dump. It’s estimated families that compost divert about 150kg of food scraps each year!
- It creates rich natural fertiliser for the garden that feeds plants and helps them to grow bigger and stronger. It also helps the soil to retain moisture.
- Composting encourages families to spend time outdoors; taking the compost out and then, once it’s matured, spreading it on the garden. Mmm, fresh air! And that sunshine feels so good! Time spent outside in nature is a proven mood booster. And once you’re outside, why not kick a ball or explore the garden?
- Composting teaches kids about science and lifecycles. Children can experiment with different compost mixes and discover for themselves what works best and then see first-hand the positive impacts compost has on the garden.
What’s the key to making compost work?
Composting is a bit like cooking – you’ve got to have the right ingredients to make it work. While all food scraps will eventually break down, it’s easiest to just stick to fruit and veggie scraps and avoid meat and dairy that can be smelly and attract pests.
It’s essential to make sure the mix is not too wet or dry. When you add food scraps to your compost, be sure to top it with dry material such as shredded cardboard (egg cartons are perfect), paper, dry leaves or even human or pet hair.
How to get started composting?
There are lots of different ways to compost and how much space you have will influence what works best for your family. If you have plenty of room, you might choose to keep it as simple as creating a pile of scraps on the ground, covered with dry material, although this method can attract insects and critters.
Hardware stores have a whole range of compost turning barrels and bins, including in-ground bins that use worms to help break down food scraps more quickly. If you live in an apartment, there are even small compost bins designed to be kept on your kitchen counter. These work best with a purchased additive to help the contents break down.
Many local councils offer rebates to encourage families to take up composting, so it’s worth checking with yours. You may also like to consider making your own worm farm. We’ve got worm farms at many of our Edge Early Learning centres and the kids love them!