My favorite way to teach people about kids about what goes in the compost bin includes a recipe for making edible compost. After we talk about what goes in the bin, we ‘review’ by making edible compost. There are several sources online for different recipes, but I thought I would share what I have used in the past.
First we talk about the bin — everyone grabs a cup to use for their ‘bin’.
Next we talk about starting the bin with a little bit of soil. Add crushed Oreos or Coco Pebbles for soil starter.
Then we talk about what to add to the bin. First we add brown things. I ask the kids to list some ideas of what would count as brown stuff. When the kids come up with twigs we add small pretzel sticks and when the kids say dead leaves we add Wheaties or Corn Flakes.
Next we talk about green things. I ask the kids to list some things that would be considered green. We add green colored coconut for grass clippings and dried fruit bits for food scraps. It may be appropriate to talk about the need for more browns than greens at this point, depending on the age of the kids.
Then we talk about needing air for the compost and we stir or shake the cups up to mix everything together. I also add that we are not going to add water to our mix because although it is necessary for real compost, it probably wouldn’t taste very good with our recipe. I tell the kids that when we are all done they can take turns getting a drink from the water fountain.
Last but not least, we talk about the critters that come to your bin and we add a few gummy worms.
I have found that it works best if the kids are sitting in small groups and if all of the items are off to the side and spread out on plates or in bowls. We talk about an aspect of compost and then a representative of each group comes forward to get the item for their group. 4 to 6 kids per group usually works well. Also, when a new item comes around I tell the kids how much to take (“Add 1 spoonful of coconut to your bin”) and then if there is any left in their group’s container, kids can take more. This is especially key when it comes to the gummy worms 🙂
I would love to hear from you if you use this activity or if you have done it in the past. What substitutions have you made? Do you have any additional tips or tricks?