Little Green Thumbs’ Skill School #2: HUNGRY DIRT😋! Easy, instant compost activities for kids!

Welcome! Thanks for taking a peek in our garden!


Gardening Week, Day Two: HUNGRY DIRT!

Today, we’re serving up some easy, instant compost activities for kids! Let’s feed the dirt, and nourish our kids’ minds, bodies, and souls, all in one go!

SKILL SUPPLY LIST:

  • egg shells
  • shallow metal pan
  • wooden hammer or mallet
  • used loose-leaf tea
  • child-sized tongs or ice tongs
  • small bowl

VOCABULARY TO INTRODUCE:

  • compost
  • fertilize and fertilizer
  • nutrients

~Today’s Skill School at a glance~

Today’s practical activities are like the Kindergarten of composting. So, if your family already does hard-core composting, this post may not be of much use to you. One day our family hopes to truly do the whole compost thing—from collecting all the scraps, to churning it in all it’s rank glory, to shoveling it’s broken down richness onto the garden. But for now, as we still live in suburbia, we are taking baby steps toward sustaining the soil with easy, instant compost . . . no churning or shoveling required. So, whether you are able to commit to true composting, or whether you’re in a similar situation to us and a giant compost heap wouldn’t make you too popular with the neighbors (not to mention Mrs. Home Owner’s Association prez) . . . teaching our kids to “feed” the soil, however we are able, is an incredibly valuable lesson for life.


Dirt Food #1: Let’s get CRACKIN’!

1.) Whip up some omelets and save those shells! I stack our used egg shells inside each other in a single carton for weeks, allowing each set to dry before inserting more used shells. You can accumulate a whole lot of shells in one carton this way.

2.) Allow your kids to crush the shells using a wooden hammer or mallet. You can explain beforehand that touching the shells and then touching the mouth or eyes is probably a bad idea. And I personally like to have our kids wash up afterwards. Alternatively, you could have your kid(s) wear disposable gloves for this activity.

3.) Once all of the shells are cracked (the finer the better, but don’t stress this), your kids can spoon them or use a pair of small tongs to distribute them to the plants. Tell your kids that the dirt is “hungry” and that it is our job to make sure we feed it lots of nutrients to help all our plants grow big and healthy. You can even go so far as to explain the “circle of nutrition” to your kids: nutrient-rich dirt feeds nutrient-dense plants which feeds and grows nutrient-dense kids. In other words, the healthier the dirt, the healthier the carrot, the healthier the one eating that carrot. This is a very exciting concept to a child. And as a former middle school teacher, I can guarantee that even big kids will be intrigued by learning about “hungry” dirt, and are not likely to forget a day spent feeding it.


Dirt Food #2: TEA TIME

Ah, yet another reason to love tea! As if I needed one.

1.) Loose leaf tea, after it has been steeped, can be dumped and left to dry in a shallow bowl or dish to make a super nutritious fertilizer for the entire garden, and it truthfully takes almost no effort. The leaves from every cup of tea I drink go straight to a bowl that I keep by the kettle, and at the end of the week those contents go right to the garden. Granted, not everyone drinks as much tea as I do 😆 so you may not gather quite the pile that I do each week. Coffee grounds also work, if you are more of a coffee drinker . . . but I find them to be a little bit more tricky. They tend to take longer to dry and they can be a bit too acidic for the garden if used in excess. So far I have had no problems in that department with tea so I’m sticking with it for now.

2.) Once you’ve collected a bowl of used tea leaves or coffee grounds and left them out to dry, turn them over to your kid(s) to distribute in the garden with a spoon. Don’t worry about how evenly it gets distributed. It’s just used tea, after all.


The first afternoon I did a “Hungry Dirt Day” with the kids, they happily hammered and hummed and “fed” the dirt for over an hour. During that entire time there was no lost interest, no sibling spats, no requests, no complaints . . . I sat on the porch and sipped a glass of iced tea (hey, the dirt’s not gonna feed itself 😆 )! I can’t guarantee this will happen for you. I can’t guarantee this will happen again for me. Every child is different, and every day in the life of that child is different. Another day could have seen our kids completely disinterested and chasing butterflies. So, you never know. But I truly hope that your kid(s) just LOVE feeding their own “Hungry Dirt” as much as ours haven been! 💚


If you and your kids are ready for “real” composting, I highly recommend this book:


BONUS art activity (just for fun!): HOT ROCKS!

Kids love making a garden extra pretty by displaying their hot rock masterpieces! Click here for more info about making hot rocks with your kiddos!


Tune in tomorrow for Day Three of Gardening Week: 🌿Weed, Water, Watch, and Wonder!🌻!

Thanks so much for reading!

Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~

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