Does your little one have an unearthly fascination with creepy crawlies? Often even the most bug-shy kids can tolerate worms – as anyone who’s ever had one dangled in their face after a day in the yard will be able to tell you!The good news is that earthworms are completely harmless, and you can even use them in a way that’s good for you and educational and fun for the rest of the family. We’ve put together a guide that will show you how to make a worm farm with your kids, and teach them a little bit about the world around them at the same time!
How to build a worm farm
You can buy a worm farm kit online or from a garden centre, but chances are you already have everything you need for worm farming in your house and garden. Here’s what you’ll need for your worm farm:
- A container. This can be just about anything, but it should be see-through if you want to be able to see the worms moving around inside – a plastic drinks bottle will work well, or an old piece of Tupperware. It should have holes in the top (for air), holes in the bottom (for drainage) and a cover (to foil any escape attempts).
- Bedding material. Soil from outside is perfect for this – you can layer it with sand or old newspaper for an interesting visual contrast, as you’ll be able to see the worms mixing up the bedding as they burrow! Keep the bedding moist – not too wet, not too dry – for the best results.
- The key ingredient in any worm farm! Your kids will love hunting for these outside (check out this guide to worm charming to show them how). In a pinch, you can also order composting worms online. Don’t worry if your little ones get a bit mucky while they’re hunting for their new friends – your trusty OMO liquid will be on hand to take care of any mud and grass stains!
- Food scraps. Any kept animal needs feeding, and your worms will be no exception. Avoid foods like meat scraps and anything dairy-based – this is more likely to attract maggots than worms! Instead, things like vegetable scraps are a good bet, as well as non-citrus fruit scraps: apple cores, banana peels and the like. Worms will also enjoy used tea leaves and coffee grounds. Remember to keep an eye on the food levels – only top up the food once your worms have got through their last meal, which might take a while (over a day).
Keep your worm farm somewhere dark and sheltered. Worms dry out if they’re exposed to too much light, so make sure that your worm farming takes place under black card or in a dark cupboard.While you make your worm farms, why not share some fun worm facts with your kids? Here’s a few to get you started:
- Worm farming (or vermiculture) was so important in ancient Egypt that Cleopatra outlawed removing earthworms from the country.
- Worms don’t breathe or drink like humans do – they absorb water and oxygen through their skin.
- There are about 34,000 different worm species on the planet.
You can find more worm facts for the whole family to entertain your little ones online. Why not pick out your favourites and share them?