Toddler School

Building our Compost Bin {Toddler School}

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Taking on the Composting adventure with Toddlers can be a daunting feat. It certainly helps to do your research before you get started. In my search for resources before planning the Toddler School Unit on gardening and composting I {of course} dove into the depths of Pinterest. I knew I wanted our compost bin to be clear so the boys could see into it, small enough for me to lift and shift into the sun {we’re under a thicket of trees where we live} and only big enough for our kitchen scraps.

Building our Compost Bin for Toddlers. Gardening with kids. DIY Kitchen Scrap Compost BinSo the search began for other gardeners who had success with this style of compost bin, and with toddlers. Did it even exist? Was I crazy for thinking this could be done on such a small scale? Nope. It turns out many people build this tiny “kitchen scrap” size composting system!

I read through many, many useful, educational and resourceful blog posts to glean out all of my information. My top posts came from Kara Carreero on Composting with Kids, Spark People on A Beginner’s Guide to Composting, Rhythm of Play on Composting with Kids: Closing the Circle {whom I actually follow her blog!}

If you want to know more about what composting is, its benefits and how to make bigger bins I highly recommend you visit them and review their resources. I am not about to reinvent any wheels and write a big post about why you should compost. Many people {like them above} have already done a fantastic job of that!

This post {and series} is about our adventure through the composting process. We’re already convinced it is a good idea. If you are too… tag along!

Today we’re building our Compost Bin

Of course, everything I do, even organizing rotting, decaying, organic material into a plastic tub, has to be done cute. I bought a Hefty tub at Target that was clear and had a dark lid. I decided a dark lid {as opposed to white} would help with the heat lost from the clear sides. We’ll see if that actually balances out…

Building our Compost Bin for Toddlers. Gardening with kids. DIY Kitchen Scrap Compost Bin. How to make a Compost Bin
 

Drill Holes! It is very important to ventilate your bin. I drilled holes on the bottom and the sides, and even eventually the lid. Air needs to circulate. It was also mentioned in one article that your dirt needs to touch THE ground so that bugs and worms can integrate themselves into your pile.

I used my Cricut {which I use for everything} to cut some vinyl letters and stick them on the bin. You can do this with regular stickers if you want. I made mine big because I wanted Cash to recognize the letters.

Building our Compost Bin for Toddlers. Gardening with kids. DIY Kitchen Scrap Compost Bin. How to make a Compost Bin

Now here is a crucial {I think} part. Among many of the articles I read a SCREEN of sorts to sift the debris and filter out the large pieces is highly recommended. Well I didn’t want to build a screen.  I’m going low-tech here. So I carried my Hefty Tub around Target to the closet organizing aisle and picked up a closet shoe rack.

Building our Compost Bin for Toddlers. Gardening with kids. DIY Kitchen Scrap Compost Bin. How to make a Compost Bin

Wouldn’t you know it? It fit upside down EXACTLY in my tub! The legs of it hung perfectly on the tub indentions and suspended the “screen” at about 50% {which we’ll get to later} How convenient is that! I had big plans to rig up cookie cooling racks from the Dollar Tree and some twine to pull it up, but what if the twine decayed?… Problem solved! Truly could not have been more simple! The dimensions were perfect!

Building our Compost Bin for Toddlers. Gardening with kids. DIY Kitchen Scrap Compost Bin. How to make a Compost Bin

Filling the Bin

Okay, now throughout everything I read about actually putting things into your bin, here are the main points I gleaned from everyone in a nutshell {which you can compost}

Math Step 1: The magic percentage that repeated was 60% Browns and 40% Greens {some more convoluted than others} among all of the rot pile building scholars. HERE is a fantastic article about Why Compost Piles Fail. I read a lot about balancing Carbon and Nitrogen ratios too… I won’t make your head spin with those… bottom line = 60% Browns and 40% Greens… well that was math Part 1

Math Step 2: In another post I read, it insisted that our bin only be 50% full for air circulation. That drops our ratio down to 30% Browns, 20% Greens… try to stay with me. I start rounding up and down here… this is Toddler School after all…

We’re going to start saying PARTS. 3 Parts Browns and 2 Parts Greens

I draw lines on my bin {because I want my damn Gold Star and I want to get it right}  I draw us lines for 10 through 50 percentage with my handy ruler.

Building our Compost Bin for Toddlers. Gardening with kids. DIY Kitchen Scrap Compost Bin. How to make a Compost BinBuilding our Compost Bin for Toddlers. Gardening with kids. DIY Kitchen Scrap Compost Bin. How to make a Compost Bin
 

Math Step 3: Part 3 of the ratio equation is that when you’re filling your bin, you are supposed to layer your “parts” like a sandwich with dirt. So, with that in mind I now know that ONE of my 3 Brown Parts is actually going to be spread out between each other part…. Boy this is getting confusing! But not really…

Building our Compost Bin for Toddlers. Gardening with kids. DIY Kitchen Scrap Compost Bin. How to make a Compost Bin

We’re doing this with Toddlers, and we’re playing in the dirt! End of complication.

My bin is made, our percentages are marked. We’ll let the boys get super dirty and have a lot of fun filling our bin next! I hope I simplified a LOT of information for you. It really sounds more complicated than it is. Just remember, the kids are going to LOVE it even if it doesn’t work!… There’s always next year!

We are done with our bin and ready with our 1 Part Brown of Organic Potting Soil to sandwich in with the boys after nap time! Catch us later!

Building our Compost Bin for Toddlers. Gardening with kids. DIY Kitchen Scrap Compost Bin. How to make a Compost Bin
Link Back to the Gardening Unit’s Main Post to start from the beginning!

 

Learn More about Toddler School and past Lessons/Units HERE


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