Cascadian Farm Organic | Our Farm | Farm Blog | DIY Composting
DIY: Kids See-Through Compost
Jennie Lyon

Kids love to be involved in the Earth friendly decisions that you are making at home. My son is currently very interested in the process of decomposition. I thought that creating a see through composter would be the perfect way to feed his interest, while learning the real way that composting works.

With Earth Day right around the corner, my see through composter would be the perfect project to help you teach your children the importance of composting.  Since this composter is see through,  it makes it easy for your child to see the different levels of decomposition. A composter is an excellent way for children to see what happens to different organic and non organic material once they are placed in a compost bin.

What you will need:

  • A large clear plastic container. (We used an organic animal crackers container, but you can use any style plastic container.)
  • Dirt
  • Grass or Straw
  • Different colors and types of plastic.(We used a bread bag and a plastic grocery bags.)
  • Coffee grounds.
  • Sawdust or pellets. 
  • Old leaves or plant debris.
  • Shredded newspaper or regular paper.
  • Fruit and veggie scraps.

How to get started:

1. Give your child a notebook that they can chronicle their composting experiment in. Have them record the date the composter was built, the amount of dirt, plastic, plant material, sawdust, coffee grounds, grass, shredded newspaper and fruit and veggie scraps that they added to it.

 2. Place a 1/2 inch layer of dirt on the bottom of the container. Then layer 2 inches of plastic bags around the sides, leaving the center open to the dirt. (The plastic bags are added to show your child that not all material will decompose.) Add more dirt, sawdust, coffee grounds, old leaves or plant debris, grass, and shredded newspaper. Then add the fruit and veggie scraps to the very top.

3. Add a small amount of water, just enough to make the mixture moist. Put the lid back on and mix up all of the ingredients by shaking the container. Then mark the dirt layer, plastic layer and compost layer with a permanent marker.

4. Remove the lid and sit your composter is a sunny spot, such as your patio or a south facing windowsill. Remind your child to shake the composter (with the lid on) every few days to help with the decomposition. The layers will begin to break down (compost) usually within 4 weeks.

5. Each week have your child monitor and record the progress of the material inside their composter. Help them find the answers to their questions such as; How much has the compostable material broken down? Has the plastic layer changed at all? Do I need to add more moisture to the mixture? What can the compost that I am creating be used for? How is composting good for the environment?