Over the last couple of months I have received a few e-mails regarding earthworms for kids and how to get them started without the out lay of setting up a fully functioning earthworm farm.
Seeing as I do not like recommending product I have not actually tried and tested myself, I came across a great little earthworm farm for kids at our local national geographic store. So even though the farm comes with instructions that are pretty straight forward I thought I would do up a little post showing the product and giving you an idea if of what’s involved.
Put out by Wild Science, these worm farms are simple to set up and easy for kids to maintain.
The worm farm include
- The farm itself, which is simple to put together
- Stickers to put on the farm to jazz it up a bit
- Privacy screens which are important in helping the earthworms
survive as they are very sensitive to light
- Tweezers to help handle the worms without nasty accidents
- Water droppers to help add water without over filling and making a mess
- And coloured sand which will help children see how the earthworm moves soil around
Setting Up The Earthworms Farm
First you need to place the stickers in their appropriate location to add that little bit extra to the overall appearance of the worm farm.
Kids can pretty much help with most of the set up of the farm but I would recommend an adult putting the stickers on as some are quite small and fiddly.
Once you have all the stickers attached its just a matter of placing the main body of the farm on the base and then the lid goes on top. Now the worm farm is ready and the fun begins.
As you require soil to put in the farm, the first thing we did was get a bucket of dirt and remove as many of the rocks as possible. By removing the rocks it gives the earthworms more soil to move through.
First place about one and a half inches of soil in the bottom of the worm farm. It is best to have a small cup of scoop handy as the opening at the top is not that large and a small cup prevents the soil spilling all over the place and then give the farm a shake to level the soil.
Add a layer of coloured sand again using a small cup or scoop and once all in shake the farm to level out. Now when I say shake the farm, leave it on a flat surface and gently give small shakes from left to right, sort of like a little earthquake.
Repeat these steps with remaining coloured sand and soil, making sure to finish the last level of soil about three inches from the top as to give room for food to be place.
There is nothing kids like more than digging in the dirt, so this is where they will be a great help. I usually find it is easier to find earthworms after some rain as they tend to come closer to the surface as the soil is moist and not dried up.
Using a pitch fork loosen of a section of soil and them let your kids loose. I find it is better to let them get their hand dirty and sift through the soil as it tends to stop the earthworms from being damaged or accidentally chopped in two by a spade.
As the farm is not that big, we found 5 large worms and several smaller ones which I think would be enough to get started.
Note: Smaller earthworms will be more difficult to see so maybe larger earthworms would be better if more can be found, plus the larger earthworms will make a more noticeable tunnel system.
Using the water droppers supplied wet down the soil in the worm farm. You can pretty much see the moisture soaking through the soil so it’s easy to see when you have enough. With the tweezers gently pick up the earthworms and place them gently in their new home. I let them get settled for a couple of days first before feeding. This can be as simple as some fresh leaves and fresh cut grass.
It usually takes a couple of days but you will start to notice the coloured sand start to loose its layer as the earthworms move through the layer and relocate the sand through out the farm.
As the weeks progress you will see more and more of the sand disappear through out the farm and the tunnel structure of the earthworms burrows increase.
As you can see this is a simple and inexpensive way to get kids interested in a worm farm. There is very little needed to get it set up and the kids can help do this and as far as maintenance, the worms will need to be fed about once a week and every 2 weeks just add some more water as this helps the earthworms burrow and it is how they absorb oxygen to breath.
Earthworms Farm-Where To Buy
As I said we purchased the farm at a National Geographic store in our home town. As these store are not available in all areas another alternative is Amazon.
They probably have the best price for this item and you could grab a book to accompany the farm to give the kids a greater understanding on how important a role earthworms play in our environment.