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Understanding what happens beneath the soil is fascinating for kids – just like outer space and the deep sea it’s something that they can’t see easily but unlike either of those they can touch it and they get a glimpse at what is happening as they dig, garden and harvest vegetables from the garden.
We’ve been reading Underground by Denise Fleming for this months Virtual Book Club for Kids and have decided to make a wormery to explore what worms actually do underground and learn a little more about why they need to do it.
A wormery is a traditional way to view what worms do underground – you can make a complex permanent structure or like us create a simple wormery from our Junk Materials box that we can view for a week and then return the worms to the ground to continue carrying out their hard work in our garden.
Materials needed to make a Wormery
Plastic drinks bottle throughly cleaned
Soil, Compost and Sand (you don’t need large quantities of any of these)
Worms from the garden
Scissors and a dark coloured bag
How to make a Wormery
First off it’s time to dig for some worms – we’re lucky that it’s the time of year to turn over our vegetable beds to prepare them for planting so as we’re turning over the beds we collected worms for the wormery – a 1 litre plastic bottle like we used will be good for around 5 or 6 worms to inhabit but if you have a bigger bottle then you could collect more worms.
If you aren’t digging over soil then a great way to find worms is to wait till after some rain and then dig up the soil – if you want to do this quicker than the next rain storm then put a hose on some soil for around 10 minutes – wait a couple of hours if it’s not too hot (in the shade is a great place to do this) and then have a dig the worms should have risen to the surface as the soil will be easier for them to move through and have more nutrients for them to get out.
To make our wormery we cut the top off the plastic bottle using the top as a handle funnel to pour in the soil – this I had to do with a bread knife as the bottle was very sturdy.
To see the role of the worms in the soil you need to have a different collection of soils – we used soil dug up from the garden (grey in colour) compost (black) and sand (white) and filled the bottle with layers of the soil.
Once the bottle was filled with layers of soil you need to add the worms – place them on the top and as the soil is lose you will see them slowly disappear into the soil.
We’ve added to our nature area and placed a black plastic bag loosely over the top so that it’s dark and have watered it mid week using a spray bottle.
Checking on the wormery throughout the weeks the kids have observed what the worms have done – gradually the obvious layers of soil have combined and all soil is the same mix after a week. At times throughout the week they have seen worm tubes and worm casts on the surface of the soil.
After a week we returned the worms to the garden and have repeated the wormery time and time again.
What does the wormery show
Worms are essential for the soil, they are like mini machinery turning over the soil and breaking it up. Forming tunnels as they move they break up big sections of the soil. Worms also “feed” on soil they ingest it and then absorb the nutrients that they need and excrete it – these form the worm casts that you can see on top of the soil, by doing this they move through the layers of the soil.
If you have soil which has a lot of worms in then it’s common to find the top soil free of stones as the constant movement of the worms gradually moves the stones down to below the oxygen rich surface soil and makes for great growing soil. With our gardening worm at the moment we are constantly digging and I am encouraging the kids to move the worms that we find to the vegetable patch although a few of the smaller ones make their way into the pond for the frogs and newts that we have there.
Denise Fleming Author Month with Virtual Book Club for Kids
This month’s featured author for the Virtual Book Club for Kids is Denise Fleming please visit the cohost to see what fun they have had this month bringing the book alive.
Toddler Approved– The Educators’ Spin On It– Rainy Day Mum– 3 Dinosaurs– Learn~Play~Imagine – Crafty Moms Share – Reading Confetti–Inspiration Laboratories – Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas – Kids Yoga Stories – Enchanted Homeschooling Mom– Ready-Set-Read – Boy Mama Teacher Mama – PlayDrMom – Fantastic Fun and Learning – Growing Book by Book– Royal Baloo – The Outlaw Mom® Blog – Kitchen Counter Chronicles – Teach Preschool – Mama Smiles – Coffe Cups and Crayons – Juggling With Kids – Here Come the Girls
If you would like to join in there are a couple of ways that you can – come and share an activity that you and you kids have done based on a book by Denise Fleming this month over on our Virtual Book Club for Kids Facebook Page. If you are a blogger read a book by Denise Fleming do an activity share it on your blog and then come and link up below or you could always share on instagram and tag myself @rainydaymum with your fun bringing books alive by Denise Fleming with the hashtag #virtualbookclubforkids.