Resources & Activities

Create your own worm farm

Worm farms are a great hands-on way for children to learn about the ecosystem. Involving them in creating and maintaining the worm farm, and using the vermicompost and worm tea to nurture a garden gives great meaning to the ways we can grow and harvest our own food.

The World Around Us
Worms lying in the palm of a hand in rubber gloves
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Many childhood memories involve dirt or mud, and worms. Harness children’s love of these things, and use it to help them develop an appreciation for the important role worms play in the ecosystem. You don’t need to have rolling hills of grass and orchards for children to learn these concepts. You can build planters to grow herbs, fruits and vegetables, or even gift the liquid by-product (worm juice) and fine compost to families or others in your local community. Even the youngest of children can contribute to caring for the worm farm by adding fruit and vegetable scraps to a bucket to feed the worms.

What you will need:

  • Large plastic container
  • Drill
  • Shredded paper/cardboard
  • Gardening gloves/rubber gloves
  • Compost
  • Organic food scraps
  • Compost worms
  • A tub or tray for collecting the worm wee
  • Water
  • Suitable worm foods:
  • Fruit, vegetables scraps and peelings
  • Coffee grounds, filters and tea bags
  • Shredded paper napkins/tissues
  • Dust from vacuum cleaners
  • Soaked newspapers/egg cartons
  • Hair clippings (animal or human)
  • Crushed egg shells

How to:

  1. Begin by flipping a large plastic tub upside down and drilling 6-8 holes into the base 
  2. Flip the tub back to the right way up and add strips of old news paper and cardboard to the tub to cover the bottom
  3. Fill the tub ¼ of the way with soil and food scraps to create compost 
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to create layers of paper, soil and food scraps until you reach ¾ the way up the tub
  5. Water the soil 
  6. Add your worms 
  7. Cover the tub with a large piece of cardboard 
  8. Place the lid on the tub and drill 6-8 holes in the lid
  9. Place the entire tub above a drip tray to catch any drips and watch your worm farm work away!

Helpful Teaching Strategies to extend

  • Ask children what types of things beyond fruit and vegetables that could be added to the worm farm 
  • Ask children what they can see, smell or notice, create a graph of what you notice over time
  • Encourage children to take responsibility (with support) for ‘feeding’ the worms. You could make a roster
  • Use the worm ‘juice’ collected on your plants to help make them grow (remember to water it down first)
  • Bottle up the extra worm ‘juice’ so children can take it home to their families and use on their gardens
  • Use words like ‘decomposing, decay, worm casts’ when talking with children about what is happening
  • Talk about what you throw away at the center or at home, and what happens to it

Potential learning outcomes for children

  • The process of decomposition and the time decomposition can take
  • How animals such as worms can support the decomposition process
  • Recycling certain types of trash
  • Care for the worms in the worm farm
  • Engaging in real work in the fresh air, giving a sense of community, through genuine contribution and ownership to a joint effort (EKI)
  • Driving a long-term focus in some projects (EKI)
  • Showing through actions an ability to think beyond the center/school (EKI)


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