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My infatuation with science-themed books for kids continues!
This week, let’s talk about MICROBES. The tiniest creatures accomplish some of the biggest jobs on the planet and one of these jobs involves the act of Composting.
The thought makes some people shudder, but composting is an excellent way to help the health of our planet. Composting is nature’s process of recycling decomposed organic materials into a rich soil known as compost. Anything that was once living will decompose. Basically, backyard composting is an acceleration of the same process nature uses.
A family project of composting is also an excellent way to help kids understand science, microbes, gardening and conservation.
So, if you are not up for installing your own composting bin at your home at school, I highly recommend these books as a way to raise awareness of this helpful practice. Enjoy!
Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals
From apple cores to zinnia heads, readers will discover the best ingredients for a successful compost pile! Kids everywhere are knowledgeable about the environment and climate change. Not only is composting becoming more common in households and residential gardens, but many school gardens feature compost piles, too. But how do you start a compost pile? What’s safe to include? Perfect for an Earth Day focus or year-round reference, this inviting book provides all the answers for kids and families looking for simple, child-friendly ways to help the planet.
Green Gardening and Composting by Molly Aloian
This informative title will inspire budding activists to go green in the garden! Accessible text and engaging photographs introduce composting and Earth-friendly gardening. Readers learn how to build a compost bin, what items to recycle in the bin, and how to use compost to start their own garden.
Zoologist and author Nicola Davies welcomes us into the microscopic world in her book Tiny Creatures The world of Microbes.
Taking us on a journey through a microbe’s minute size, to their multiplying sills turning one microbe into millions, to their diverse shape forms, and the variety roles they play in the world, Tiny Creatures in an invitation to go exploring.
Using wonderful and clear analogies such as an antenna on an ant would need to be as big as a whale to see all the micro-organisms on its antenna. This book is beautifully illustrated by Emily Sutton and brings to life all of the amazing and cool facts about microbes. It supports the text wonderfully.
Davies focuses on the positive things that microbes do such as composting soil, making yogurt and helping to make our air good and clean to breathe.
We really like the part about germs which make us sick, how they multiply and how to prevent illness from happening in the first place.
I really loved this book because it leaves its readers in a state of wonder and has us wanting to know more about the invisible world of microbes.
Something To Do
How to Compost
In her book Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes author Nicola Davies shares with us that one of the ways microbes do their finest work is breaking down dead material into soil. Composting is one of the easiest ways to see this work up close. You, along with those microbes are going to create rich soil called humus to put into your garden.
- Composting creates soil for plants filled with nutrients they need to flourish
- Compost is made from items you usually throw away in your home.
- Composting is Earth friendly as it reduces the garbage we send to the landfill.
Here’s how it works:
When organic scraps ( think green and brown) are put into a compost bin, the combination of nitrogen and carbon invite tiny microbes, insects, and worms to break down the organic matter into soil. This is called decomposition. The rich nutrient filled soil is called humus.
What Can You Put into a Compost Bin
1. Greens (Nitrogen) All vegetable and fruit produce, grass clippings, coffee grounds, and weeds that haven’t gone to seed.
2. Browns (Carbon) Dried leaves, paper towel/toilet paper rolls, newspaper, cardboard, paper egg cartons, and saw dust.
Other: I also throw in egg shells into my compost. It’s not a green or a brown but it breaks down wonderfully.
Keep a 50/50 balance of brown and greens in your compost bin.
3. Water Compost needs water so that the microbes, insects, and worms can do their thing.
4. Air: Compost piles need air. If your compost bin is made our of chicken wire, no problem. If you have a closed container, you’ll need to stir it every few weeks with a compost stir pick.
Once your compost bin has been built and you’ve started adding scraps and water to it, see how soon it is before you start seeing potato bugs, little flies, worms etc. Mark on a calendar daily what you see and how long it takes for the compost scraps to break down into humus.
Has your family tried composting and putting your own Tiny Microbes to work?
Would you like to discover more fun and nature-filled activities for your family?
How about some month-by-month activities based on the classic children’s tale, The Secret Garden? A Year in the Secret Garden is over 120 pages, with 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together. A Year In the Secret Garden is our opportunity to introduce new generations of families to the magic of this classic tale in a modern and innovative way that creates special learning and play times outside in nature. This book encourages families to step away from technology and into the kitchen, garden, reading nook and craft room. Learn more, or grab your copy HERE.