Tag Archive for: minibeasts

A Fun Guide to Composting for Kids - Let’s Get Composting!

Young environmental enthusiasts and parents — welcome to the exciting eco-adventure that is composting! Composting is a fantastic way to turn food scraps and garden waste into nutrient-rich soil that helps plants grow big and strong. In this guide, we’ll explore the wonderful world of composting, explain how to set up your compost area and highlight the amazing benefits it brings to your family, garden, wildlife and the environment.

The Magic & Science of Composting

Composting is like a fantastic magic show happening right in your garden! But instead of a magician, tiny creatures called decomposers work their magic. Tiny bacteria feast on the kitchen scraps and leaves, breaking them down into smaller pieces with the help of enzymes that are released. Fungi also have special powers to break down tough materials like wood and turn them into compost. As the decomposers work their magic, they will eventually create something called humus, which is like gold for the soil!Wiggly worms and other minibeasts also love to munch on the decomposed scraps, breaking them down into smaller and smaller pieces.

As these decomposers work their magic, they will eventually create something called humus. Fully-formed humus is dark, crumbly, and filled with nutrients that plants love. It is also the Latin word for soil. When you spread the humus around your garden, it’s like giving your plants a fantastic, nutritious meal. They grow big, strong, and healthy, thanks to the compost magic!

Getting Started

To begin composting, you’ll need a composting area. You have a few options:

A wire composter is an easy option, so long as adults can ensure there are no sharp edges that could hurt people and wildlife.Palettes or Spare Wood: Families can build a simple compost bin using palettes or spare wood. This creates a cosy space for your compost to break down. Ensure there are gaps between wood slats, so that minibeasts can come and go as they please.

Wire Composter: A wire composter is an easy option, so long as adults can ensure there are no sharp edges that might hurt children, themselves and wildlife. This option is like a big basket that keeps your compost in one place.

Commercial Composters: You can also buy special composting bins from stores. These are convenient and keep everything tidy. However, they’re not as much fun as you’ll miss out on the composter creation part of the activity!

What Goes In?

Now that you have your composting area ready, it’s time to start composting! You can add things like:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps, crushed egg shells, smaller pieces of garden waste and tea/coffee grounds are perfect for composting.Fruit and vegetable scraps — those banana peels, apple cores and carrot tops are perfect for composting.
  • Eggshells — after you enjoy your breakfast or lunch eggs, crush the shells to help them break down faster and add them to the compost.
  • Coffee grounds and tea bags — if your household makes real coffee, save the used coffee grounds for the compost bin. Similarly, tea bags can go in, but be sure to remove staples, which some tea bags have to attach their ‘tag’ to a string.
  • Garden waste — leaves, grass clippings, and small plant trimmings can also join the compost party.
  • Shredded paper and cardboard — if they have no glossy or coloured ink and do not have plastic lamination (they should tear easily if not), these can go in too.

What Stays Out?

Composting is magical, but some things just don’t belong in the compost bin. Never add:

  • In dry weather, it helps to water the compost heap to keep it moist.Meat, seafood and dairy — keep these out as they can attract pests and make your compost smell unpleasant.
  • Oily or greasy food items — don’t include these as they don’t compost well.
  • Pet waste — never add this as it might contain harmful bacteria.
  • Plastic, glass or metal — only natural stuff can become compost, so no plastic wrappers, glass or metal cans should go into the composter.
  • Diseased plant material — keep this out of the composter otherwise it could spread diseases to healthy plants.

3 Composting Tips for Kids:

  1. Decorating the outside of the composter with colourful drawings or paintings will add another creative facet to this children's activity.Become a compost hero by helping collect kitchen scraps. Ask parents for a special container to store things like fruit peels, vegetable scraps, and eggshells. Once it’s full, take it to the compost bin with a big smile, knowing you’re making a difference!
  2. Get parents to help turn over the rotting compost occasionally with a spade or fork, or to supervise children doing it if they’re old and strong enough. Mixing everything up helps the compost break down faster. It’s like giving compost a good stir to make it even yummier for the plants!
  3. Why not decorate the composter? Children could turn it into an art project! Ask parents’ permission to decorate the outside of the composter with colourful drawings or paintings. Make it look like a happy home for all those minibeasts and decomposers living inside.

The Big Reveal

Composting takes time, just like growing your favourite plants. You have to be patient and wait for the magic to happen. After a few weeks or months, it’s time to unveil the finished compost! Your compost will look dark and crumbly, and it will smell earthy – like the scent of fresh soil after the rain. This is the moment when you realise you’ve been nurturing something incredible!

The Superpowers of Compost

Composting has amazing benefits for everyone:

Various minibeasts, such as insects, worms, and grubs, will eventually call the compost heap home.For Your Family — Composting not only teaches children about nature, recycling, and caring for the environment but is also a wonderful opportunity to observe and learn about the various minibeasts, such as insects, worms, and grubs, that call the compost home. It’s like having a little ecosystem in your garden!

For Your Garden — The finished compost becomes a valuable resource for your garden! When you spread that nutrient-rich compost around your plants, it’s like giving them a delicious and nutritious meal. Plants love compost because it helps them grow big, strong, and healthy. So, by composting, you’re not just reducing waste; you’re also creating a superfood for your garden!

For the Environment — When we compost, we help reduce the amount of rubbish that goes to landfills. Less waste means a happier, healthier planet for plants, animals, and all of us. Additionally, composting conserves water and reduces the need for harmful chemical fertilisers, making it beneficial for the entire ecosystem. It’s a win-win situation for everyone!

Congratulations on embarking on the composting journey, young environmentalists and parents alike! With this newfound knowledge, you can work together as a family to make our planet greener and cleaner. Happy composting!

A Nursery & Forest School in Edgbaston, Birmingham

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood & Harborne B16Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted.Leaps & Bounds is officially a ‘Good’ nursery & preschool, offering high-quality childcare in Edgbaston, near Birmingham. With an interest in nature, we have our own Forest School too, giving little ones access to outdoor play, exploration and learning. We provide children with a wonderful early years education in all areas of the EYFS and much more, so they’re set up well for success once they leave us to begin school around the age of five.

To register your child for a place, book in for a guided tour with your child, or ask a question, please simply get in touch:

Leaps & Bounds is a nursery and preschool, with its own Forest School, in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne and Smethwick.

30 Minibeasts for Children to Look Out For (With Free Poster!)

Today’s post is all about this wonderful new minibeasts poster for children to download. It’s free and features 30 small creatures that children, including under-fives, can try to spot when they’re out and about. It’s a great introduction to just some of the thousands of minibeast species found throughout Britain. In a typical year, children should indeed be able to spot many of the minibeasts we show, as they’re mostly quite common. Printing the poster out for them, either as A3 for display or reduced to A4 for them to take on outings, is a great way to encourage them to take an interest in nature and The Great Outdoors. As we’ve said before, spending time around nature is extremely beneficial to children, as is outdoor play, so this is a very worthwhile and beneficial children’s activity. It is fun, interesting, educational, supports the EYFS curriculum, and a whole lot more. Read on to learn how to quickly and easily download the free poster for your child.

Download the Free Minibeasts Poster

Right-click the preview image below or this link and you can then save a high-resolution version of the poster. Once the file is saved, open it in Acrobat Reader to view it on screen and, from there, you will be able to print it out for your child. Some browsers also allow you to view the PDF on screen by left-clicking, however, availability of this option will depend on your device set-up and browser settings.

Preview of the Minibeasts Poster for children. To download it, see instructions above.

About Minibeasts

Although there are differing definitions of minibeasts, think of them simply as small creatures for the purposes of this activity and poster. We’ve featured 30 fairly common minibeasts that we think are most likely to be spotted by children and families. Indeed, many will be present from time to time in people’s gardens if you know where and when to look (that’s perhaps a topic for another separate guide in due course). Examples include beetles, worms, bees, moths, woodlice, ants, millipedes, larvae and many more. Note that we’ve only included one image for each, so be aware that those you or your child spot may not look exactly the same as shown. After all, there are as many as 25,000 species of minibeast in the UK and we couldn’t feature them all! So, take a look at the poster and encourage children to get minibeast-spotting, under suitable supervision of course, when they’re next playing outdoors. It’s a fun, free, and educational activity!

Look, Don’t Touch!

Teach Respect & Empathy for Wildlife

Remember to supervise children, especially the very young, for the sake of their safety and that of the minibeasts too. Each minibeast is an individual, with its own feelings, needs and the right to get on with its life peacefully. With that in mind, remember to teach children to respect all other creatures and to “look but don’t touch”. They’re busy little beings, going about their business, and no doubt do not want to be disturbed or manhandled — they’re very delicate too. Kindness, respect, care and empathy are wonderful lessons to teach children.

A tip is to perhaps get children to give each minibeast they spot a name. For example, Brian for a bee, Sally for a spider, or Wally for a worm. This reinforces the message that each one is an individual in their own right.

Our Forest School Programme at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, Edgbaston

Children at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery in Edgbaston also get to benefit from our Forest School programme. With a focus on nature, this gives children under five the chance to learn and benefit from spending time in the natural environment locally. As well as learning about the world around them, it teaches them about other creatures, plants, trees, the seasons, life cycles, food chains and, most importantly, about their own place in the world. Forest School is fun, educational, transformational and incredibly beneficial to children and, for this reason, we also include Forest School resources on-site at the nursery itself. This includes things like seed and plant-growing areas, where children cultivate plants and vegetables.

Your High-Quality Nursery in Edgbaston, Birmingham

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood & Harborne B16Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted.Why not consider Leaps & Bounds for your child’s weekday childcare? Rated as a ‘Good Provider’ by Ofsted, we are a nursery and preschool in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, with our own Forest School. Subject, of course, to available spaces, we also accept eligible families that use Government childcare funding schemes. Register for a place, arrange a tour or ask a question and we’ll be happy to help.

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery and Preschool is located in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne and Smethwick.