By Andrea Lucy, Experiential Learning Program Lead
The best days are digging days!
It’s a simple, yet marvellous activity. One, because kids love getting dirty and messy. Second, because they get to learn about the wonderful world of soil. The kids are so full of joy and wonder. They enjoy discovering a worm digging deep away from the sun, a pillbug curling up into a tight ball, or an ant nest full of pupae the size and shape of a grain of rice. By watching these creatures, they see how they eat organic waste and break it down. Their interest and observations open a window to talking and learning about decomposers. They see how the soil is their habitat, their home. By breaking down waste into soil, decomposers also help make a healthy home for the plants on our farm.
Through play, they learn soil is a mixture of these and many more living creatures, along with air, water, and minerals. One group created mud people dressed in zucchini hats. They defended mud island with a moat full of water. Through the kids making mud sculptures, we learned our soil is made of lots and lots of clay! While clay soil makes it difficult for roots to grow, it brought kids at Fresh Roots lots of joy. They could engage in playful learning, creating whatever they imagined. The kids worked collaboratively on their muddy creations and made alterations and changes every day. The worms joined in on the fun as well!
We also found evidence of larger animals moving through the soil. Who do you think made this footprint? Do they play a role in decomposition too?
In my own digging online, I learned decomposers also help clean up oil spills and plastics in the ocean! What superstars!
Dig into a Field Trip This Fall
If you want to join us in the joy of digging and decomposers, we are hosting field trips at our Vancouver farm sites during the fall. A new offer this year is our “Decomposers!” field trip.
Click here to book a field trip for your group.
A few of our favourite things:
- The picturebook Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss
- The picturebook Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal
- This animated video “The Dirt on Decomposers” by Crash Course Kids