Storybook Science: Compost Stew

Storybook Science: Compost Stew

Compost Stew
We made Compost Stew! This was one of my favorite activities ever, because it really shows how LONG it takes for things to biodegrade in a landfill. The interesting thing about compost stew and the recycling experiement is watching what happens. So, to see how long it takes just for paper to degrade is a valuable understanding. So many times with our trash we think, out of sight, out of mind. I’m a practical recycler, and I don’t have a compost pile, but, at least I understand the value of recycling. My main goal with both of these experiments was for all of us to gain a real world understanding of managing trash, and realizing that we can do our part. Staying curious and asking questions.


An empty glass or plastic container with lid

Spoons for scooping in dirt to container.

Yard dirt or local dirt to fill up container at least half way

Biodegradable items: Use the Compost Stew book , it has lots of choices.

Compost Stew
Starting our stew

1- We took turns filling up the jar about 1/4 full, with our dirt.

2- Capt. D. put in the soft fresh pear pieces.

3-JoJo added used coffee grounds.

4- Capt. D. added a snip of my hair.

5- JoJo added dryer lint.

6- The boys finished by spooning the rest of the dirt into the jar and sealing the lid.

Compost Stew
Adding pears
Compost Stew
Filling in dirt at the end


What we knew: We didn’t know anything about composting.

What we wanted to know: What exactly is composting anyway?

What we learned: How easy it is to make a compost stew and what we can throw in there.

Watch and see what happens: A week later we are still checking daily to see if the things we put in have become one with the dirt.

Compost Stew
I love the Earth, Thank you Earth, Compost Stew

I also read I love the Earth by Todd Parr, and Thank you Earth which is a photograph book with one sentence of a poem on each page, during the two weeks we did these experiments. I read the other two books out loud, during our regular daily reading time. These books aren’t considered science books, but if we emotionally connect with nature, nature IS biology. Which is science. We live in the mountains, but one of the things the boys asked me today is to go and see how the canal microsystem has changed.