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Compost in a bottle Explore the fascinating science of composting on a miniature scale Composting is a great way to use up leftover kitchen scraps and unwanted garden waste. Not everyone though has space for a dedicated compost bin or heap in their garden. However, even if you are short on space, you can still teach your child about the wonders of composting in this micro -composting experiment. Even if you are lucky enough to have a full-sized compost heap, this experiment allows your child to get up close and personal with all the fascinating science taking place in the compost heap.

What you need: A plastic bottle with the top cut off, a selection of different materials for your child to compost (a mix of green waste, such as food scraps, coffee grounds, grass, seaweed, and brown waste such as leaves, newspaper and sawdust is best) a spoonful of soil from outside and a little bit of water.

Have your child build up their 'compost heap' in the bottle. It is best to do this in layers alternating between green and brown waste. Once they have built their heap, they need to add the spoonful of soil. This is to ensure that there are some bacteria present in the bottle that can break down the materials. Next, they need to add a couple of tablespoons of water to the compost heap (the heap should be damp throughout, but not wet). To finish, put the lid on the bottle and give everything a gentle shake. Leave your bottle somewhere warm and dry and revisit the compost heap with your child everyday day. When you revisit, have them take the lid off the bottle for a few seconds and, if it is looking dry, add some more water. Aim to keep the compost heap constantly damp. Over time you will start to see your compost appearing. When it is ready, you child can use it for some gardening. It makes a great amount for starting seeds off in the kitchen or a nice treat for an indoor plant. Re-use the bottle for more micro-composting. >>

'These experiments allow your child to get up close and personal with all the fascinating science taking place'

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AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015 www.thegreenparent.co.uk

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