Make Your Own Worm Bin (Grades 3-5)

Have you ever wondered how to turn leftover food into nutrient-rich soil called compost? Help solve the mystery in this activity by making your own worm composting bin.

Sara McArdle, fifth-grade teacher at Berne-Knox-Westerlo (BKW) and Michaela Keher, BKW High School agriculture teacher, explain how to make your own bin in this video. Find the materials needed below.

What You Need

  • Drill with a ¼ inch bit
  • Two plastic storage containers (any size, but they need to be the same)
  • Plastic gloves
  • Shredded newspaper 
  • One pound of red wiggler worms (BKW says this is the key to your composting bin) 
  • Food scraps for the worms

What To Do

Prepare your plastic container

  1. Drill 10-20 holes into the bottom of your plastic storage container. Make sure you have the help of an adult.
  2. Turn the container on its side. Measure about an inch or two from the top of the container. At that depth, drill 3-4 holes evenly spaced down the long side of the container. 
  3. Spin the container and drill 3-4 holes along the short side. 
  4. Drill approximately nine holes in the top of the container. This is to make sure your worms get oxygen.

Make a bedding for your worms 

  1. Take your newspaper and shred it. NOTE: Don’t use newspaper flyers. The worms can not digest them.
  2. Get the shredded newspaper damp, but not soaking wet. You can use a spray bottle. 
  3. Place the damp, shredded newspaper into the bottom of your plastic container.
  4. Add natural leaf litter (leaves that have fallen to the ground).
  5. Sprinkle a handful of dirt over the newspaper.

Add worms

  1. Put on plastic gloves and add worms to the bin.

Feed the worms

  1. Collect scraps from fruit and vegetables (no meat or dairy products) and store them in the freezer until you are ready to feed the worms. You can also collect newspaper (not advertisements) and coffee grounds.
  2. Add scraps to the bin.

How and Where Do We Store Our Worm Bin?

Stack your container with the holes on top of your solid container. This will allow the bottom container to catch excess moisture. You should store your worm bins in a place that is between 60-70 degrees. Keher recommends a cool basement that is dry or the garage. It must be a cool environment because the worms can’t tolerate excessive heat. The worms will eventually multiply. After three months, you can divide them up and start a new bin.