Science for Kids: DIY Giant Worm Observation Tower

The twins are 29 months (27 adjusted).

Hi friends!  I am super excited to share our latest creepy crawly adventure with you today! When it comes to science for kids, observing nature at work has always been one of my favorites, so this giant worm observation tower has me just as fascinated as the twins.  But first, a warning: if you don’t like slimy creatures, you might want to avert your eyes!

Science for Kids: DIY Giant Worm Observation Tower

Science for Toddlers: Giant Worm Observation Tower

Our current obsession with worms stems from all the digging I’ve been doing in our backyard gardens. The twins love to “help” with their little shovels and rakes, and end up with quite a collection of creatures every time.  However, they hit the jackpot when Will found his first juicy earthworm, and for several days afterward the first thing out of his mouth upon waking in the morning was “See dat wormy, peez Mommy?”

Twodaloo Earthworm Observation Tower

In the spirit of following the interests of the child, I decided we should study “wormies” a little more closely.

Twodaloo Earthworm Observation Tower

We started by visiting a bait shop and saving a big, wriggly batch of Texas-sized nightcrawlers from an unfortunate fate.  I put them on a paper plate on our outdoor art table so the twins could investigate them.  It was fun to watch them explore and make observations- they compared sizes and sorted them into “mommies,” “daddies,” and “babies.”

Twodaloo Earthworm Observation Tower
It was also a lesson on being gentle with small creatures!

Twodaloo Earthworm Observation Tower

The next morning, we set to work making a”resort” for the worms to make their stay with us a little nicer.  We started with a large glass cylindrical vase that I had in the attic. It’s been sitting up there, unused, for a couple of years now- I used to fill it with oversized Christmas ornaments during the holiday season. Now it’s full of oversized worms 😉

Twodaloo Earthworm Observation Tower

To the vase we added a pvc pipe that I had drilled holes in for ventilation (not big enough for the worms to crawl through, though) and a layer of lava rocks from the flower beds to hold it in place.  I didn’t make it permanent because this was only meant to be a temporary worm dwelling.

Twodaloo Earthworm Observation Tower

Next, we prepared some bedding for the worms.  After doing lots of reading on the care and feeding of nightcrawlers, I settled on a base of peat moss with lots of dead leaves crumbled in for food.  Will really liked helping with that part. Then we added enough water to make the mixture nice and wet, and mixed it all up with our hands. I love how fluffy peat moss feels! Plus, the peat moss is light and airy so the worms can move around easily. *Note- if you do this, please don’t use commercial potting mix, especially those that include water-retaining pellets. Not good for the wormies.

Twodaloo Earthworm Observation TowerThen we layered the peat moss mixture with sand from our sandbox (adds grit that’s good for worm digestive systems) and stopped to admire our handiwork for , like, 3 milliseconds.

Then, it was time to add our worm friends!

Twodaloo Earthworm Observation Tower

 

Twodaloo Earthworm Observation Tower

 

Twodaloo Earthworm Observation Tower

We watched our worms (about 14 biguns) burrow enthusiastically down into their new home, and then sprinkled some cornmeal on top of the peat moss.  Apparently, the finer you can get your food for the worms, the happier they will be.

Twodaloo Earthworm Observation Tower

Finally, I made a cover for the worms out of dark blue poster board that I had stashed in a closet (worms like the dark). I taped it on the outside, so whenever we wanted to observe the worms, we could just slip the poster board on and off the observaton tower. We kept the worms inside because I was afraid they’d get rained on, especially since there is no drain in the tower. Plus, I was a little afraid that the tower would get super hot in the son and accidentally cook the worms!

Twodaloo Earthworm Observation Tower

And…the worms loved it! Several times a day, we would check on our wormies (13 named “Baby the worm” and one named “Grandaddy worm”).  You can see Syd saying “Hi” in this picture- you can also see how the rocks provided a layer for drainage. Once a day I would pour a glass of water into the worm observation tower to keep it moist and sprinkle some new food on top, removing any old food that remained uneaten.  We kept our worms for a little over a week; if you wanted to keep them longer, you would need a container that provided some sort of drainage.

Twodaloo Earthworm Observation Tower

The observation tower worked really well- the pipe in the middle made sure the worms stayed close to the sides of the container so we could see them when we took the cover off.

Twodaloo Earthworm Observation Tower

The addition of the sand made it really easy to see where the worms had been crawling. Here you can see the worm tunnels going all throughout the tower, from the top all the way down to the bottom!

Fun, huh?  When it was time for the worms to go, we placed them in our garden to find new homes in the dirt there. Then it was on to our next adventure, too!

Twodaloo creepy crawlers series

Other creepy crawly posts in this series: Insect Small World, Coffee Gelatin Sensory Play, Spider Learning Table

 

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Comments

  1. Wow! This was fantastic I am sure the kiddo will love it too :) You did a marvelous job :) I hate the worms, but I think I will have to kind keep that aside and let Aarya explore :)

  2. I love this! It is not unusual to find my girls walking around with snails! They also love all the praying mantises, lizzards, bees etc in our garden! Maybe start a wormery for your guys!

  3. If your kids won’t be too sad letting their worm friends go you can also jump start their entrepreneurial skills and sell the worms to people fishing

  4. Fabulous activity! Love it!

  5. Wow! You’re just brilliant! One of the coolest nature/science ideas I’ve ever come across. I can’t believe I use to HAVE a vase like that, and I got RID of it! Kicking self now! I’ll have to keep my eyes open for another.

  6. Linda Daniel says:

    I loved that super sized worm garden! We had made one with a 2 liter coke bottle and a coke can inside.

  7. Stephanie, you are much braver than I! I am trying to get past my worm phobia…I’m better about them than I used to be but not quite ready to do something like this!

  8. Good call bringing it inside. I accidentally cooked a batch of the kids worms outside last year in our little worm house. Poor worms never stood a chance.

Trackbacks

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