Observing Worms with Preschoolers

Be sure to check out day 2 of our worm observation study too.

Observing Worms Unit

 It all started with an innocent question,

“Why do we need worms?”

At that moment I realized that I could answer and explain how worms help mix the soil which is good for plants, or that they are food for birds, and so on, but I decided that it might be fun to let my children see for themselves why we need worms. I came across a pop-bottle wormery craft from Karrie McAllister and knew this is what we needed to make. Don’t worry, these worms are contained and quite easy to take care of. You probably already own all the materials needed to make this worm house.

Worm House Supplies

Worm House Supplies:

1 clean 2 liter plastic bottle
1 plastic water bottle filled with room temperature water
dark construction paper
dried leaves or hay

Worm House Step 1

First remove the top of the bottle. Use tape to cover the edges as they might be sharp. We don’t want any fingers or worms to get hurt.
Preparing the Worm House
Place a water bottle in the middle of the pop bottle.  This is to force the worms to move to the outside of the bottle, instead of hiding in the middle. Make sure the bottle is filled with room temperature water. Next go outside and fill the container. Start with a layer of sand, then a layer of soil. You can also add a layer of dry leaves or hay. Alternate layers until the bottle is 3/4ths filled.

Digging for worms

Now the hunt begins. Ask your child where they think the best place to find worms would be.  Let them explore and see how many they can find. My 3yr. old found a couple worms in the garden, but found even more under rocks and planters. We gathered our handful of worms and placed them in our homemade worm home.

worm hotel

Make sure the soil is damp, but not wet. Add some dry leaves or hay along with oatmeal crumbs.

Worm Hotel 2

Wrap a piece of black construction paper around the bottle. Let it sit for a day or two before removing the paper. While you are waiting, take some time to read a couple books on worms!

Be sure to check out day 2 of our worm observation study.

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  1. says

    Thank you for this! One of Simon’s current interest is worms, and I wasn’t exactly sure how we were going to study them. I will definitely include this activity! :) Ami

  2. says

    Love this! I know this is a series for Science with Preschoolers, but this is absolutely appropriate for all ages. We’ll be setting this little experiment up today, I think.

  3. Jennifer says

    I teach 2nd grade and I absolutely hate worms, but I am always trying to think of ways to use animals in my classroom. This is going to be awesome. I think I will have the kids make these. One wormery for each table. This is going to be fun!

  4. says

    Just wanted to let you know that I’ve been working on a kindergarten unit with Andrea from No Doubt Learning, and Erin from The Usual Mayhem and we will be referencing your site several times. We’ve included the paper bag activity and I referenced your worm home, made out of plastic bottles. Thanks so much for sharing your materials!

  5. says

    We are getting this ready to make worm houses in our co-op here in the great state of Texas! Thanks for the idea our preschoolers are going to love it! Blessings, Kyle

  6. sabrina says

    Oh this is SO easy to do!!! I’m looking forward to trying this with my kids. And looking forward to Day 2…lol!

  7. Denise says

    This may be a silly question but what is the reason for putting the dark paper on the outside of the container?

    • says

      Not a silly question at all! You put the dark paper around the bottle to keep the light out. This will also encourage the worms to tunnel close to the outside of the bottle so that you can see them. Worms like dark places!

  8. Stephanie says

    Great idea!

    How long can the worms stay in there? What would we feed them?

    Believe it or not, I’ve already killed a few worms by not feeding them correctly or something…who knows!

    LOL….I guess that was the “circle of life” nature lesson :)


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