DIY Earthworm Habitat

By | April 5, 2013
DIY Earthworm Habitat

With Earth Day coming up, I wanted to do a fun Earth Day Experiment where we could observe some of nature up close.  And I thought what better creature than earthworms.  They really do so much for our soil, they are every gardeners friend, and they are really small (which helps when bringing in creatures to your home).

When I told my daughter that we were going to do a DIY Earthworm Habitat she was more excited than I expected.  We had to wait for a break in all the snow we were getting to go out and collect our worms.  It is funny  how in the summer we find worms all over but in the winter not so much (they are cold blooded), we did find a bunch of small/baby worms which I think worked out better anyway since our habitat is not huge.

We are in trouble because my daughter does not want to put our wormy friends back, she now thinks they are our pets and both girls look forward to checking on them each morning.  They also show them off to every friend that comes over to visit.  So we will be keeping our worm friends around for a little while longer, but I think for right now they are much in our habitat since it is nice and warm.  I will have to have the talk with my daughter soon though about setting them free.

What do Earthworms do?  Earthworms are the Earths friend, they eat the soil (or compost material) and as it goes through them and out the other end they add extra nutrients to the soil.   This is why a lot of people put worms in their compost bins (if you do you need to be careful about adding to much acidic items like tomatoes, oranges, and onions as they can burn the worms), the worms make the soil very nutrient which helps your plants grow. The worms also aerate the soil by digging tunnels, this brings plants the oxygen they need to grow.

What you will observe with this experiment?  In this experiment you will view the worms mixing the soil and sand.  They do this two ways, by digesting it and by traveling through it.  You will also get to see how the worms travel through the soil by creating tunnels, which help to aerate the soil.  Just make sure to keep your worms fed and the soil damp.

Check out our EARTH DAY and SCIENCE boards on Pintrest for more fun ideas!


Spray bottle
Jar or container with lid
2 Cardboard rolls
Packing Tape
Black Construction paper
Carrots, lettuces, coffee grounds


Dig in your yard to find some worms (if need be you can get them at a fishing store)
 Polk some holes in the lid of your container
Insert one cardboard roll into the other and size to fit inside your container. (I just pushed the one in farther till the lid would close with it in)
Now Cover the entire roll with packing tape to protect it from the water (by putting this in the middle of your container it will keep the worms on the sides so you can better view them)
Put your taped up rolls in your container then alternate filling it with dirt and sand (by having the different colors it will let you better see your worms and also view how they mix soil)
 After filling with your soil and sand add your worms
Wait a few min till the worms burrow under the dirt then add some worm food (carrots, lettuce, and coffee grounds)
 Draw a pretty design on your black construction paper using your chalk
 Now glue your paper around the Earthworm container (make sure to leave it loose enough so it will slide on and off so you can view your worms)
Here is our finished container (notice the worms my daughter drew in the grass).  To view our worms we just slide our container right out of the construction paper.
 We were able to see the worms moving through the sand and dirt the same day we put this together.
Don’t forget to spray water on your habitat every couple of days.  Worms like it damp, but not too wet so don’t over do it.  And remember to add more food when needed.
 You can observe your worms at any time of the day
 After a few days/weeks you will notice the sand and dirt mixing (that is the worms)
You will also notice several tunnels the worms have made to travel in
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44 thoughts on “DIY Earthworm Habitat

  1. Melinda

    at first thought GROSS :) I actually love this idea. We have compost that would make great food for worms. Wonder if my kids would be into this, stink bug freak them out LOL

    1. Tracey Kite

      LOL Melinda! My little one would not touch a real worm but she really enjoys watching these in the container. They are actually pretty cool to watch!

  2. havingfunatchelleshouse

    We were just outside finding worms!! Like 5 minutes ago…this is a really neat idea!!! I think we should make us one this week…thanks for the idea and for sharing at Sharing Saturday :-)

    1. Tracey Kite

      Thanks for hosting and I am so glad you like this and are going to to it. They really are so neat and fun to watch!

  3. Blayne Burke

    This is so much fun!! I will definitely be doing this when my little is older. I love idea of putting the toilet paper roll in to better see the tunnels dug by the earthworms. Love it!

    1. Tracey Kite

      Thanks! We are finally setting them free today, a and they have been so much fun to watch. We might even do this again because we all enjoyed it so much!

    1. Tracey Kite

      So does my oldest. When she was younger she use to think they were baby snakes.. lol We really did have fun with this one they are so cool to watch!

  4. PinkOddy

    What a really amazing idea. I never knew that about the tomatoes, oranges and onions in compost. I’ve never added worms I just get loads in my compost bin appear.

    1. Tracey Kite

      I don’t have any worms in my compost bin either. I put way to much acidic things in it for the worms. I learned about it last year when we made our compost bin.

  5. Kathy Penney

    She looks like she had so much fun! Thanks for linking up at All Things Pretty! I’ve tweeted your post. I hope you will come back this Thursday.

  6. Mary Catherine

    I love this idea, as well as how you used items from around your house. Your little one looks so happy to be collecting and observing worms! I’m hoping to do this with my son and my preschool students sometime this month. Thanks for linking up with Stress-Free Sunday!

  7. Savannah McQueen

    What a great idea. You’ve incorporated art and science. Love it. I hope you’ll share this at Look What We Did. -Savannah @

  8. Sara Ballard

    This is fabulous! We have had a compost bin for years but I’m not sure if the boys really know what happens and this would be a great visual! It is also a great visual for not using synthetic fertilizers in our lawns that hurts the worms in their habitats. Thanks for sharing at Red Ted.
    Sara @ BrainstormInBloom

  9. jmommymom

    That’s very cool. We’ve collected earth worms before, but never thought of putting them into a see through container with layers of dirt.

    1. Tracey Kite

      We find the worms every year, my oldest use to think they were baby snakes! This was the first time I ever thought of actually keeping them around for a while to watch. They are so cool!

  10. Beth Gorden

    What a fun project! I love your DIY worm habitat! And your daughter’s hat for the occasion is perfect =)

    Thanks for linking up to TGIF! I hope to see you linked up again later today,
    Beth =)

  11. Shaunna Evans

    We just finished a week full of worm activities. I tried to find two different-sized jars to do my own habitat, but I never thought to create one like this! So clever! We’ll definitely be trying this out.

    Thank you so much for sharing this great idea at the Discover and Explore themed linky. I’m excited to see what you link up next week for the Gardening with Kids theme.

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  15. Abigail

    wow i love that worm project me and my sister done it but we did not have any sand so we put in extra soil. will it still work the same?

    1. wemadethat Post author

      Hi Abigail,

      You will still get to see the worms but if the soil is all the same color you wont get to see them mix it up. But they are still super fun to just observe without the soil mixing.

  16. SakuraMari

    I showed this to my kids-who-won’t-touch-worms, and they wanted to make a large scale one and get the huge night-crawlers. I guess worms are interesting as long as you don’t have to touch them! Eeek!

    1. wemadethat Post author

      LOL, SakuraMari. My little one does not want to touch them either but she sure loved to watch them. I hope your kids enjoy this as much as mine did!

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  20. Eileen

    How long can the worms stay in the container? What is a good time frame for this experiment? I would love to do this as a science fair experiment with my students. I have to figure out when to start it so we could have some science journals and the completed project.

    1. wemadethat Post author

      Hi Eileen, We had ours in the container for about 3 weeks. However they could have stayed longer. As long as you are feeding and watering them they can stay in the container for a pretty long time.

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