Thomas’s homemade worm habitat

Last week my parents were visiting and we were all outside doing some yard work. Scratch that. I THOUGHT we were all outside. My dad went inside and he found Thomas in the kitchen, holding a worm in his hand, looking in the refrigerator.

My dad backed Thomas out of the refrigerator and before he could close the fridge door, Thomas had taken his worm to the dishwasher.

Thomas LOVES worms, and as his mother I have two conflicting feelings: 1) I have a deep desire to raise my children with exposure to and respect for nature. 2) I don’t want worms in my dishwasher.

When Thomas sees a worm, he wants to keep it (I think he was in the kitchen looking for a container for his worm), so in order to keep worms out of my kitchen I decided to beat Thomas at his own game and make him his very own worm habitat.

(We also installed security cameras and electric fencing and, honestly, I’m shocked it took us this long. Get it? SHOCKED!)

All the kids helped — David was the project manager, Mary was quality control. Thomas was worm wrangler and Anna helped the most by napping through the whole thing.

David read this easy tutorial and directed Mary to tear up an egg carton. Mary dutifully tore the egg carton into tiny pieces while David did a word search. When she realized she was doing all the work she quit full-stop and I did the rest.

Paper, dirt, paper, dirt, paper, dirt. Then we added the worms.

For some reason I thought we’d only add four worms. That seems reasonable, right?Β It’s a small container, and we’d have one worm to represent each of our kids. But Thomas wasn’t interested in that so I let him add six because we do have six family members. But Thomas wasn’t interested in that, either. My low estimate is that there are 35 worms in that small container. He just kept bringing more and more and who am I to stifle his worm dreams?

Ok, ok, ok, you’re right. I’m his mother, that’s who. But this worm habitat was completely occupying him and for that reason I didn’t intervene. You want to add more worms? HAVE AT IT! I’ll happily pay each worm their hourly rate for the babysitting.

To say that he was utterly fascinated is an understatement. He loved watching them dig into the dirt, he talked softly to them if they tried to climb out of the container instead of down into the dirt. And when I showed him the tunnel that one had dug along the side of the container? He shrieked. SHRIEKED.

“Hi, worm! Hi, worm!” he said, smiling at a worm through the container. “Worm! It’s me, Thomas!”

I asked him what he thought the worm’s name was and he answered without a moment of hesitation, “Cuddles.”

Thomas loved it so much that we’ve already made another, larger worm habitat. (We used an old UTZ party mix container.)

We still have a few months until we get a dog. Until then we’re calling these our starter pets.


Composting with kids - easy DIY worm habitat


  1. Gayle Ann April 10, 2019

    I had to do an electric for one of my early Goldens. She played a game with her tennis balls. She would dig to push it under the yard fence, and see how far she could push it and still retrieve it. If she pushed too far, then she dug to get the ball. and play the same game. So, we strung it along the bottom of the fence so that she would get shocked when she tried to push it under the fence. She was shocked once, and never tried it again. One of the men at work thought I was SOOOO cruel. A city kid. The closest he’d come to a cow was the picture of Elsie on a Borden milk carton, so he knew nothing about fencing. I asked him which was better, a VERY mild shock or getting hit by a car or attacked by someone’s loose dog. It isn’t any different than the invisible ones, which I don’t like at all.

    Have you had your home visit yet? And, remember, you live near two of the best Golden Retriever rescues in the country. Who needs sunshine when you have a Golden?

    • Amanda April 10, 2019

      we have our home visit on the 27th!
      and we love goldens, they are SO beautiful, i just wouldn’t be able to keep up with any amount of shedding. i know my limits! πŸ™‚

  2. Gayle Ann April 10, 2019

    PS. When the worms grow, are you going to release them into your garden, or go fishing?

    • Amanda April 10, 2019

      we’ll release them back into the garden as soon as thomas loses interest!

  3. Chris April 10, 2019

    Love this story! Sweet little boy and his worms πŸ™‚ I tried a worm habitat once but I didn’t do something right and they all died. πŸ™ Glad you had better success!

  4. Gayle Ann April 11, 2019

    I was trying to read your comments, and I had some Golden help. Not sure what link was activated, but, I wound up on this post:

    The second picture looks like Anna and David, rather than Thomas. She stands the same way he stands, and the same stare, at least in this picture. For the most part, as I’ve said, she looks like Mary, and Thomas looks like David. Do Mary and David remember your previous house?

  5. Lisa April 11, 2019

    That is so cute that he’s so into it! I’d have a hard time with it too, but you gotta let the kiddos explore, right? My son is 14 months and just getting into digging in the dirt, so I’m sure he’ll love worms in no time!

    • amandakrieger April 12, 2019

      yes! my daughter is 16 months and she loves splashing in mud. she’ll be finding worms soon!


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