Nature At Home: From Kitchen Table to Compost Bin


Oh, to be a mother of a toddler. You have to help encourage them to eat their fruits and vegetables for ALL meals. I mean breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, snack, snack, snack, and oh yeah that infamous “car snack”. My toddler happens to be advanced in the area no I do not like/want to eat that”.

There are many things my toddler likes to eat other than the traditional “snacks stomach” like goldfish, “cheese puffs’, and applesauce and yogurt pouches. Happily, my toddler loves carrots, cucumbers, and apples! Does my toddler ever finish all of the food? You guessed it, NOPE! So instead of being upset and throwing the scraps away, or if the dogs just won’t eat it, we just got creative and started our compost! We are a family that loves to be outdoors. We are also a family that happens to love all things plants and gardening! Our toddler loves to be in the dirt and so we decided to take it up a notch by starting a compost bin.

Explaining Composting to a Toddler

Explaining what composting is to your toddler is as easy as saying:

“We eat yummy food and when we are all done with our food we have food scraps that we can give back to the earth and make healthy soil for our plants to grow and even grow more vegetables”

What is compost? Composting is a process that recycles organic materials that would be considered “waste” and it produces nutrient-rich soil. Here are some resources you can review to understand more about the benefits of composting and even where to take your food scraps here in Charleston. Compost is found easily at any garden center but how much fun is it to make in your own home with all of the things you already have, plus getting your toddler involved?!

kid playing with leavesGetting Started With How to Compost

To get started all you really need is a toddler who doesn’t eat all their breakfast/lunch/ dinner. In our household, we always say it’s okay if you did not finish all your food, and thanks for trying!

Think Brown and Green to put into your compost bin!

We also have a lot of plants in our house so there’s always dead foliage falling from the plants. Guess what…that can go in the compost too! Here are some things that I am sure you have around your house too that can get you started with your compost bin:  

  • Plants/leaves
  • Ground coffee
  • Eggshells
  • Uncooked Vegetables and Fruit peelings

Here is a fun list you can refer to if you are not sure if the food can be composted. We compost a few different ways, we use mason jars, Tupperware bins, and even this Gardening Tumbling Composter.

When the kids are involved with how their food grows, taking care of plants, watering plants, and cooking/chopping the food for dinner, they have a sense of ownership and accountability. “Taking it to my compost” is now our toddler’s absolute favorite thing to do! I mean, what kid does not like to dump things out and get messy!? It has been so much fun that after every meal she wants to go turn and check the compost. In a few months, we will be able to take the compost soil out and put it in our raised garden beds!

kid playing in nature, compostAs we gear up for spring, start this fun project with your kids! In no time you will have nutrient-rich soil for your budding plants and flowerbeds!

Here are some great books you can purchase about composting: 

Toddlers: The Little Composter

Pre-K/Kindergarten: Compost Stew

Elementary: Composting: Nature’s Recyclers

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Dani Lindstrom
Dani, a Charleston Native, returned to her roots to raise her family in 2020. An alumni of the College of Charleston, Dani began her career as an educator teaching kindergarten and preschool special education before earning her Masters of Theological Studies and Masters of Divinity from Columbia International University. Dani's passion is encouraging families and children to live a healthy sustainable lifestyle and loves to give back to the community! In her free time, you can find her cycling, hiking, and running, but mostly tending to her 80+ houseplants, outdoor vegetable garden, or out in nature with her husband Justin, daughters IvyFaith, EdenGrace, and Labradoodles Hootie and Wrigley. To keep up with Dani, follow her on Instagram @FoliageFaith


  1. Such a great perspective, haha! We’ve been loving our compost journey this year. We can’t wait to see the results and to continue to be more self-sustainable and regenerative. We’ll be checking out those books too. Thanks for sharing!

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