By Pam Miller
Few things continually amaze me at how enjoyable it is for children than digging for worms. It is an activity rich in learning opportunities and it is so satisfying and engaging for those who enjoy the sensory experience of playing in the dirt.
In addition to the large motor movements of digging and the fine motor control of pulling apart dirt and gently picking up worms, math and science concepts can be explored. Aside from counting worms, children can compare the lengths of the worms they find or categorize them in by thickness.
Another question to ask children is how do the worms move. Do they wiggle, or is it more like slithering? After these and other ideas and concepts have come to an end, worms can be returned to the soil where they were found, added to a compost pile, or put in a vegetable or flower bed.
Digging for worms is a regular activity on the Lab School playground, especially later in the fall when many of the plants are at the end of their life cycle and don’t require much care and attention. As mentioned in the article about reptiles in the classroom, staff hold to the guidelines of safety and respect as with all wildlife when supporting children in this activity.