all about soil


All About SoilIt's no secret that kids and soil pretty much go hand-and-hand.  Kids definitely know where to find it.  They love to dig in it and love to get it wet and play!  While the kids might find playing in it fun.

What is Soil?

Ask questions to determine how much they do know.  Soil is a combination of materials, both living and non-living.  One part of soil is broken down rock.  Another is organic matter that is made up of decaying plants and animals.  Water and air are also part of soil.  These materials help support plant life by providing them with nutrients, water, and air.  Soil also keeps plants roots in the ground.  Ask kids about some of the things that live in soil.  For example, soil is filled with many living creatures which is responsible for keeping the soil healthy.  The most common living creature in soil is the earthworm.  Earthworms create tunnels in the soil, helping air and water.  They also eat from decaying plant materials, which pass through and fertilize the soil.  Healthy soil is one of the most important factors in growing healthy plants.

Soil Layers and Types

Soil differs from place to place.  Teach kids about the various types of soil by introducing them to their four components: sand, silt, clay and loam.  Get samples of each from different locations and let the kids touch and compare them.  have them write or tell about each.  For example, sand is the largest particle found in soil.  When you rub it, it feels rough and gritty.  Sand does not contain many nutrients but is good for providing drainage.  Silt falls between sand and clay.  Silt feels smooth and powdery when it's dry.  Silt also feels smooth when it gets wet but not sticky.  Clay is the smallest particle found in soil.  Clay is smooth when it is dry but it is sticky whenever it gets wet.  While clay can hold many nutrients, it does not allow much air or water to pass through.  Therefore, too much clay in the soil can make it heavy and unsuitable for growing most plants.  Loam, on the other hand, consists of a good mix of the three, making this type of soil the best for growing plants.  Loam breaks up easily, encourages organic activity and retains moisture while allowing for drainage and aeration.