Hey. Psst. Kid. You wanna learn some science?
Hey. Parents. Wanna teach your kid about responsibility?
With the new trend of urban gardening, aquaponics is a cool way to put even the family pet to use in producing food and limiting your carbon footprint. Aquaponics marries the simplicity of hydroponics (growing plants without soil) with the fun of raising fish. Instead of using mineral enriched water, like in a hydroponics system, the fish waste (yes, the poo) fertilizes the plants and the plants, in turn, filter the poop and keep the tank clean.
Here’s a super creepy, kid-friendly animation describing the process:
Aquaponics is a great and easy way to give little scientists first-hand experience in biology and botany. They can grow anything from flowers to herbs to even vegetables depending on the size and equipment in the tank.
Back to the Roots recently finished a Kickstarter to fund the production of pre-made aquaponics systems that are the perfect size for a beginning gardener. A single fish can support a small herb garden and will only take up a small amount of space for you city-dwellers. Back to the Roots makes some other cool stuff we’ve covered before (check out their mushroom garden), and we dig their approach to creating cool products that engender an appreciation for sustainability at a young age.
Similarly, Jr. Ponics offers another smaller, kid-friendly example than can be used as a regular hydroponics system if you don’t think your scientist is ready for the responsibility of a fish.
Of course, making your own aquaponics system is a great DIY project for you and your little scientist. Urban Organic has some great, step-by-step instructions that will only run you about $120.
Aquaponics.com also has some wonderful instructions on how to make smaller systems for about the same cost or even less. At the bottom of the page, there’s even a list of cool experiments you can do with your kid to teach them about the scientific method. And as a bonus, these work great for science fair projects.