Spring is the perfect time to teach little ones about plant life. This simple kids’ science project is a hands-on way to show kids what really happens to seeds buried in the earth. Grow seeds with toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners – or any little learner!
Follow the simple step-by-step below and then grab 30 more easy-to-follow science experiments kids will beg to repeat (plus a no prep science journal to keep track of their results!) in our shop or on Teachers Pay Teachers!
To grow seeds, I gathered together a few simple supplies:
- Several tall, clear plastic containers I could find (make sure it has a lid if you have a toddler.)
- Paper towels
- Cotton balls
- Spray bottle with water
It took me a matter of minutes to prep for this activity. I grabbed a couple of old take-out containers with lids and several packets of leftover seeds and called my 1.5 and 4.5 year-olds over.
I asked each child to pick the 3 seeds they wanted to plant in their container and then helped lay them out so they could observe them. We talked about the different sizes, shapes, colors and even texture of the seeds. My 4 year-old, A, loved showing her little brother which seeds grow foods we eat (pumpkin, green beans, corn, and peas) and which seeds grow leaves or roots we eat (cilantro and carrots).
Of course my son, Q, instantly tried to eat the green bean seeds – thus the need for finding a container with a lid if you’re doing this with toddlers!
Next, I folded a paper towel in half and placed 3 dots of glue (one for each type of seed) a couple inches from the bottom of the paper towel. The kids then glued a seed (or two) on each one of the glue dots to prevent the seeds from falling to the bottom of the container.
After allowing the glue to dry a little, I placed their paper towels in the plastic containers. The kids thoroughly misted the paper towel and added moistened cotton balls to help hold the paper towel in place.
Finally, we snapped on the lid and labeled the seeds and the planting date. It was time for growing seeds! I knew I wanted this to be toddler-friendly, so I chose a plastic containers instead of a crystal clear glass one. I also wanted to prevent Q’s curious little hands from pulling out the seeds, so we put lids on them.
The kids ended up carrying around the containers to watch the seeds, so I’m glad I made the containers kid-safe.
A and Q were delighted when the first seeds sprouted a few days later. The green beans, peas and corn sprouted first. Followed a few days later by the pumpkin, cilantro and carrots. They were amazed that the beans, pea and corn seedlings grew so fast and we were all shocked to see corn had bright red roots.
After 2 weeks, the bean, pea and corn seedlings became too tall for the container and we removed the lids. A continued to check and mist the seedlings every morning. One day, she was commenting on the “tons of hairy roots” when she noticed some small black dots on the pea seed. She asked what they were and was saddened when I told her the pea seedling had begun to grow mold.
A few days later, A decided the plants needed soil. This wasn’t part of my plan but since we used a plastic container it was easy to do. I simply poked several drainage holes in the bottom with a nail and we gently removed the paper towel and cotton balls before adding soil. Now we are just waiting until the weather is warm enough to plant the seedlings outside – although I’m not sure we’ll be able to untangle all those roots!