Growing Seeds with Toddlers

May 29, 2014

Activity for ages 1 to 5.

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… anyone! It’s the perfect compliment to our Plant Activity Pack.

Great tips for gowing seeds with Toddlers

Getting Ready

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
  • Glue
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Seeds

Growing Seeds

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 left over 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 carrot}.

Growing seeds with toddlers. {Playdough to Plato}

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 throughly misted the paper towel and added moistened cotton balls to help hold the paper towel in place.


Finally, we snapped on the lid, labeled the seeds, and the planting date.  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 so 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 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!

Plant Activity Pack

Learn about plants from start to finish with our Plant Activity Pack!



  1. Abby

    Hi! This is such a great idea. I’m a nanny for two toddlers and would love to do this activity, especially because it’s spring!

    I have a question: how many seeds did you put in a container? I’m planning on transferring these to a container garden when it’s nice enough out, but I don’t want to overcrowd the plants. Did you do three, or four seeds in each container? Based on your election of seeds, did it really matter how many you put in?


    • Noirin

      I put 3 seeds in a quart sized container. I wasn’t planning on transplanting them though. I would stick to 1-2 per container and after a couple weeks add soil to the container. They won’t grow well without soil for too long.

  2. Sarah @ Share it! Science News

    Great idea! I like that you were able to use what was around the house. Nice alternative to some of the more expensive containers they sell to view seeds germinating. Thanks for the post!

  3. zhang Travis

    It is a wonderful game for the Kids, I have a 4-year old son, I will conduct it with my son, I think he will be very excited when we do this .

    • Ashley

      We hope your son loves it!
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador



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