During the spring and summer, the outside world seems to come alive. Everything is growing, and it’s fascinating to watch plants poke their first green buds out of the ground on their way to becoming full grown.
If you have a budding botany enthusiast in your home, the growing season offers the perfect opportunity to teach kids about seeds. They may have seen seeds sprout from dirt before, but you can help them dive even deeper into the anatomy of a seed by growing plants in a clear container to watch the seed develop. Follow the steps below for our seed experiment for kids.
Materials You’ll Need
To get started, assemble these materials:
- A small glass jar
- Bean and pea seeds
- Soil, though you can also use tissue or cotton wool
Beans and peas germinate more quickly than other plants, and their seeds are also larger, giving your young scientist a clear view of what happens in the jar.
Seed Experiment Directions
Start by putting the soil, tissue or wool at the bottom of the jar. Soil may be the easiest to use and produces the best growing results, creating a healthier plant that receives all the nutrients it needs to thrive. You should also use soil if you want to replant your pea or bean plant outside and make a crop. However, your child will have an easier time seeing the seed in the jar if you use wool or tissue.
Put a few seeds in the jar, placing them next to the glass for a good view. Add enough water to dampen the soil, wool or tissue. Set the jar in a window where the sun will provide sufficient light for the plant to grow.
Make Observations With Your Kids
Once you have your seed experiment underway, think about what you want your child to learn. Make a list of observations to look for as the seeds start to germinate and grow. Give your child a small notebook to record their findings each day. A few fun initial activities include:
- Having your child draw a picture of what the seeds look like once a week
- Recording any differences they notice in the seeds each day
- Predicting how many days it will take before the seeds flower
Create a Seed Experiment Calendar
Use a calendar to help your child make connections between time and growth. Mark the day you plant the seeds then track other essential dates in the growth process, such as when the following things appear:
- A sprout in the seed
- A leaf on the plant
- A flower on the plant
Once your child gets a feel for how long each step takes, ask them to predict when the first bean or pea they can eat appears. And when that vegetable finally grows, pop it off and share it with your child. Ask whether it tastes different from something you buy at the store and record their description of the size, taste and color of the veggie in their journals.
As the seed experiment continues, you can label parts of the seeds on the jar to reinforce the names. Identify the primary and secondary roots as well as the leaves and stem. Encourage your child to research other parts of the plant and label them.