This seed growing experiment is one of my favorites for so many reasons!
- It teaches kids about how plants grow.
- It gets them excited about vegetables (and fruit and flowers)!
- It’s simple and inexpensive.
- It’s genuinely incredible to watch these plants grow up close.
What you’ll need for this seed growing experiment:
- Clear cups (glass or plastic)
- Seeds of any kind
- Paper towels (about 2-4 sheets, depending on the size of your cup)
- Dry erase marker or permanent marker (to indicate the seeds on the cup)
First, pick out your seeds. We did pea, green bean, cantaloupe, radish and an assortment of wildflower seeds – but you can use any seeds you want! It was fun to take Finn to Lowe’s and have him pick out which seeds he wanted to grow.
Next, take your paper towels, wrap them around your hand so they form a tight spiral (so they can fit in the cup in an organized manner). Then, wet the paper towels so that they are moist but not soaking wet. They need to maintain some structure inside the cup. Then, place them in the cup so that they are snug against the edge of the glass. If the paper towels are falling down, just reinforce them with more damp paper towels.
Finally, stick the seeds on the outside of the paper towel so that you can see them through the glass. You can use your finger (or a pen) to create a small tunnel on the side of the paper towel so they can slide down the glass. You want to paper towel to be snug against the seed so that the seed gets the moisture from the paper towel. This will help it to germinate!
Then, mark your seeds (so you can remember what they are) and place in a sunny spot in the house! A central windowsill is a great spot so your kids can check on them every day.
If you’d like to make this into more of a formal experiment, here’s what we did:
Question: which seed will germinate (grow) the fastest?
Finn guessed that the green bean would grow the fastest because it was the largest. I “guessed” that the radish would germinate quickly because it was the smallest. (Also because I read online that it would! Ha!)
Keep track of the results and once the seeds have sprouted, you can do some more research with your little one about why they sprouted at the rate that they did. You could also have a “competition” on which seeds will grow the tallest or test different hypotheses based on how much sunlight or water your seeds are receiving.
Watching these seeds germinate was really amazing! It took a little patience at first, but once they sprouted I was amazed by how quickly they grew.
After they outgrow your cup, you can (very carefully) remove them from the glass cup and replant them. Note: the roots will grow into the paper towel so you have to be careful to gently detangle them.
We loved this planting experiment! It taught Finn so much about how seeds grow and the “story” behind our food. It’s such a wonderful way to involve our kiddos in healthy eating, too.
If you conduct this experiment, make sure to let me know which seeds you use and how it turns out! If you’re looking for more science experiments for preschoolers, check out this post: