Planting bean seeds is an activity that is appropriate for children of all ages. Kids can participate at different levels based on their age and skill level. Younger children will enjoy putting their hands in the dirt and watching the seedlings sprout and grow, while older children are able to perform science experiments and gain valuable gardening experience. Bean seeds are the best choice for children because they sprout quickly and easily, are simple to care for and are relatively inexpensive.
Plant bean seeds in small or large containers, indoors or outdoors. Bean seeds do not need a lot of soil to sprout and grow. Place 2 inches of moist potting soil into a small container or large tub, depending on how many seeds you want to grow. Lay seeds on top of the soil and cover with another 1/2 inch of moist potting soil. Position the container in a sunny window or outside in a sunny location. Keep the soil moist and watch as the bean seeds sprout and push through the soil. Plant bean seeds indoors any time of the year, and outdoors only in the spring and summer.
Sprout bean seeds in plastic bags, giving children the opportunity to watch each stage of the seed as it sprouts. Place a folded, damp paper towel into a plastic zip-close sandwich bag. Add one or two bean seeds next to the damp paper towel. Tape the bag to a window and the bean seed will begin to sprout after a few days. Check the paper towel daily to make sure it does not dry out or begin to mold. Alternatively, moisten several bean seeds and place them in a glass jar on the windowsill to sprout.
Experiment with different types of bean seeds. Plant or sprout a variety of different bean seeds, labeling the containers or bags with the date and seed variety. Have the children watch and observe how the different varieties of bean seeds grow. Some seeds will sprout faster than others, some will grow taller or wider than the others and some will grow different shaped leaves. Have the children look for and record other differences they notice as well.
Create curly-haired bean people. Have the children decorate Styrofoam cups with markers, paint, felt, wiggly-eyes, pom-poms or other items to create a face. Fill the cup 2/3 full with potting soil, cover the soil with a layer of bean seeds and top with soil. Water the cups well. When the bean seeds sprout, they will create curly hair for the cup people.
- "Better Homes and Gardens New Junior Garden Book"; Felder Rushing; 1999
- "The Kids' Nature Book: 365 Indoor/Outdoor Activities & Experiences"; Susan Milord; 1996