Spring is a time of new growth and life for many parts of nature. Every time you look outside, it gets a little greener as plants begin to bloom and thrive. I’ve always found this time of year to be fascinating, and I hope to share my love of spring on to little ones. I think that one of the best ways to do this is to allow them to be a part of the new season and teach them to grow and nurture a young seedling themselves.
To make this craft, you will need small clay flowerpots or glass mason jars, cotton balls, dried beans (for faster results, choose lima beans, pinto beans, or mung beans!), and water. Before your kid plants their beans, encourage them to decorate and personalize their plant’s new home! Lay out your Brat Mat to prevent messes and provide a variety of paints, glue, and decorations. For paint, I recommend acrylic paint because it will dry waterproof and there’s no risk of washing away your child’s art during the watering process, however, it is permanent once dry – if your child’s mess can’t be contained to their Brat Mat, washable children’s paint might be more suitable!
When all the containers have been decorated and dried, it’s time to begin growing! Fill the pot or jar with cotton balls and have your kid tuck a bean or two between the cotton balls and the walls of the container. Pour water over the cotton balls until they are damp but not soaked and place the pot or jar on a plate to prevent drips. Move the entire setup to a sunny location near a window and wait for the magic to happen! Within 2-3 days the beans should start sprouting roots, and in less than two weeks a small stem will form. In a couple more days, leaves will begin to grow and from that point on the plant will continue to grow taller with more leaves!
For further learning opportunities, help your child make a growth chart to record their plant’s progress – include easy-to-measure characteristics such as height and number of leaves. Encourage your child to observe their plant daily and record descriptions or measurements of the growth – for this reason, I suggest clear glass jars rather than clay pots so that root growth is visible during the first few days and your child won’t become bored with the lack of visible progress. Teach your child to participate in watering whenever the cotton balls feel dry to the touch. Spark discussion with your child by asking questions about their observations and teaching them about the processes happening within their new plant!
Once the bean plant is tall and strong enough to be replanted (after about 3 or 4 weeks), it can be carefully removed from its container and cotton balls before being replanted outdoors in soil. Your child can continue to monitor the plant’s growth and, if they’re lucky, maybe someday they’ll discover new beans growing!