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Planting Bean Seeds

Plant beans in soil and plastic sandwich bags.


  • plastic cups (with hole poked in bottom for drainage)
  • plastic plates to rest the cups on
  • potting soil, without added fertilizer
  • dry kidney or lima beans (NOTE: these must first be soaked overnight)
  • water spray bottles
  • tape
  • plastic wrap
  • paper towels
  • plastic sandwich bags
  • magnifying glasses
  • camera
  • large wall chart, “Our Plants” (chart described in Watch Them Grow learning center)

Key Science Concepts

  • Plants grow from seeds.  
  • Plants need water to grow.


Encourage children to use the plant words bean, seed, and soil. Emphasize science process words like observe, describe, compare, and predict.


Tell children that they will be planting two different ways. They will plant some bean seeds in soil and some in a plastic bag without soil.

Planting in Soil

  1. Let each child fill a plastic cup most of the way with potting soil and plant 2–3 beans. Cover the seeds gently with soil. (Plant some additional seeds in a few extra cups, just in case some of the children’s don’t grow.)
  2. Show children how to moisten the soil, using the water spray bottle. Ask, Why do you think we’re putting water on the seeds?
  3. Help children write their names on tape and label their cups. Put plastic wrap over the cups and place in the Watch Them Grow learning center. (The plastic wrap will help the soil stay moist. Remove the plastic when seedlings appear.) Ask, Do you think we will be able to see when the beans first start growing? Why or why not?

Planting in Plastic Bags

  1. Next, tell children that they will plant some beans in clear plastic bags, without soil. Ask, Do you think that the seed will grow in the bag?
  2. Have children fold a paper towel to fit in a plastic sandwich bag. Then have them wet the paper towel and put it in the bag. Place 3–4 beans on the towel and then fold over the top of the bag. Help children label their bags and attach them with tape to a window or a bulletin board that you’ve designated as the Watch Them Grow learning center.

Documenting Plant Growth

Explain that they will check on the beans in their cups and bags each day. Take photos of children’s planted beans in the cups and bags.  During learning center time, post them on Day 1 on the large wall chart, “Our Plants.” 

Reflect and Share

Talk about what they think will happen with their planted beans. What do you think is going to happen in the cups? In the bags? Why do you think that?  In their Plant Journals, have children draw pictures of the beans they planted in both the cups and the plastic bags.  

If you haven’t already, have children add some dry beans to the Seed Museum.