Gardening Activity with Kids- Growing Plants on Cotton Wool

The one thing I love the most about my house is the patch of little greenery we have in our front yard and the backyard. It makes our mornings beautiful, our house cooler and our lives richer. My love for plants and greenery was inherited from my mom who has a certified green thumb and absolutely loves plants and gardens.

Gardening with kids is a relaxing activity and also one where you can teach kids so much without actually teaching them. Sam loves to water the plants, pruning them and even talking to them. This summer we are also trying to get her involved in more and more gardening activities and the first step was to start growing plants on cotton balls and then putting them in the soil. Growing a plant was also on our Summer activity list so we were happy to check this one off.

I think all of us have done this one time or the other in school and as I recall it was super exciting to see how ordinary looking beans could sprout out green and gorgeous plants. So I started this experiment for kids and recorded the growth of our plant every few days.


First off we collected some containers. I used some silicon cupcake molds which we used to make our recycled crayons and hence can’t be used for baking anymore and also some old toys from Sam’s collection. Container gardening is pretty easy and a good idea for gardening for beginners.

growing beans on cotton

We lined the containers with cotton balls and packed them in pretty good. Now we watered the cotton balls generously so that it locks in as much as moisture as possible. Sam was totally absorbed in the whole process and helped me with everything. Once the watering was done we put the pulses/beans/seeds on the cotton balls. We used kidney beans and black chick peas for our experiment.

Now keep the containers in a dry and cool place. For us because of the May heat the beans started sprouting the next day itself. When Sam saw the sprouts the next morning she was amazed. I think till then she wasn’t totally convinced that Mama could grow plants on cotton. (**laughing**). Over the next two days the sprouts grew longer and formed tendrils and even leaves. More gasps and wonderment from the child!!

growing plants in a cup

Once I was convinced that it was ready to be transferred to soil, we got a small little pot and I helped Samaira line it with soil till three-fourths and then we put in our little sprouts and put the top layer of soil over the roots. Watered the pot regularly and voila in the next two days we had a bona fide plant.

gardening with kids

We discussed so many concepts like how do beans sprout, why we need to water the plants, what do plants eat, why is soil important for plants to grow and so on. I don’t think if I had all the time in the world I could have taught Sam more about plants with any books or tools. I guess this is what they call “learning by doing”.

Sam takes care of her baby plants, waters them and yeah talks to them too. And we are ready to now start with some vegetable or flower seeds so that she can see the more tangible results of her efforts too.


What kids learn from this

Science: Discuss how plants grow, what they need to grow, look at the roots and talk about how plants absorb water,leaves, photosynthesis process etc.

Life Cycles: Talk about the various phases in a growth/life cycles. How a seed becomes a seedling, plant and then a tree. Talk about how shrubs, scrubs, trees etc.

Maths: Make a growth chart by measuring the length of the plants on a daily basis for a few weeks. You can also paste pictures of the growth of the plants in a scrapbook.

Physical Activity Activities involved in gardening like watering, weeding etc encourage physical work and therefore helps kids keep fit.

World We live What we eat, where it comes from, what are pulses, how are they different from vegetables and fruits, various kinds of beans and lots more.