Weekend Kids Activity: Seeds in a Jar

So how does a tiny little seed turn into a big beautiful plant? That’s exactly what we wanted to find out when we started this experiment.


  • Large glass jars
  • Seeds
    • Sunflower seed
    • Bean seed
    • Pea seed
    • Squash seed
    • You can use any you have around the house but we found these worked best!
  • Paper towel or white cloth/towel
  • Water
  • Ruler
  • Wonder journal/ journal/log (to write what you see happening each day)

Step 1: Fold up paper towels/cloths and stuff them into your glass jar. You want to tightly pack the paper towel until about ¾ full, because the water you add will shrink it down.

Step 2: Add seeds along the sides of the jar. We did one jar per type of seed, but you could do multiple seeds in one jar. Make sure your seeds are up against the glass so that the germination process is easier to see! This will also help the plant find sunlight.

Step 3: Add in a little bit of water at a time. You want the paper towel/cloth to be damp but not soaked! The jar should not be flooded with water, just moist. Put the lid back on your jar.

Bonus Step: Here are some videos you can watch about seed germination to help your child learn about the process and which parts of the plant that will sprout first!

Step 5: In your journal, record which seeds you used as well as some predictions you have about the experiment. This is also a great opportunity to draw out the parts of the shell, the parts of the plant, etc…

Questions you might ask:

  1. Which seed will sprout first
  2. Which plant will be the tallest?
  3. Which plant sprout will pop out a leaf first?
  4. Which root will be the biggest?
  5. Which seed will take the longest to sprout?

Take time to make predictions, write them out with your child, and draw pictures of the process together.

Step 6: Place the jars in a sunlit area. Each day, log what you see happening! Once the plants have sprouted, carefully unwrap them from the paper towels and bring them out to measure. Make sure to log when your questions have been answered!

What happened that you didn’t think would happen?
Would you do it differently next time?
Did you come up with more questions as the process went on? If so, what were they?

Fuel the curiosity by trying these experiments again and again!

Step 7: Find a nice little place to plant your seeds and watch them grow into full plants!

Want to learn more plant science? Use your library card to login to our Scienceflix database and look at “plant science”!

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