Are you looking for an activity to welcome Spring? Create a mini greenhouse with your child; they will love watching it grow! The best part is that it’s fun and educational, as this STEM activity has many teachable opportunities! Before getting started, take a look around your house and discuss with your children what plants need to grow. Ask open ended questions and use new vocabulary such as roots or photosynthesis.

Now let’s build our own bean greenhouse!

Materials for STEM Activity:

  • Droppers (to help manage water)
  • Cup of water
  • Paper Towels
  • Plate or tray
  • Lima or Green Bean Seeds (soak overnight in water to help with faster sprouting process if you would like)
  • Ziploc bag
  • Green paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape

Step 1:

Place the paper towel on a plate or tray. Then have your child fill the dropper from the cup of water. Drip the water onto the paper towel and get it nice and wet. Then, have your child fold or roll up the wet paper towel and place it on the bottom of the Ziploc bag.

Step 2:

Continuing on with this STEM activity, take up to 4 beans and drop them in the bag on top of the wet paper towel. Now, seal the bag shut.

Step 3:

Once your child has their beans ‘planted’ they are ready to make their greenhouse. Have your child cut out a house that you drew on green paper. Make sure it is big enough so that the bottom half of the house is about the size of the square Ziploc bag (see image above). Help your child cut out the center square.

Step 4:

Tape the cut greenhouse to the front of the Ziploc bag so that the beans can be seen in the center. Then, adhere it to a window that gets lots of sun! Check in daily and watch your beans grow!

Turn it into a STEM Activity

You would be surprised how many activities consist of STEM learning opportunities. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

Science: You’ll explore plants and their growth process. Ask your child what they think will happen to the seed in the bag and then go through the scientific method: form a hypothesis, observe/gather data, and draw a conclusion. In addition read and discuss the life of a plant. Check out this book, “From Seed to Plant,” by Gail Gibbons.

Math: Your child will be excited to check on their plant each day. Keep a picture journal with dates, having your child draw what they see (this adds art, making it a STEAM project). Ask your child what they see to encourage more detail in their drawing. When the bean sprouts, start measuring it in centimeters and keeping note in the journal. You will notice the stem growing taller and the roots spreading down and out; this gives you two things to measure. After 7-10 days of growth turn the measurements into a word problem. “On the first day your bean sprouted it was 1 cm tall and now it is 7cm. How many cm did it grow?”

Take this STEM activity one step further and go on a field trip! Has your child ever seen a greenhouse? This would be a great time to visit a local greenhouse and talk with the farmer. Bring some produce home and start cooking to bring the project a full circle. Take a look at our online class, Encouraging Curiosity & Learning Through Play, to see how you can provoke thought in your child’s play every day.

About The Author

Jaclyn Capilli has over 10 years experience working with children. After graduating from Curry College with her Bachelor Degree she worked as a paraprofessional in a special need’s classroom. Then while in Graduate school at Cambridge College she nannied for a local family for 3 years. After moving back to the South Shore she worked for Head Start for 5 plus years while nannying for a local family. She is now a mother of two and is working for Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny. She owns Jaclyn Nicole Photography, a photography business in the South Shore. In her free time she likes reading, going for hikes and making memories with her daughters.