Plant Life Cycles for Kids

We finished our unit on plant life cycles this week and took home our little radish plants. I forgot to water them the day before so they were kind of hanging by a thread. I have a natural black thumb I have come to believe. It just isn’t my forte. I can cook, and decorate, and I’m a pretty good artist and party planner. But my plants around my house are always looking a little beat up.

I start with this lovely book called THE TINY SEED by Eric Carle. It tells how plants travel by wind, water, animals and humans planting seeds. It is also on a youtube, but I usually just read the story to the kids.

Then we look at dried Lima Bean seeds that I’ve put in a bowl of water for 2 days. Each child gets a napkin and a tiny magnifying glass. The seed coats get very soft and peel off really easily. We look at the little root at the tip of the lima bean too and we talk about how that turns into longer roots that grow down into the dirt.  Then we get seeds and plant our own plants into pots of dirt. I usually do radish seeds because they germinate in 3 weeks. (if I don’t kill them before then!) A link to a fun lesson plan using Lima beans is HERE at A to Z Teacher Stuff. A link to a cute lima bean plant coloring page with labels to cut and paste is HERE at Kindergarten Crayons. Another one is HERE at TPT “Magic Beans”. It is a cute one too. 

Some years we take the lima beans and “sprout” them in cute little construction paper “Sprout Houses” stapling a baggie filled with wet cotton balls inside and hanging them onto the windows for a week. 

The next day I read the kids Flower Garden by Eve Bunting. It is a beautiful and colorful book that I love and they always do too. Then I have the kids look at my poster of Parts of a Plant too and we discuss the parts. Then we color a picture of a flower and label the seed, root, stem, leaf and flower. While they are coloring I show this short video that has a great visual (with clay-mation) on the parts of plants.

The next day I read the book Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert. And we do a mural of the parts of a plant, each child doing a flower, a stem, a root and a leaf. Then we mix them all up and glue them on each other’s roots and stems. It turns out looking like this. (I cut out a long strip of brown for the soil and glue that on before school starts onto a piece of blue butcher paper. Then I usually glue on a small sun in the top corner of the mural before we start. I tell the kids plants need sun, water, dirt and air to grow.

While the kids are coloring and cutting out their mural pieces, we watch the youtube below on what plants need to grow. Then we look at a Scholastic News on the needs of plants and parts of plants.

Other books we read during the week as we make a mini book and watch our plants grow are these;

Flower Garden by Eve Bunting
Sunflower House by Eve Bunting
The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel
Jack in the Beanstalk by Stephen Kellogg

The next day we read From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons. It is a true science book so I do skip over some of the parts. It is very detailed. But I love how she makes science interesting to kids. Then we color and cut out and staple together a mini book on parts of a plant and how plants grow. 
I found a cute one HERE at It was a freebie download and the kids loved it. 

Some years we do a terrarium out of a 2 liter clear soda bottle. We add dirt and succulents from my home garden, and shells and little rocks to it. It is a great activity but takes a lot of time cutting the bottles in half. 2 Liter bottle terrarium instructions HERE

We are almost done with our unit. The last thing we do is discuss parts of the plants we eat. I have lots of little cards of fruits and vegetables and we put them in categories in a pocket chart; leaves we eat, roots we eat, stems we eat and flowers/fruits we eat. 

This is the side of my black filing cabinets. It is the magnet center. Every few days I change the activity. Lots of times it is math or science. 

One of my centers I have made up is Parts of a Plant for the magnet center. Here is what it looks like. The kids love to put the 3 plants together and label them. 

A fun song we sing is this one: 
MUSIC  (use percussion instruments) 
A Seed Needs (To the tune of “Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay” )  
I see you are a seed,
Tell me what DO you need?
I need some soil to grow,
And then the sun to glow,
Water to make me wet,
Air for my leaves to get,
Space for my roots to spread,
I’ll make your flower bed!

by: Iram Khan


Lastly we do another science experiment using celery in a cup of water and adding food coloring to different cups of celery to see what happens when the celery drinks the water through the stems.
Check it out….We do THIS experiment at teaching tiny tots