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Growing Takes Time

With this activity, children can see day by day that living things grow.


With this activity, children can see day by day that living things grow.


• 3 or 4 dried beans
• Paper towels
• Glass jar with lid
• Water


Most plants grow very slowly. Here are some plants that grow rather quickly, so your child can see changes in a few days or a week.

  • Soak the dried beans overnight in some water. This will make the beans grow faster.
  • Line a jar with damp paper towels.
  • Place 3 or 4 dried beans between the towels and the jar so you can see them through the sides of the glass.
  • Keep the paper towels damp by adding a little bit of water to the bottom of the jar each day, as needed.
  • Check the seeds from time to time for signs of growth.
  • Within a week, the beans should sprout and start to grow. Eventually, leaves will begin to grow on the stem. Your child could make a chart to graph the height of the stem.
  • If it’s spring or summer, your child could plant the sprouts outdoors when the plants are about 2 inches tall. Your child can watch for changes that take place outdoors—more leaves, blossoms, and tiny beans. If the beans grow large enough, your child can open one and look at the new bean seeds inside.

Take It Further

It’s helpful to talk with children about times when they might have wait and prepare them with strategies of things they can do.

  • Waiting for a grownup to help them do something
  • Waiting to have a turn with a toy
  • Waiting for their parents to pick them up
  • Waiting for a special holiday or birthday
  • Waiting for a friend to arrive
  • Waiting in a doctor’s office

What other times can they think of?

Talk About It

How do children feel when they have to wait? Your children might enjoy hearing about times when it’s hard for you to wait, too. This is a good chance to talk about things they can do when they have to wait like: looking at a book, drawing a picture, or even thinking about a happy time they’ve had.

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