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Sesame Street

Observe, Record, Sprout

Introduce your child to the scientific process by observing and recording just like Oscar did.


  • Plastic sandwich bag
  • 2-3 Lima beans
  • Paper towels
  • Water
  • Paper or notebook
  • Crayons
  • Pencil


  1. In this bean sprout experiment, help your child develop the scientific process skills of prediction, observation, and recording. In an observation notebook or on a piece of paper, help your child write the date and draw a picture of the lima bean.
  2. Wet a paper towel with water so that it is damp but not soaked.
  3. Help your child carefully wrap the lima beans in the paper towel.
  4. Put the paper towel with the lima beans inside a plastic sandwich bag and seal it tightly.
  5. Place the bag in a sunny area, such as a window, so the beans will be exposed to light.
  6. Have your child make predictions, or guesses about what will happen to the bean.
  7. Observe the bean every day and record your observations in your notebook. Replace the paper towel with a damp towel if it dries. The beans should sprout within 2-3 days.

Talk About It

Talk to your child about what plants need to grow. What did the lima bean need to grow? Some plants, like the lima bean, just need water and sunlight to grow while other plants need soil as well. If your child predicts that the beans would not grow in soil or would grow better in soil, try it out with the "Take it further" activity!

Take It Further

Try another bean sprout experiment with your child. This time, plant the beans in soil. Fill a clear plastic cup halfway with soil. Place two lima beans into the soil and then cover them with more soil. Add water and put it in a sunny place such as a windowsill. Observe the beans every day and record your observations in your notebook. What do you notice? Did the bean sprout quicker in the soil than they did in the damp paper towel?

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