DIY Fun: Growing Jar


I know we are coming up on harvest season and planting season is well behind us. But little boys’ budding interests come when they come. And sometimes you just have to go with it.



The other day, Milo came to me with this book (I kick myself that I cannot remember who gave us this awesome book… whoever you are, thank you!) The Curious Garden by Peter Brown after having studied it for what seemed like hours. Mama, I’m going out back to plant a garden, he said. Hm… so I helped him gather a bunch of basil florets that had gone to seed and showed him how to crush them between his fingers above a sheet of paper to collect the teeny tiny seeds.


Then he planted them. Only, the next day, he was asking to see them grow. I explained that it would take a long time– many days, possible a couple of weeks, to see anything at all. He is not yet five, so this crazy concept of time is still lost on him.

But I remembered something I had seen on Pinterest (of course) involving a jar with a paper towel saturated with water, and a little seedling stuck against the glass. The caption: They will love to watch it grow, was perfect.

So we gathered up many seeds and beans and decided to start our own “growing jar.”

Here’s what we did:

We gathered various seeds (an acorn, an apple seed, a black bean, an azuki bean, a basil seed, and an unknown seed from a seed pod found on a nature walk). We placed several bunched up damp paper towels into a large mason jar, then carefully placed each seed between the glass and the paper towel so that we could watch each seed grow. We stuffed more paper towels in for support, being careful not to move the seeds out of view as we did so.




Then we very carefully added just enough water to moisten the paper towels well.


We put the lid on for the first day (but I ended up taking it off in the end) and placed the jar in a sunny window. We turned the jar daily so that all the seeds receive plenty of sunshine. And…

… then, we waited. DSC_0053

Disclaimer: watching seeds does not make them grow faster.

Eight days later, this had happened:DSC_0005


The azuki bean, black bean, and basil seed all sprouted pretty quickly. We’re still waiting on the others, but Milo and Oliver are fascinated to check the root progress on that crazy old black bean every day! It looks like some kind of deep sea creature, don’t you think?

Now go on and get started on your growing jar!

10 thoughts on “DIY Fun: Growing Jar”
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  1. Such a fun idea!! Will my 5 month old enjoy this? Probably not, but her mommy will. I need to start a Pinterest category of ‘Things to entertain kids when Mommy is out of ideas!’ This growing jar will be one of them, for sure!

  2. This is brilliant!!! I’m glad you had a picture of the growth results. When that acorn sprouts, it would be cool to plant it outside!

  3. I remember when I was a little girl, going to a pond to see the frogs cycle.. was amazing… I want to create those memories in my son’s heart… love it

  4. How clever! I haven’t sprouted any kiddlings of my own, but as an avid gardener I will have this in the back of my mind. Thank you for the inspiration!

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