Is your kid curious about where babies come from? He's probably too young for a scientific explanation, but you can help him understand how things grow and change with this lima bean activity. In fact, learning the parts of a plant happens to be a common unit in kindergarten science. Your young scientist will be fascinated to see how seeds send up “baby” shoots.
What You Need:
- Several dried lima beans (check the dried beans in your supermarket)
- Dish of water
- Dinner knife
- Magnifying glass
What You Do:
- For this activity, you'll need to prep the night before. Place a few lima beans in a dish and cover them with water. Leave them on the counter overnight. By the next afternoon, you'll see that they have swelled impressively—often double their size!
- Select a clear table top with good lighting, and lay down a clean paper towel. Help your kindergartener use the dinner knife to split a lima bean gently apart, starting from its rounded side (the other side forms a kind of “hinge” for the seed)
- Invite your young scientist to take a magnifying glass and look with you. Do you see the “baby” plant? At the "hinge” of the seed, check out the start of the root on one end—it's the thick, white fiber—and the more delicate start of the stem of the bean. And that big white protective seed? That's nutrition for the plant. All life, be it plant or animal, needs nutrition to survive.
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.