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Growing things

Here are some ideas for growing things with your class

Pips and seeds

A fruit is essentially an edible seed packet! Normally we eat the flesh and throw away the seed, yet saving the seed and nurturing it into life is the perfect opportunity for children to see at first hand the life cycle of plants from fruit to plant. Even if our climate is not suitable for exotic plants outside they should grow well on a warm classroom window ledge.

Good seeds and pips to try include  apple, avocado, date, lemon, mango, orange, papaya, passion fruit. How about getting the children to save the seeds from their fruit at snack time? Before planting the children could compare the types of seed. Ask them to look at the size, texture, and shape. You could talk about the different ways that seeds are dispersed (such as wind dispersing dandelions and sycamore, falling and rolling dispersing acorns and conkers etc).

Here is an animated video that looks at seed dispersal and features a bird that Poos!


How to grow oranges and lemons

  1. Soak the pips in water overnight. Plant them in small pot of compost to a depth of 4cm.
  2. Water the compost. For the seeds to germinate they will need frequent watering and a temperature of 25-32 degrees centigrade.
  3. It will take several years of careful nurturing to grow an orange or lemon tree, but it is possible. Good luck!

This is the same principle with sunflowers, beans and peas.

You don’t even need soil:

  1. Roll some paper or card into a tube shape and put it in a glass jar
  2. Poke a seed, that has soaked overnight, between the paper and the side of the jar so that it rests about half way down (broad beans are a good size for this)
  3. Carefully add a little water and place on a sunny window sill
  4. Check and top up with water regularly
  5. After a few days roots should start to grow


Grow an animal cress head

You will need:

  • A small empty yoghurt pot or similar (a carefully scraped out egg shell from a boiled egg can be used or a hollowed out potato)
  • Cotton wool
  • Cress seeds
  • Water

Decorate the container with a face of a cat, rat, pig, hen or any other farmyard animal you choose by sticking on simple cut out shapes, a lot can be done with squares, triangles and circles. Put enough cotton wool inside to fill the pot and sprinkle with cress seeds.

Water well and place in a warm light spot don’t forget to moisten with water every few days. The seeds should begin to grow within a couple of days. When the hair or fur is long enough give the head a trim and enjoy the cress on a tasty sandwich.



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