Looking for creative ways to teach the plant life cycle? These fun and free activities include videos, hands-on experiments, printables, and more. Kids of all ages will learn about the cycle, and how they can help plants grow and thrive.
1. Read The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
Eric Carle’s The Tiny Seed is the perfect way to introduce the plant life cycle to little ones. Listen to it for storytime, then use the book as a springboard to further activities.
2. Start with an anchor chart
Have your students help you create an anchor chart of the plant life cycle, then post it in your classroom for reference as you do some hands-on learning.
Source: First Grade Fanatic/Pinterest
3. Let SciShow inspire a lesson
We love SciShow! If you need a strong video to kick off a lesson about seeds or the plant life cycle, this is a good place to start.
4. See it grow in slow-mo
Check out this time-lapse video, showing the fabulous details of how a plant’s root system grows quickly over the course of a few days. After this, kids will definitely want to see it happen for themselves!
5. Spin a plant life cycle plate
Grab the free printables and watch this video to learn how to turn them into an interactive learning tool with paper plates.
Learn more: Plant Life Cycle Printables
6. Germinate in a jar
This is one of those classic plant life cycle activities every kid should try. Grow a bean seed in wet paper towels up against the side of a glass jar. Students will be able to see the roots form, the sprout take off, and the seedling reach for the sky!
Learn more: How Wee Learn
7. Build a sprout house
This is another cute idea for watching seeds sprout. For this one, all you need is a sunny window (no soil required).
Learn more: Playdough to Plato
8. Sort sprouted seeds
As your seeds begin to grow, sort and draw the various stages. Little ones can learn simple vocab like root, sprout, and seedling. Older students can tackle advanced terms like cotyledon, monocot, and dicot.
Learn more: Montessori Nature
9. Learn whether plants really need light
Most plants need light to grow and thrive. Prove that fact for yourself with this simple experiment.
Learn more: Life At The Zoo
10. Create living art with cress
Watercress is fun to watch because it grows very quickly on damp cotton. Try growing it as “hair,” or sow the seeds to create patterns or letters.
Learn more: The Imagination Tree
11. Sprout sweet potatoes
Not every plant needs seeds to reproduce! Grow a sweet potato to learn about a different kind of plant life cycle.
Learn more: Pre-K Pages
12. Find out why seeds have coats
Seed coats provide protection, but what happens if you remove them? Go hands-on and find out in this interesting experiment.
Learn more: Gift of Curiosity
13. Sculpt the plant life cycle in clay
Can’t grow a plant yourself? Sculpt one from clay instead! Watch this Claymation video for inspiration, then pull out the Play-Doh and get to work!
14. Don’t forget about pollinators!
Seed-bearing plants require pollination, often helped along by insects like bees and butterflies. This pipe cleaner activity shows little ones how pollination works.
Learn more: Pollinators/Around the Kampfire
15. Explode a seed pod
Plants that rely on seeds as part of their life cycle need to ensure they spread far and wide. Some plants even have exploding seed pods that help the process along! Learn about them in this cool activity.
Learn more: Seed Pods/Around the Kampfire
16. Display a life cycle bulletin board
We love how clean and easy-to-understand this plant life cycle bulletin board is. And those colorful flowers are a fantastic touch!
Source: Leslie Anderson/Pinterest
17. Wear a plant life cycle hat
Get some practice sequencing as you cut out and paste together this sweet little topper. Kids will love wearing it as they learn.
Learn more: Herding Kats in Kindergarten
18. Fold a flower flipbook
The petals of this free printable flower unfold to reveal the stages of a plant’s life cycle. So clever!
Learn more: Teaching Momster/Teachers Pay Teachers
19. Diagram paper plants with shredded soil
This plant life cycle diagram uses paper shreds for soil, a cupcake liner for the flower, and more smart little details that kids will really appreciate.
Learn more: Cara Carroll
20. Try a digital flipbook
Learning online? This free digital activity includes a printable version for kids to complete at home, but it can also be completed virtually to save paper.
Learn more: Conversations in Literacy
21. Sequence a sunflower story
Tell the story of a sunflower life cycle with this free printable activity. Cut out the sunflower petals, stem, and center flaps from construction paper, then put the sentences in order and attach them to each flap.
Learn more: Kroger’s Kindergarten
22. Regrow kitchen scraps
Here’s another project showing that not every plant needs seeds. Save kitchen scraps and try regrowing them, with or without soil.
Learn more: A Piece of Rainbow
Got a green thumb? Try these 18 Clever Ways to Bring Gardening Into the Classroom.