27 Free Plant Life Cycle Activities That Grow the Learning Fun

Sow the seeds and watch the learning grow!

Looking for creative plant life cycle activities? We have 27 fun and free teaching ideas including videos, hands-on experiments, printables, and more. Your students will love learning 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 one of the best plant life cycle references for little ones. Listen to it for story time, then use the book as a springboard for further activities.

2. Start with an anchor chart

Anchor chart showing the life cycle and parts of a plant

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.

Learn more: Plant Anchor Chart from First Grade Fanatic/Pinterest

3. Explore the question “How does a seed grow into a plant?”

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.


Learn more: SciShowKids on YouTube


4. See it grow in slow-mo

Check out this time-lapse video that shows the fascinating 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 wheel

Printable worksheet showing the plant life cycle in a circle for plant life cycle activities

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 from WeAreTeachers

6. Germinate in a jar

Bean seeds growing in a mason jar full of wet paper towels

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: Germination Jars from How Wee Learn

7. Build a sprout house

Paper house with plastic bag window containing bean seeds, labeled My Little Sprout House (Plant Life Cycle Activities)

This is another cute idea for watching seeds sprout. For this one, all you need is a sunny window (no soil required).

Learn more: Sprout House from Playdough to Plato

8. Sort sprouted seeds

Young student sorting sprouted seeds according to the part of the plant life cycle they've reached

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: Seed Sorting from Montessori Nature

9. Conduct a plant dissection experiment

Student holding a portion of a plant over a worksheet labelling different parts of a plant (Plant Life Cycle Activities)

Using magnifying glasses and tweezers, students will dissect flowers or food plants to learn the different parts. Handy tip: You don’t need separate plants for every student. Bring in one plant and give each student a different part.

10. Create living art with cress

Watercress grown in two round jars filled with wet cotton, with faces drawn on the jars. Text reads Growing 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: Watercress Growing from The Imagination Tree

11. Sprout sweet potatoes

Sweet potato suspended in a jar of water by toothpicks, with roots and sprouts growing from it (Plant Life Cycle Activities)

Not every plant needs seeds to reproduce! Grow a sweet potato to learn about a different kind of plant life cycle.

Learn more: Sprouting Sweet Potatoes from Pre-K Pages

12. Discover why seeds have coats

Two plates of sprouted seeds, one with seed coats removed

Seed coats provide protection, but what happens if you remove them? Go hands-on and find out in this interesting experiment.

Learn more: Seed Coating Experiment from 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!

Learn more: iKit on YouTube

14. Don’t forget about pollinators!

Students wearing pipe cleaner bees on their fingers over a plate of cheese powder (Plant Life Cycle Activities)

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: Pipe Cleaner Pollinators from Around the Kampfire

15. Grow an avocado

students hands pouring water into a cup with an avocado seed perched at the top with toothpicks

Did you know that an avocado seed has a fault line? Learn this and more in this DIY activity which teaches kids how to grow their own avocado plant.

Learn more: Grow an Avocado by Generation Genius

16. Explode a seed pod

Students exploding a balloon full of seeds and sand (Plant Life Cycle Activities)

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 Activity from Around the Kampfire

17. Display a life cycle bulletin board

3-D bulletin board showing the plant life cycle with paper flowers

We love how clean and easy to understand this plant life cycle bulletin board is. And those colorful flowers are a fantastic touch!

Source: Life Cycle Bulletin Board from Leslie Anderson/Pinterest

18. Go outside to conduct a plant study

child's hand holding a weed from leaf to roots (Plant Life Cycle Activities)

After reading a story about what botanists do, students head outside to do a little field work themselves. Not only will they learn a lot, they may help clean up the school grounds!

Learn more: Botanist for the Day by FirstieLand

19. Create a plant life cycle hat

Young student wearing a paper hat showing the plant life cycle

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: Plant Life Cycle Hats from Herding Kats in Kindergarten

20. Learn how seeds spread

young student holding up a DIY seed model made from paper (Plant Life Cycle Activities)

Using a piece of paper and a paper clip, students will make a model of a maple seed. When they launch their seeds they can watch them spin to the ground like a helicopter.

Learn more: Make a Seed Model by Generation Genius

21. Fold a flower flip-book

Collage of flower life cycle flap book images

The petals of this free printable flower unfold to reveal the stages of a plant’s life cycle. So clever!

Learn more: Flower Flip Book from Teaching Momster/Teachers Pay Teachers

22. Diagram paper plants with shredded soil

Paper flower with center divided to show the life cycle of a plant (Plant Life Cycle Activities)

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: Diagram Paper Plants from Cara Carroll

23. Leaf Chromotography

different colored leaves laid out on a table

The different colors found in leaves are created by different chemicals-chlorophyll, flavonoids, carotenoids, and anthocyanins. In this experiment students will see if they can get the pigments in the leaves to separate through chromatography so they can take a closer look at the colors found inside leaves.

Learn more: Leaf Chromotography by A Little Pinch of Perfect

24. Paint with Chlorophyll

a trio of pictures showing a student creating art by rubbing chlorophyll from leaves (Plant Life Cycle Activities)

Integrate art as students learn the importance of chlorophyll and its role in how a plant makes its own food.

Learn more: Paint with Chlorophyll by Around the Kampfire 

25. Try a digital flip-book

Digital plant life cycle flipbook screenshot with printed version of book too

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: Digital Flip Books from Conversations in Literacy

26. Compare soils

Two schoolchildren pouring dirt into pots at a worktable (Plant Life Cycle Activities)

Plants need many things to grow: sunlight, water and food. In this experiment students will see which plant grows better, one in plain soil or one in fertilized soil.

Learn more: Plant Growth Conditions activity by Generation Genius

27. Regrow kitchen scraps

Plants growing from veggie scraps like lettuce and carrots

Here’s another project showing that not every plant needs seeds. Save kitchen scraps and try regrowing them, with or without soil.

Learn more: Regrow Kitchen Scraps from A Piece of Rainbow

If you liked these plant life cycle activities, check out  Clever Ways to Bring Gardening Into the Classroom.

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The potential of a seed never fails to amaze! Introduce young learners to plant science with these hands-on plant life cycle activities.