By: Amy Grant
As old as I am, which I will not divulge, there is still something magical about planting a seed and seeing it come to fruition. Growing a beanstalk with kids is the perfect way to share some of that magic. This simple beanstalk project pairs beautifully with the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, making it a lesson in not only reading but science too.
The beauty of growing a beanstalk with kids is twofold. Of course, they get to live inside Jack’s world as the story unfolds and they also get to grow their own magic beanstalk.
Beans are a perfect choice for an elementary growing project with kids. They are simple to grow and, while they don’t grow overnight, they grow at a rapid pace – perfect for a child’s wandering attention span.
What you need for a beanstalk project includes bean seeds of course, any variety of beans will do. A pot or container, or even a repurposed glass or Mason jar will work. You’ll need some cotton balls too and a spray bottle.
When the vine gets larger, you will also need potting soil, a saucer if using a container with drainage holes, stakes, and gardening ties or twine. Other fantastical elements can be included such as a miniature Jack doll, a Giant, or any other element found in the children’s tale.
The simplest way to start growing a beanstalk with kids is to start with a glass jar or other container and some cotton balls. Run the cotton balls under water until they are wet but not sodden. Place the wet cotton balls in the bottom of the jar or container. These are going to act as “magic” soil.
Place the bean seeds between the cotton balls at the side of the glass so they can be easily viewed. Be sure to use 2-3 seeds just in case one doesn’t germinate. Keep the cotton balls moist by misting them with a spray bottle.
Once the bean plant has reached the top of the jar, it is time to transplant it. Gently remove the bean plant from the jar. Transplant it into a container that has drainage holes. (If you started out with a container like this, you can skip this part.) Add a trellis or use stakes and lightly tie the end of the vine to them using plant ties or twine.
Keep the beanstalk project consistently moist and watch it reach for the clouds!
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Planting and growing beans is a tradition in many preschool classrooms. This simple science activity is perfect when paired with the classic tale of Jack and the Beanstalk at school or home.
Growing their very own “beanstalk” is a very meaningful and memorable learning experience for all young children.
This short time lapse clip shows runner bean seedlings emerging from the ground, climbing up bean poles, flowering and, eventually, producing beans. Children who are waiting for their own beans to grow might like to watch these beans growing, apparantly at the speed that Jack's beanstalk gew! They could create their own photographic record of their beans, to show the change over time as the plant grows.
If you are growing runner beans with your class how about growing several varieties? Children can explore the seeds which come in a range of colours and patterns. Then they can work scientifically by observing how the beans change over time and by comparing how the different varieties grow.
Perhaps they could do a seed trial for Jack and let him know what would be the best variety to grow? Which variety grows the tallest? Which one has the most beautiful flowers? Which has the biggest beans? The most beans? The tastiest beans? Perhaps they could write a report for Jack.
Do be aware that the beans might start fruiting in the summer holidays. If they are picked regularly over the holidays they will still be cropping when the children come back in September. Don't forget that beans need to be grown up poles. These can be arranged in a wigwam and can double up as a den for the children.
Sunflowers are another crop which grows quickly and soon reaches a dramatic height.
If you are growing runner beans in the school grounds you might choose to send the young sunflower plants home. However, it is not uncommon for the plants to become neglected or forgotten about once they are at home.
One way to maintain interest and to ensure that the plants continue to be looked after is to let families know that this is to be their 'homework' for the rest of the term and expect them to regularly report back with information about the height of their plant and maybe with photographs. This information could be recorded in a graph where everyone can see it and make comparisons between the relative heights of the plants. If there is space, a life size graph is particularly dramatic as the children have to stand on tip toes and, eventually, on a chair to keep it up to date. The value of this is that it helps young children begin to realise how the information on a graph represents real life.
This resource will also support children to understand that crops are not only grown for food.
Finally, Jack and the Beanstalk Story is ending I hope your children very enjoy this story. This story is a very interesting story for little kids. If you want to tell more Bedtime Stories to your children then please check our website Amazing Story Home page. We write beautiful and moral stories for your kids.
We also create Audio stories for your kids, Check out our Disney Stories For Kids & Popular Bedtime Stories Podcast on Apple Podcast | Spotify Podcast | Google Podcast | Amazon Music.
This counting math game is so much fun and your kids will love it! It helps kids with number recognition, and counting as they move through the game board collecting chain links to grow their beanstalk.
The goal of this game is to collect the most chain links to grow the tallest beanstalk. If you don’t have chain links, just play it with paperclips. It will work just the same!
This game matches the Jack and the Beanstalk Alphabet activity as well as the Fairy Tale Mini Books if you want to make a whole unit on this!
Set up the game by printing all of the parts and pieces. Included in the set are game pieces, (characters from Jack and the beanstalk), a game board, game number cards and growing the beanstalk cards.
Punch a hole in your beanstalk growing card to attach the chain links.
Use the number cards to move through the game board. Place them face down. Kids draw a number cards and move that many spaces (or you can have them hop to the number drawn, either way works).
The number they land on is the number of chain links they collect. Sometimes the numbers have a minus sign in front of them meaning you take that number away from your chain.
Once all of the players make it to the end of the board (the castle), count the length of their chain and the winner is the one with the most links!
They each collected more than 20 links by the end of the game! It is great counting practice at the end of the game as well.
My kids loved this game and I hope yours do as well!
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Here’s a Jack and the Beanstalk activity that helps children experience this classic fairytale in a very interactive and fun way. By planting their own beans that will stretch up to their own castle, the story of Jack and the Beanstalk comes alive. This is a great activity to do at home with your kids or can easily be done in the classroom too. Actually, I borrowed this idea from my daughter’s teacher. She probably found it online. I am going to link to the Mrs. Goff’s Kinders because maybe this is where Abby’s teacher found it. This class also created a large beanstalk in their classroom. What a fun teacher. I would love for you to see her version too. She added little Jacks to the container. Abby has a fabulous teacher this year. They are doing a unit on fairy tales and learning about different versions of classic fairy tales from around the world.
Plastic Cups or Glass Jars
Bean Seeds (our teacher actually used peas)
Castle (Kids can design their own, or you can use this printable)
1. Color the castle. The castle in this picture was a pre-packaged and cut-out castle. I tried to find some online to make life easy for you, but I came up empty. Therefore, I decided to create a printable. If you print this out, you’ll be able to let the kids cut and color their own designs. For littler kids, you could pre-cut for them. The other option is to let kids design their own castles. I really like that idea. It would be fun to see what their imaginations create.
2. Cut out a blue cloud. Attach the castle to the blue cloud with glue. Use glue to also attach cotton balls around the castle.
3. Attach two long skewers to the cloud with tape. You will want the skewers to be angled so they’ll fit into the cup.
4. Fill a plastic cup with potting soil and plant your seed at the depth described on the back of the seed container. Stick your castle on skewers into the dirt.
5. Teach the kids how to care for their plant, place them in the window and watch the beanstalks grow until they touch the castle.