Grow a tiny cress garden

You don't need green fingers for this gardening project

Grow a tiny cress garden
by Natalie Keeler

Most planting projects take time. There are people in the world who can wait, and then there are people aged four and under... But cress is different. With its speedy seeds, cress is the friend of preschoolers and parents.

You can follow our simple guide to sprouting your own cress at home. And, we promise, you don't need to be Monty Don to make this work.

You will need:

  • Cotton wool
  • Cress seeds
  • A plate
  • Water

How to grow cress

Step 1

Cress seeds on cotton wool

Give your child cotton wool to place on a plate. Ask them to pour water over the cotton wool (carefully!), so it’s damp but not soaking wet.

Step 2

Now they can sprinkle a small handful of cress seeds over the cotton wool.

Step 3

Place the seeds on a windowsill, or a place where they will get sunlight.

Step 4

Check whether they need more water each day by touching the cotton wool to see if it’s still damp. If it’s dry, add a little bit of water until it’s damp again.

Step 5

After 10 days, your child will have cress they can eat! Until then, they can keep an eye on the cress and watch it sprout and grow.

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Reading & Writing

Learning guide

Growing cress is a brilliant way for kids to learn about what plants need to survive, and because it sprouts so quickly, it means they can see the entire growing process from start to finish. Ask your child what they think what might happen if the cress doesn’t get enough daylight, or too little or too much water. Can they write down how their cress is changing each day, or measure how tall it’s grown using a ruler?