Preschoolers can learn about bean seeds and bean plant growth in a variety of ways. By keeping the information simple and basic, and utilizing different methods of illustrating the concepts, teachers can offer each child different ways to understand the information. The information should be understandable by and interesting to preschoolers. They can participate in hands-on science projects, reading and listening, and other learning activities.
Teachers should let children discuss different kinds of beans they like to eat. The concept of bean seeds can be illustrated by having examples of green beans, lima beans, white, black, red and pinto beans for the preschoolers to examine. Children can also open fresh green bean pods to find the bean seeds inside.
Children can discuss things beans need to grow. Soil, water and sunlight should be the focus of the discussion.
Each child should plant one or two bean seeds in a Styrofoam cup of potting soil. Teachers should discuss how the soil holds water that the bean needs to grow, and how it keeps the seed moist. Children can place the cups in a sunny window. The discussion should center on how the sun warms the soil and how the sprouted bean leaves will reach up toward the sunlight.
While the preschoolers are waiting for their beans to sprout, teachers can maintain interest by reading a preschool version of "Jack and the Bean Stalk" or other appropriate stories.
After reading, teachers can have the children crouch on the floor, imagining they are little beans in the ground. Pretending with a watering can, teachers can walk around the room sprinkling "water" on the little "beans." Sunlight can be represented by dimming the lights and then turning them bright again. The children "grow" by standing up and reaching high. Playing music during this activity makes it more fun. This activity may be repeated each day when the children check to see if their bean seeds have germinated.
A discussion of leaves should explain that leaves make energy for the bean plant from sunlight. Bean leaves are wide and flat, so they can gather lots of sunlight. Children can color leaf-shaped cut-outs green for a simple activity. The children can hold these "leaves" in their hands when they do their growing activity.
Teachers should plant some extra bean cups early to have some ready. A bean should be dug after about five days to show the children the root growing from the bean. When the children do their growing activity, they can wiggle their feet like roots and hold the "leaves" in their hands.