Sprouting bean plants is one of the most simple and easy science experiments that you can do with your child. Beans are the ideal vegetable for sprouting because they are large enough to be studied closely and take only a few days to begin to grow. Almost any bean will do, but pinto or kidney beans are among the easiest to get started. It is fascinating for both kids and adults to see the seed crack open and the tiny sprout emerge, especially when the bean plant later matures and adds to the dinner table.
Soak the bean seeds overnight in a small container filled with distilled water. Do not use chlorinated tap water, as it can sometimes prevent sprouting.
Fold a paper towel into a square approximately 4 inches high and 4 inches wide. Place the paper towel onto the center of a plastic plate and pour just enough water to wet the center of the paper towel well. Do not add so much water that it puddles.
Unfold the paper towel until it is half its original size. Place the soaked bean seeds onto half of the towel leaving 1/2 inch between each seed to prevent the sprouts from tangling when they emerge.
Fold the paper towel back over the seeds and press down lightly to make sure that the towel touches all of the seeds. Check to see that the paper towel is not hanging over the edges of the plate. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. If you notice any air holes, apply another layer of plastic wrap to make sure that the beans are tightly sealed.
Place the paper plate in a dark location that maintains temperatures of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Check the seeds after three days. Many of the seeds will start to crack open by this point. Some may have already sprouted. All of the seeds should have sprouted after seven days. Sprouted seeds are ready to transplant into growing pots.