Cress heads are the easiest things to grow with your kids. It is the perfect family activity as it is cheap, can be super creative with fun ideas and the process is super quick. You can see your cress start to grow in just seven days plus, it can also be very educational to teach about plant growth and seed dispersions.
What you will need:
Kitchen Roll, Cotton Wool or Soil
Egg Shells/Yoghurt Pots or Old Tights
Felt Tip Pens or Paint
Googly eyes and other decorative items + PVA glue (optional)
Rubber Bands (for the second option)
Clear Plastic Bottle
For Egg Shell/Yoghurt Pot Cress Heads
If you choose to use eggshells as your container then you will want to carefully crack the tips off and clean out the shells gently with water! (Don't waste your eggs though just save them when you use them). Used and cleaned yoghurt pots are the easier option as they are way less fragile and therefore will be much easier for your children to decorate.
Draw or paint onto your shells or pots to make them more fun for your kids. Make faces on the side so that the cress will grow like hair.
Now you can either use kitchen roll and cotton wool or soil as your base. If you use kitchen roll, take a small piece and put it at the bottom of the pot/shell and then wet your cotton wool and add it on top leaving some space at the top. If you choose soil then you will just need to fill your containers 3/4 of the way up.
Sprinkle the seeds on the top, but do not cover them!
You could even try and make it a science experiment by using both soil and kitchen roll and wool and see which one grows better. Also, try growing them in different conditions (e.g. some in the light, some in the dark, covered and uncovered, etc. )
You also have the option of creating your very own greenhouse with a clear plastic bottle (keeping your cress damp and warm). All you need to do is cut it in half and place your cress heads in the bottom of the bottle them replacing the top half of the bottle so the pot now appears to be inside it.
Remember to spray them with a little bit of water every day to ensure the cotton wool stays moist.
Caterpillar Cress Heads in Tights
Cut your old tights up at about knee length keeping the foot part so that you are left with a knee-high sock from the tights.
Lay your tights out flat and sprinkle the seeds about 3cm along the bottom of the tights - the aim is to get the cress growing upwards through the tights rather than straight out of the toes bit so don't have them all clumped at the bottom but spread out across the length of the tights. Then, cover the seeds in soil.
Fill the end of your tights to a tennis ball size of soil and then place a rubber band around it. Repeat this process 3 or 4 times depending on how long you would like your caterpillar.
Tie a knot in the end and then roll your tights over so that the seeds are at the top.
Then it's decorating time to transform your caterpillars but make sure you don't stick anything to where the seeds will be growing.
Once you are all done take your cress head and place it on a saucer with plenty of water and sunlight.
When the seeds start to germinate, cut a small cross in tights to help the cress grow.
Harvesting Your Cress
After approximately 10 days it will be time for your cress heads to have a haircut. Your cress should be fully sprouted and ready to eat so just chop some off and get munching.
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Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
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