Growing Cress Heads and Cress Initials!

 We have been having fun with an easy indoor growing project and learning lots of fun facts about nature and science along the way!
Cakie filled up some plastic tubs with cotton wool balls and watered them until they were damp (but not soaking wet.) We decided to try and grow a cress head each and also some cress in the shape of her first initial too! Playful literacy mixed up with a whole lot of investigative fun.
We had a packet of very inexpensive cress seeds from the supermarket and she sprinkled them very liberally into the two round yoghurt tubs! (yes, there are zillions all over the floor!) She later decorated the  tubs with eyes and mouths to give them little faces and turn them into cress heads! She used stickers for eyes and they were adorable.
I talked to her about growing some in the shape of a letter C and she was so excited to see what would happen. I sprinkled these seeds on and it was harder than I first thought to get them neatly into the correct shape!
We placed them near the window in the kitchen and added a small amount of water every other day, to keep the cotton wool damp. I explained about the seeds being able to grow without soil, as long as they had water and sunshine and she was very excited to see what would happen.
The wonderful thing about cress (as every early years teacher will be able to confirm!) is that it grows SO remarkably quickly that it is fantastically satisfying for young children.

Here’s how quickly it all happened!

By day 6 the cress had grown fully and it was time to give it a hair cut! Also a great way to sneak in some scissor skills in a fun and creative way, and something that Cakie is just beginning to show a real interest in too.

Snip, snip, snip! She went from 2 handed scissor control to 1 handed in this little hairdressers game!

The little cress heads looked rather the worse for wear after their “shearing” by the toddler hairdresser, but they still managed to smile!

And we were left with a whole bowl full of cress to eat in our salad!

Learning Links:

  • science: investigate how plants grow, grow plants from seed, learn that a plant needs light and water to grow
  • maths: talk about growing from small to big, measure growth and height, make comparisons
  • phse: take care of another living thing, learn responsibility
  • literacy: begin to recognise graphemes and significant letters from own name
Cakie: 3 years and 4 months


  1. says

    Ahh – Cress-heads! Have you tried sprinkling bread and butter with a little cress? It’s a Milly-Molly-Mandy ‘recipe’ and is the only way my two will even contemplate getting the green stuff near their mouths. Delish!

  2. says

    This is another great idea. Your ideas are the best because they are simple and doable, but are well carried out from beginning to end and maximize learning effortlessly each step along the way! Thank you!

  3. says

    I can’t find the seeds anywhere in the states. Chia seeds are expensive bc apparently they are used as a nutritional supplement. Any other ideas or sources for the seeds. Would love to do this with my kids.