Sowing and Growing Beans with Children

Beans are perfect  for sowing and growing with children.  These tasty, nutritious foods belong to the legume family and are easy to plant, grow and taste great.  You can choose between runner, climbing French beans and dwarf beans and they can all be treated in the same way.

Beans are perfect for a sunny, well-drained spot. They prefer to grow in moist, fertile soil in a sheltered spot away from strong winds, but can also be grown successfully in pots.


  • Sow indoors in March or outdoors later.
  • Plant Out: from April onwards.
  • Harvest: from 12 – 14 weeks.
  • Where to plant: in the ground, large container (at least 30cm wide)
  • What to sow: seeds or use plants bought from a garden centre
  • Latest sowing time: June.
  • Don’t forget the beanpoles unless you are growing dwarf beans.


green bean seeds

The seeds really are bean-sized easy for little fingers to pop them into a pot of soil. They are also reliable germinators and you can usually see them pop their heads above the soil within one to two weeks. Not too long for a child to wait. Remember those experiments you undertook at school with a piece of blotting paper or kitchen roll in a jar with a bean. The roots spreading downwards and the stem sprouting upwards like the bean from Jack and the Beanstalk. They really do grow at a triffid-like pace.

Here’s how we sowed and planted our beans.

green bean seeds

Take 20 pots, sowing composmt beans seeds and a spoon.  I always find that children will be able to handle a spoon easier than a trowel.

sowing beans

Fill each pot with the sowing compost and press down ensure you leave at least 1/2 an inch space from the top ofthe pot.  This makes watering easier.  Push in one bean per pot by about 4 cms making sure that it is covered with soil.

watering bean seeds

Water in the beans and water regularly in the next couple of weeks.  If sowing before the middle of May keep your beans under cover.  A couple of days before you are due to plant them out leave them outside to harden off.

Bean seedlings

Prepare your ground for transplanting your bean.  You will need poles for green beans and runner beans, but not for dwarf beans.

Planting Beans

Many seedlings are tiny and very delicate and hence very difficult for children to transplant.  The size and robustness of beans seedling make them very easy for children to handle.

bean teepee

You can also save a few seeds for next year. Allow a few pods to grow on to maturity. Once the pods have turned a pale straw colour they are ready to pick. Lift the plants and shell the pods.  Place the dried seed beans in envelopes, writing the variety and date of harvest on the outside, and keep the seeds until next spring in a dark, cool, dry place.

bean seed packet

  • french beans


The Bean Game  is grea tto play whilst waiting for those beans to grow:-

  • Jelly Bean – wibbly wobble
    Broad bean – arms out to the side with slow and heavy movements
    French Bean – stand with hands on hips and say ‘o la la’
    Jumping bean – jump up and down.
    Baked beans – we stand with arms out and head back – soaking up the sun.
    Bush Bean – trek wearily across the hot ground as if in the Outback
    Runner bean – running on spot.
    Baked bean – lying on floor flat out fanning self as if sunbathing.
    Butter bean – skating and slipping about.
    Bean pole – hold an invisible pole and look up .. straining to see how high it is.
  • Coffee bean – Stir a mug of coffee.
    Chilli bean – fan an open mouth as if the bean is hot hot hot or shiver as if cold.
    Bean Pod – Hold arms up and clasp hands together over head – puff cheeks out
  • Mixed beans – Let the children choose which bean & action they all want to do  – perfect to end the game.


There are many other vegetables for your children to grow.  Please see our Growing Vegetables with Children pages.