Cress growing in eggshells.

Growing Seeds with Children: Cress Heads

Do you remember growing cress at primary school? The chances are you probably do. Because cress is such a fast-growing herb (it’s ready to eat in under 10 days!), it’s great for kids who are keen to see the fruits of their labour as soon as possible. They’ll get a great sense of satisfaction, and there will be yummy egg and cress sandwiches to eat at the end of it all!

Growing seeds with children and showing them how plants grow is great fun, but it’s also an essential part of their development. Children’s gardening will give them a love of nature, and they’ll develop an understanding of and appreciation for where food comes from. When they finally come to study how plants grow at school, they’ll be able to put it into real-life context, and they’ll have had a fantastic time getting their hands dirty!

These cress heads are an easy way to start growing plants with children, but they’re also a fantastic opportunity for the kids to get creative. Encourage them to make funny faces out of the eggshells (or yoghurt pots), so that when the cress grows, it looks like silly green hair.

What you need:

  • A pack of cress seeds (available from garden centres and some supermarkets)
  • Empty yoghurt pots or eggshells
  • Kitchen roll
  • Cotton wool
  • Paints and glitter to decorate the heads

What to do:

  1. Decorate and add features to your cress head pot or eggshell before you plant the seeds, maybe styling it on yourself or a family member!
  2. Wet some kitchen roll and put it in the bottom of your head, then wet some cotton wool and place on top of the kitchen roll. Leave a 3 cm gap between the cotton wool and the top of the eggshell or pot.
  3. Sprinkle a teaspoon of cress seeds onto the wet cotton wool, and press them down gently with your finger.
  4. Place the cress heads in a warm place, exposed to daylight, like on the windowsill, and wait for your seeds to grown into tiny, delicious bushes of cress!
  5. Don’t forget to ask the kids to spray the seeds with a little water every day, to ensure that the cotton wool stays moist.

Once your cress has grown to about 10 cm, help the kids to chop the cress and add it to an egg and mayonnaise sandwich for lunch! Once the cress has been cut it won’t re-grow, so why not made growing cress a regular activity with new seeds?