Growing mustard and cress

One of the easiest things to grow with children is mustard and cress as it grows so quickly.  At St Philip’s Marsh Nursery School we grow cress and mustard as part of our changes theme.

Cress head and cress caterpillar

You will need:
A packet of mustard and/or cress seeds
An old yoghurt pot (for cress head)
An egg carton (for caterpillar)
2 x pipe cleaners (for caterpillar)
Kitchen roll
Cotton wool

Cress head

  1. Wash a yoghurt pot and either peel off the wrapper or paint the outside of the pot white.
  2. Draw on eyes, a nose and a mouth to make a face.
  3. Wet some scrunched-up kitchen roll and push this into the pot followed by a thin damp layer of cotton wool, leaving a gap of about 2cm below the top of the pot.
  4. Sprinkle mustard and/or cress seeds on top of the cotton wool, pressing them down lightly.
  5. Leave the pot in a warm, light place and look daily for signs of growth (which should happen after about 7 days).
  6. Ensure that the cotton wool remains damp and add a little water if necessary.

Cress caterpillar

A variation on the cress head is to grow a cress caterpillar.

  1. Cut the bottom half off an egg carton, cut it lengthways so you are left with two, long shapes, each with three compartments.
  2. Paint the outside of the carton green.
  3. Drawn on some eyes, a nose and mouth.
  4. Make two pipe cleaners into antennae and fasten them so that they stick out above the eyes.
  5. Line the base with a strip of plastic (to prevent the carton from going soggy).
  6. Add some scrunched-up kitchen roll and cotton wool (as before), leaving a space of about 1cm from the top.
  7. Sprinkle the seeds, pressing them down lightly.
  8. Leave as before, checking daily for growth and dampness.