Growing Activities and Vocabulary

Pea shoots in eggshells

My son’s teacher mentioned that he spends most of recess digging in the dirt and pretending to grow things. It’s July and the weather is FINALLY warming up where we live. We have been working on growing activities and vocabulary in Chinese. What a great opportunity to make learning fun by incorporating a child’s interests.

Community Garden Volunteer

We recently had a playdate at the park on the same day the city was building a community garden. He forgot all about his playdate and spent an hour shoveling dirt into the planter boxes. Look at that happy face! He loved getting dirty and being part of the hustle. My daughter wanted no part in this!

Growing Activities

It’s painful to spend money on stuff that only holds the kids interest for a couple minutes, which is why I’m always digging in the recycle bin for craft supplies. I found a couple egg cartons. Then a quick search in the kitchen turned up some chia seeds and some fresh peas from the fridge that sprouted.

You can also use dried mung beans, any bean really, but mung beans sprout quickly. Just soak them overnight and drain the water in the morning. Rinse with water and drain a couple times a day. Don’t soak too long or you’ll drown the bean. In about 2 days the sprouts will be long enough to plant.

Chia Caterpillar

Caterpillar in Chinese is 毛毛蟲 , but also translates to “furry worm”.  So a chia caterpillar is exactly what I image a 毛毛蟲 would look like!

Chia caterpillar

Cut out the rows of the base of an egg carton. Paint any color.

Painting egg carton caterpillar

Cut holes in the top of only one of the rows.

Cutting out holes

Glue the two sides together. Decorate.

Egg carton caterpillar

Fill with dirt, sprinkle with seeds. Water daily. Now wait, wait, wait!

Filling caterpillar with seeds

Growing Peas in Eggshells

Sprouted pea stages

Just need dirt and empty eggshells.

Preparing to plant peas

Fill eggshells with dirt.

Filling eggshells with dirt

Plant the pea sprout and add more dirt on top.

Adding dirt over peas

Water daily and wait for your pea shoots to grow!

pea shoots

Life Lessons Learned

Responsibility: The kids had to take responsibility for their plants and remember to water them or they wouldn’t grow.

Patience: We had to wait a long time for the chia seeds to sprout. We planted the seeds on June 23rd and the most recent photos were taken on July 14th. That is a lot of waiting for little kids!

Life is Unpredictable: Although we planted all the seeds and pea sprouts on the same day and watered them regularly, there was one pea that didn’t make it. It just didn’t and we couldn’t have predicted it or changed the outcome.

Related Vocabulary

Anything bean-like we refer to as 豆豆 (dòu). I never bothered to learn the proper vocabulary for peas until now. Luckily, we learned some new vocabulary from reading story books. Below are the new words and phrases we learned in Chinese.

(豌豆 also means beanstalk)


seedlings/pea sprouts

Plant the seeds in the dirt
Bǎ zhǒngzǐ mái dào tǔ lǐ

water (verb)

Books About Seeds and Growing Plants

The public library has books in Chinese that cover many topics. We were lucky to borrow these from our local library. I did have to order them and wait a couple days though, but much better than having to buy them!

Poop or seed?


Are you poop, or a seed?
ISBN: 9789863843320
Language: Traditional Chinese

Lots of poop in this book, but of course my kids love books about poop! This is a good book to learn what happens when animals eat fruit and the seeds are pooped out. Gross!

Available from

The Bad Seed


The Bad Seed
ISBN: 9789861898513
Language: Traditional Chinese with Zhuyin

This book has nothing to do with growing plants, rather it is about working through bad behavior. The story explains how a happy child can become bad, but really isn’t bad as long as others will give him the opportunity to change. This is a book I would add to our home library.

Available from Gloria’s Bookstore and

Old Lady's Seeds


Old Lady’s Seeds
ISBN: 9789861614533
Language: Traditional Chinese with Zhuyin

What a cute story about two friends who’s nurturing brought their magical seeds to life. This book teaches the importance of teamwork and responsibility.

Available on Amazon!

Jack and the Beanstalk


Jack and the Beanstalk
ISBN: 9789574400300
Language: Traditional Chinese with Zhuyin

This is an old fairy tale translated to Chinese. My son enjoyed it and had many questions about the story and characters, especially the giant likes to eat children. Just a warning to other parents because I didn’t remember that part of the story!

Similar books on Amazon

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