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A handy gardener


Make this handy glove propagator to look at seed germination. 

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Indoors
  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Science

Learning objectives

  • Recognise that seeds come in different shapes and sizes
  • Discover which part of a seedling grows first
  • Identify the conditions a seed needs to start growing
  • Study the different rates of seed germination


  • Create a washing line using string or cord near to a window
  • Soak your cotton wool balls before you start the activity
  • Use a pencil to poke the cotton wool and seed to the bottom of the finger


  • Use large sized clear gloves
  • A range of different seeds (5 minimum)
  • Permanent marker pens
  • Cotton wool balls
  • Water
  • String, cord or a washing line
  • Pegs

Step by step

This activity is split into two parts.

Preparation of the gloves:

  1. Collect your clear gloves.
  2. Soak and gently squeeze out your cotton wool balls - they need to be damp.
  3. Label the fingers of the glove with the names of each seed, using a marker pen.
  4. Push a cotton wool ball into each finger.
  5. Gently poke a seed into each finger.
  6. Attach the glove to the washing line using pegs.

Observing the growing:

  1. Look at your glove daily.
  2. Add drops of water if the cotton wool looks too dry - you could use a dropping pipette to do this.
  3. Keep a written diary or take photos to note the changes.

Hints & tips

  • Try any of these seeds in your gloves - runner beans, sunlowers, nasturtiums, peas, radish, pot marigolds, beetroot. These seeds are different shapes and sizes and work well in germination experiments.
  • Discover different rates of growth by using a variety of seeds.
  • Experiment with different coloured gloves - do plants grow best with any particular colour? If you can't find different coloured gloves, try colouring the fingers with a range of coloured permanent marker pens.
  • Change the conditions for growing by using different growing places or temperatures and note any differences. 
  • Look at the activity Germination race and get competitive in your growing!