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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, Art&DT

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


You can buy clear, plastic gloves from most DIY shops where they sometimes come in different colours. 
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

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. Decide on your five seeds and label the fingers of the glove.
  4. Push a cotton wool ball into each finger.
  5. Gently poke a seed into each finger.
  6. Tie the opening of your glove and attach it to a window pane.

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. Open up the top of your glove if the seedlings need more space!
  4. Keep a written diary or take photos to note the changes.

Hints & tips

  • 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!