Observing Broccoli Flowers (A Fun Science Experiment for Kids!)

When I ask you to close your eyes and picture a flower, what do you see? Beautiful red roses beaded with morning dew, a bright sunny bouquet of daffodils, or even a rugged dandelion fighting for life in the crack of a sidewalk? I'm guessing that your mind does not wander to the head of broccoli sitting in your vegetable crisper, and yet broccoli is nothing but tightly compacted flower buds.

Watching broccoli in bloom reminds us that most of the plants that we depend upon for our existence and sustenance are flowering plants (even if the flowers are smaller or less attractive than the blooms you would find in the florists shop).

Observing Broccoli Flowers: Preschool Science

Here's What You Will Need to Do This Observation with Your Child:

  • a fresh head of broccoli
  • a knife
  • a vase or mason jar
  • water
  • a magnifying glass

Here's What We Did:

Slice off about 1/4-1/2 inch of the bottom of the stem. Fill up the jar with water and place the broccoli in it. Observe the changes from day to day as your broccoli's flower buds open. It took ours almost a week to blossom.

broccoli in water

If you need a book to go with this activity, check out our roundup of children's books about flowers!

It can be fun to ask your child to predict what is going to happen to the broccoli during your observation. When I asked little M. what was going to occur, she predicted that the broccoli was going to sprout and grow watermelons (she's almost three). Rather than telling your child that they are right or wrong, consider saying something like, “let's see if you're right!” Even if you know that your child's prediction is a little off (or even outlandish), let them adjust their prediction to their observations rather than what you tell them what is going to happen. Let them practice science.

If you are looking for a flower related math activity, check out Measuring Flowers (with Standard and Nonstandard Measures).

As the broccoli changed, I invited Little M. to talk about what had changed. I got responses such as, “It's starting to turn yellow!” and “The flowers are blooming.”

From time to time, we pulled out the magnifying glass to take a closer look. The last day of our observation, Little M. scraped the flowers off using the magnifying glass. The yellow petals fell onto the tablecloth. They are so tiny. The next day, the flowers started to turn brown (maybe because of the damage from the scraping?)

Yellow Broccoli Flowers in Full Bloom

Note: the broccoli flowers smell more like feet than roses.  Consider doing this outside, or at least in a well ventilated room. 

Looking for more science activities to do with your child? Check out our Rust Experiment, the Blind Taste Test, Cloud in a Bag, and Rain in a Jar.

Thank you for reading about our observation of broccoli flowers. We had so much fun doing this science activity together and I hope that you will have as much fun doing it with your child. Please let me know what you think in the comments or give it a share on social media.


  1. You've shared some extremely valuable knowledge about flowers. This is a fantastic way for us to expand our skills while still being useful to us. Thank you for bringing this post to our attention.
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