“Popping” Beans

I would have to say my kid’s favorite activity from our garden season this year has been “popping the beans”. We tried to grow a ton of drying beans, as mentioned in this earlier post, but we ended up with a little less. We have been popping beans on and off for several weeks and finally we are finished shelling them all. We grew black beans, pinto beans, and a few little beans from overgrown green beans that we will cook up the same way. In total, we shelled 3 ½ pounds.

shelling beans with kids

The whole time we were shelling them, I kept wondering how beans are so cheap at the store. It’s a lot of work to prepare them for eating. I can’t imagine shelling 50 pounds of beans. WOW.

kids shelling beans

Shelling beans is a great fine motor skill and sensory activity. My kids never tired of it, they asked every day if they could “pop” some beans. Many of the beans fell on the ground or floor, but picking them up is a great activity for the kids too. I tried to show them to open the pod over the bucket, but they will get better at that over time. It’s just more opportunities to learn.

drying beans, gardening with kids

We had two big plastic totes full of vines, and ended up with a few small bags of beans to save. It took several weeks for them to dry. They are really pretty, I can’t wait to cook them for the kids. Think of how exciting it will be for them to eat their own beans in their soup or burritos.

shelling beans

We could also replant these beans for growing more vines. Another lesson in seed saving came with this activity.

As we were shelling, I kept thinking of that thrift store rap song about popping tags. If you can look past the onslaught of foul language, it’s kinda funny. So I made up this little diddy to the tune. Needless to say, I’m a little weird. But I make myself smile.

I’m gonna pop some beans

I got 20 hands to help me drop ’em

I’m gonna pop some beans

And feed these kids some tacos…


What experiences have you had with beans in the garden?


  1. I love ideas to get kids excited about natural ways to eat and to spike their curiosity. Great post!

  2. I love having helpers, but I really love your little Macklemore ditty at the end. *grin*

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