The Amazing Plant Maze: A STEAM Activity

So, I’ve seen this “plant maze” concept quite a bit around Pinterest and whatnot, but I thought it would be fun to do a couple of new spins on things. (And, okay, I totally just wanted to build a plant maze and watch a little sprout navigate the obstacles.) 🙂 So, what about those new spins? Read on, my friends!


Learn about plant adaptations while putting your engineering skills to work with a fun and fascinating plant maze. | Nerd in the Brain


The Set Up


My first objective when making this plant maze was to make it attractive. I wasn’t particularly interested in having a ratty old box sitting on a shelf in my office for weeks. (I know, I know…the vanity of it all.) In the name of lovely, I took a couple of extra steps with the “casing” for this project. I used a Tinker Crate box (perfect for this project, by the way…just carefully cut off one end so the light will be able to come in the top), but I used some chalk paint to get to a color that looks good in my office. Add some twine and a wooden label tag, and BAM! It turned into a STEAM project that wasn’t quite the eyesore. 😉


Plant Maze: Lovely Container | Nerd in the Brain


And the second twist? I decided to turn this into a bit of an engineering project. (Not that building the whole thing out of cardboard isn’t an engineering project, but I thought I’d have a little fun with construction.) I decided to build my interior maze out of Legos. (I used this kit*, and it contained plenty of pieces to get the job done…as long as I was a bit creative.)


Plant Maze: Initial Set Up | Nerd in the Brain


It actually took me several attempts to create a structure I was happy with, so it was a great learning experience. Some tips if you’re trying this yourself (or getting some little engineers to construct a similar structure):


  • Don’t forget that you’re going to need space at the bottom for your soil and seed.
  • If you’re placing this in a box, do you really need the structure to have solid walls?
  • Measure your box in Lego bricks before starting (width, depth, and height)…you’d hate to build something awesome only to find out it won’t fit in the box.


After building my Lego maze, I used an old jar for some soil and a bean seed. Add a little water (and a twine bow, if you’re so inclined), and you’re ready for the magic to happen. Just close up the box and put the whole thing somewhere that it can get some sunlight…and don’t forget to water that seed every couple of days!


And Then…


This will happen:


Plant Maze: Early Progress 2 | Nerd in the Brain


Plant Maze: More Progress | Nerd in the Brain


Plant Maze: Success! | Nerd in the Brain


Neat! 😀


At Home or School


This would be a great project to tackle for home school or a classroom (or just for fun) when teaching about how plants grow (and their near-magic abilities to follow the light). I love the idea of explaining the objective to students, providing them with resources, and letting them activate their engineering paws and brains to make it happen. I bet the creative and brilliant design concepts would be stunning!


You could also change this from an activity to an experiment with a quickness by having students generate a hypothesis and record their results. (Looking for some nice, easy-to-use experiment documentation pages? May I suggest this affordable set from Nerd in the Brain? Those are soon-to-be-revised, but still ever so functional.)


In case you are planning this as a lesson or home activity (and I hope you do!), I’ll give you a nice little list of needed materials:


  • a box that can be closed with one end removed (so light comes in only through the top)
  • building materials (whatever pleases you)
  • a fairly short container for planting a seed
  • soil
  • a seed (bean seeds work well because of how quickly they grow…and they get tall enough to reach the top)
  • if you’re going to get pretty with it, you’ll also need some paint, paint supplies, and pretty doodads and embellishments


What About You?


Have you created a plant maze before? Did you use any unusual/non-cardboard materials? Did you pretty the whole thing up before lovingly placing it in front of a window? Did you have great results? If you were to do the whole thing again, what would you change and why? If you haven’t created a plant maze before, do you think you’ll be mazing it up in the future? Let me know in the comments!


*I am an Amazon affiliate. Items you order from Amazon after clicking the affiliate links in this post will result in a small commission for me at no extra cost to you. Neat!


Amazing Plant Maze: A Science & Engineering STEAM Activity | Nerd in the Brain



  • trentpmcd June 21, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Making it difficult for that poor plant, huh? Pretty cool.

    • Nerd in the Brain June 21, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      Hehe…I prefer to think of it as a really fun obstacle course for the plant. 😉

  • teachezwell June 25, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    That is so clever! I am definitely inspired to do this with my students. Thanks!


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