Essentials for Your Science Center or Shelf

Science Center Preschool Lesson Plan

Preschoolers encounter science every day as they play, discover, and learn. Vanessa Levin of Pre-K Pages has put together a great list of items to keep on hand in order to provide your little 'scientists' with the opportunity to investigate and think critically about the world around them! Consider using the list to adapt or expand your science center or shelf for next year. For a full list, be sure to head on over to Pre-K Pages - to entice you, here's a look at a few of our favorite items!

Using the Five Senses

We use our five senses to explore, identify, and categorize basically everything around us! Through taste we discover that a gummy worm dipped in sugar is much more appetizing than a gummy worm dipped in salt. Using our eyes and ears we witness the fizzing, bubbling chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar. With touch we can explore the properties of the state-defying cornstarch-water mixture {the one that is both a liquid and a solid!}. Although blindfolded, through smell we can tell the difference between an orange and a banana. Invite your kiddos to sharpen their senses with a variety of discovery bottles...

  • Smelly bottles. Wash out old spice jars, placing cotton balls with liquid scents - lavender, vanilla, mint, banana, almond, etc.
  • Sound shaker bottles. Cover recycled bottles with paper, leaving only a small viewing window with a flap. Fill and seal each bottle with a different material - rocks, colored sand, dried beans, rice, etc. Have students use their ears to distinguish the source of the various sounds.
  • Interesting theme or i-spy bottles. Invite your students to explore how oil and water react, create an i-spy bottle by including a list of objects for students to find among the bottle's contents, create rainbow bottles with brightly colored water, etc.

Scientific Tools

While they may not know exactly how to use them, stock your science center with all types of scientific lab equipment and tools for exploration:

  • Magnifying glasses
  • Binoculars
  • View-Masters
  • Microscopes
  • Microscope slides {prepared and unprepared}
  • Test tubes
  • Beakers
  • Graduated cylinders
  • Pipettes
  • Scales/bucket balance
  • Tweezers
  • Safety goggles

Given the ability to manipulate tools, experiment, ask questions, and contemplate the results, your curious kiddos will be well on their way to scientific proficiency!