Inside: Our favorite ideas for the preschool science center that encourage hands-on exploration!
Science is an important part of a preschooler’s day, especially when it involves hands-on exploration. Teachers, are you wondering how to set up your preschool science center? Does it intimidate you a bit?
It doesn’t need to be intimidating! With just a few simple tips, you can have a science area that is inviting for your young learners.
Today I am going to show you almost all of the science centers we set up on ONE year in our preschool classroom. Some of these stayed out all week, some for a couple of weeks. All of them were tied into our preschool theme of that week. We connected other classroom activities with what was in our science center.
How to Set Up Your Preschool Science Center
You will notice that many of these science centers include picture books and perhaps one or two visuals placed in plexi-glass sign holders.
At some of the centers there were also tools such as magnifying glasses and tweezers.
We also tried to have some sort of objects that could be touched.
I’ve added some affiliate links if you are interested in learning where these products can be purchased, but you might already own them.
I am hoping these photos help you understand how to set up a science center that will be visually pleasing to your preschoolers, inviting them to come and explore.
At the start of the year we explore with magnets. This is a simple and fun activity that is especially loved by visual learners. The preschoolers discovered that the magnets stuck to some objects, but not to others. Later in the year we explored magnets at the light table, in the sensory table, and even in the block area.
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As we explore owls, we also learn about nocturnal animals. Why do they sleep during the day?
Related: 15 Owl Activities
During October, one of our science displays is all about bats. Most of our preschoolers remember seeing the bats at our local zoo, so this is meaningful to them. I put together a simple discovery bottle placing some small foam bats (from a sticker pad) into water along with some glitter (just because our preschoolers love to watch it swirl). We love National Geographic Kids books, as you can see in the photo. The rubber bat was a nice prop, too!
Related: 20 Bat Activities Preschoolers Love
In October we go on a field trip to the pumpkin patch, so we make sure to study pumpkins at the science table. Along with small pumpkins, we also provided a pumpkin matching activity. (If you are interested in these types of printables, you can find them at Montessori for Everyone.)
Make sure to check out our Pumpkin Theme post for lots of pumpkin activities!
While at the pumpkin patch, we get to walk through the the corn that is being harvested. We set up this science center to show a real piece of corn that is still in its husk, a can of corn, dried corn kernels (that I also placed letter tiles inside to spell “corn”), and some visuals.
Try this: Tweezing Corn Fine Motor Activity
Where we live, there is an abundance of pine cones. This includes all around our preschool building. We learn where they come from while we take a nature walk. What trees did they fall from?
Preschoolers have a fascination with dinosaurs, and we’ve happened to acquire quite a collection. The children love how large and powerful dinosaurs are!
Related: 20 Dinosaur Activities
In the winter a dental team visits our preschool, talking about how to keep our teeth healthy. The week that they visit, we invite our preschoolers to practice brushing teeth with a model.
The Colors of the Rainbow
During the month of March we explore the rainbow. You might recall our giant color wheel, where the children bring in items from home that are the colors of the rainbow.
Related: 15 Amazing Rainbow Science Activities
April means gardening! We invite our preschoolers to play with our seed model while we plant sunflowers. By doing this, they actually get to watch their seed sprout. They learn about taking care of another living thing, giving it sunlight and water.
After learning about seeds, we then explore daffodils. We explore them under our magnifying stands and learn to treat them gently.
In May we explore the ocean. We have real shells, a couple of discovery bottles, and books. You can read more about this in our Preschool Ocean Theme post.
Want to see more science activities? Check out our pin board!
Check out our favorite science toys and materials:
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