Science center ideas for the whole year

When I’m visiting preschool classrooms, the science center is usually the one center that seems the most neglected.  There might be a toy microscope, a few dried up leaves, and some plastic bugs – those are all science staples.  I always loved coming up with new ideas for my science center, so I thought that I’d share just in case you find yourself in need of inspiration.

These are ideas that can be used year-round, and I hope that they will breathe new life into your science center!
  • A collection of seashells and starfish, books about the ocean, photos of ocean habitats, and plastic ocean animals.
  • Soil samples in clear jars, books about ants and worms, and an ant farm or worm garden.
  • Fabric samples of different textured materials – try to find two pieces of each fabric so the children can practice matching them by touch.
  • Magnet wands, a collection of refrigerator magnets, a couple of cookie sheets, and an assortment of objects that may or may not stick to your magnet wands.
  • Natural materials related to the current season – for ideas check out this post!
  • A variety of seeds, seed packets, books about gardening, and  plants planted in clear containers so that children can observe the roots.
  • Different shaped prisms, small mirrors, and flashlights.
  • A light table or light box with a variety of colored, translucent materials or transparencies.
  • Photos of different animal habitats and a variety of plastic animals that children can sort into the correct habitat, along with books about animal homes.
  • Magnifying glasses, bug collecting jars, and books about bugs.
  • Sensory bottles with objects or colors that fit your classroom themes.
  • Different size ramps and objects that may or may not roll down a ramp.
  • Random objects and bins so that children can sort recyclables and non-recyclables
Science experiments can be exciting ways to introduce children to scientific principles, but the science center offers opportunity for exploration at their own pace.  A child can return to this area over and over, and learn something new each time.  This is why it is one of my favorite spaces to plan for.  What are some of your favorite topics to explore in the science center?

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