Adding to the science and nature center in preschool

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on April 1, 2011

in Activity Boxes, Sand, Science and Nature, The Value of Play

Lately, I have been trying to find items to add to our science centers. Filling baskets in the science center is an ongoing effort. I am trying to use items that I find already available in our school and so I have been searching through the old materials in the school storage area…

As you can see, there is room for a few more baskets so I keep working on it a little each week. Last week I added these fun little bottles of sand…

I found a basket of small left over bottles of sand art that were probably used in our summer program some time ago. I happened by this class to see the two year olds exploring the sand play items. In the basket I put the little bottles, the colored sand, little funnels, spoons, and cups…

The two year olds were scooping sand in the cups then pouring the sand into the funnels and then watching, with the most adorable expressions, as the sand flowed down into the bottles….

One goal I have for each basket I put on a shelf is to add tools for play. For example, if I add seashells, I also want to add other items that can be used with the seashells. I have a basket on the science center that is filled with science “tools” such as magnifying glasses, measuring cups, scales, spoons, sorting trays, and other items I pick up around the school…

After the twos fill up their plastic bottles, they dump the sand out into the plastic cups and start all over again. I like to add only clear cups where possible so the children can see the sand or other materials all the time from all angles.

When I initially put the sand out – it was separated into different colors. I knew it would only stay that way for about 10 minutes and then be all mixed together. My goal was to provide sand play not sand art so I didn’t worry about the sand mixing together…

But since I put this basket of sand materials together, I have been learning new ideas about how to make your own colored sand like this post from Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning.  So I think I will share this idea with the teachers and see if we can get the kids involved in making some more colored sand to add to our science center…

Even though I know it is just going to get all mixed up again – but that is part of the fun!

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