Is planning and changing out your preschool science centers hard for you?
Do you struggle to find activities and materials that children can use both independently and keep them engaged?
Well… I hear ya.
For many, many years my science center was kinda blah. There weren’t many materials to put in the center and children would hop in, touch some things and hop back out. They certainly weren’t engaged (unless it was magnets).
I had designed my preschool science centers to focus on topics in science, like sink and float, motion, rocks, plants… but I had also designed them to be very open-ended. I usually gathered some materials and placed them on the shelf. I would put related books in the center if I had any and I’d place some posters about the topic on the wall.
Depending on the science topic, the popularity of the center varied – but more often than not, the children just weren’t engaged.
After mulling this over and talking it through with my bestie teacher friend, we both came to the conclusion that the center might be just too open-ended. I know… is there such a thing – but hear me out!
With little (there were some ‘I Can’ cards) to no direction, students were just coming in the center to see what was new. They might explore some things, but never really got engaged and very quickly they would be on their way out.
They didn’t know what to do with the materials I had given them. As much as I wanted them to explore the items and experiment or try different things with them, they just didn’t see it and it never really took off.
So, needless to say – a major update to all my science center topics are in the works (and 2 are done). It’s a big job- but I’m excited about it!
Instead of materials on a shelf, I am creating tray activities/tasks. There will be 4 trays for each concept with a picture instruction card for each.
Along with the tray activities, my teacher friend came up with the idea of incorporating sensory into the science center – since science lends itself so well to sensory. Smart, right?! So, there is a sensory tub activity too!
Let me show you the first two ***NEW*** Science Center Sets:
Colors Preschool Science Center
Tray 1: Color Mixing Bottles – these bottles help children discover what happens when two colors are mixed together. There is also a ‘Color Mixing’ graphic for reference.
Tray 2: Paint Swatch Matching – can children match the different shades of colors to the correct sorting mat?
Tray 3: Kaleidoscope- children can explore a kaleidoscope and draw what they see on the recording sheet.
Tray 4: Coffee Filter Colors- this tray goes along with the sensory tub. After children experiment with color mixing they can take a piece of that experiment home by dropping the colors onto coffee filters.
Sensory: With pipettes and primary colored water, children can explore what happens when colors are mixed.
Sound Preschool Science Center
Tray 1: Instrument- Children explore the different types of instruments on the tray and draw their favorite instrument on the recording page.
Tray 2: Loud vs Soft Sort- By shaking the pre-made sound containers, children sort the sounds onto a sorting mat by loud sounds or soft.
Tray 3: Sound Match- Children shake the eggs and listen to the sound. Then they try to match the egg to the photograph of the item they think is inside. Cards can be self-checking on the back.
Tray 4: Telephone- With two paper cups and some string children can talk to each other! What happens if the string is held taut? What happens if someone holds the string while trying to talk?
Sensory: Open Rain Sticks – DIY up some open-ended rain sticks with cardboard rolls, brads and duct tape. Children pour rice into the tub and listen to the sound that is created.
So, there you have it. My re-vamped preschool science centers. I’m working on updating current science center topics – and adding more!
Want to snag some Science Centers for your classroom? Click the link below: