The Magic Magnifying Glass

What You Need:

  • A magnifying glass
  • Outdoor space (e.g., yard, park, etc.)
  • Natural materials (bugs, sticks, stones, seeds, leaves, grass, etc.)
  • Paper or journal
  • Coloring materials

What You Do: 

  1. Bring your child outside. Get out the magnifying glass and ask your child if they know how to use it. Model how to use the magnifying glass appropriately.

  2. Explain to your child that a magnifying glass is an amazing tool that scientists use to see things at a small, more molecular level. 

  3. Find something interesting outside, such as a ladybug. Encourage your child to first look at the ladybug without the magnifying glass and draw/talk about what they see. Example questions include:

    • Does the ladybug look big or small?

    • Can you see the ladybug’s body parts?

    • What do you notice about the colors of the ladybug?

    • What do you notice about the leaf (or ground) where the ladybug is resting?

  4. Next, have your child observe the ladybug using the magnifying glass. Ask your child the same questions, and then have your child compare and contrast their experiences with and without the magnifying glass.

  5. To extend learning, ask your child to draw and write about their findings.

  6. Continue this process with nature all around you. Point out curious findings such as  the veins on a leaf or an ant’s three body parts. A magnifying glass gives children new things to discover and wonder about the world around them. 

Extension Ideas:

Explore states of matter. Get out some ice cubes and a large pan. Guide your child to observe the ice cube, including the ice-crystal patterns and the various shades they see when looking up close! Have a conversation about what your child notices about the ice cube once it is in the pan and out of the freezer. Question ideas  include: Is the ice cube changing, or staying the same? What is happening to the ice cube?

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