Nature Study for Children - Magnifying Glass Fun Science Activities
You can take the magnifying lens with you as you have your adventure or you can bring items home to look at more closely. We rarely take our magnifying lens with us on hikes but we do use it to look at things we find and bring home. We also find it is essential for a study of insects.
Encourage your child to find an interesting object to investigate. Perhaps you are studying garden flowers, why not take your lens and observe closely the stem of the plant, the bud of the flower, or some of the flower's pollen. By using the hand lens you are going to take your study to a whole different level.
Often this close observation spurs on some additional research that you can do the next time you are at your local public library. We also have enjoyed Janice VanCleave's microscope and magnifying glass activities which I have linked to below. Any way that you decide to use your magnifying lenses in your nature study will provide a new perspective on the world around you.
"Adults should realize the the most valuable thing children can learn is what they discover themselves about the world they live in. Once they experience first-hand the wonder of nature, they will want to make nature observation a life-long habit."
Charlotte Mason, Volume 1, page 61.
Links to Try Along With Your Lens
Sketch what you see on some wonderful notebook pages!
- Magnifying Glass Lesson Plans
This lesson plan not only shows how a magnifying glass works, it gives you some great suggestions for getting started.
- Magnificent Magnification
Lesson plan from Scholastic that includes examining a potted plant with a magnifying glass.
- Printable Square Foot pdf
Use this printable sheet to record your small square findings. Excellent!
- 50 Things to Look at Under a Microscope
This is a great list and many of the items would be interesting to look at with a magnifying glass too!
Children Find It A Joy
"In elementary grades, nature study deals with objects which the children can see with the naked eye. However, a lens is a help in almost all of this work because it is such a joy to the child to gaze at the wonders it reveals."
Handbook of Nature Study, page 9
Nothing Like Looking at Insects Up Close!
Bug Magnifiers on Amazon.com
Starting a Fire Using a Magnifying Glass
My son wants me to mention that another cool thing about using magnifying glasses is that you can start a fire in an emergency. I found this video to give you some hints.
You may not wish to teach your younger children this skill until they learn to use it responsibly.
We practice this skill when we are camping by letting the boys start the campfire with their magnifying glasses.
Pocket Magnifying Glass
Science Plans Using Your Hand Lens
A Great Book for Your Science Shelf!
Need an idea for nature study using your magnifying lens? - Here is the Outdoor Hour Challenge: Up Close and Personal
I have written a series of nature study challenges that are quick and easy to use in any environment. This challenge involves going out into your own backyard with your magnifying lens and finding something to observe closely.
- Outdoor Hour Challenge #8 Up Close and Personal
If you do not have a simple magnifying lens as part of your science equipment, this might be a good time to invest in one you can easily carry in your pocket or backpack. We rarely take our magnifying lens with us on hikes but we do use it to look at
Amazing Things You Can See!
I would love to hear your comments!
Shannon from Florida on June 17, 2012:
My kids love playing with magnifying glasses!
ElizabethJeanAl on January 18, 2011:
I use magnifying glasses in my classes (physics) all the time, and I use them at home to read the numbers on the coins in my collection. They're a very handy thing to have around.
anonymous on November 19, 2010:
I still like to play around with magnifying, a wonderful learning activity/1
Jimmie Quick from Memphis, TN, USA on March 27, 2009:
This is such a fun topic, Barb! I admit that I too am fascinated by the way things look under a magnifying glass.
Andrew Po on January 18, 2009:
Studying is great, but kids are more interested in burning stuff with the magnifying glasses, if I remember right :)