Preschool Science Lesson: Nature Observation Baskets

I loved this nature basket idea from Pink and Green Mama so much that not only did we set one up at our house, but we even expounded on it.  This is a great way to bring some nature into the classroom, as well as to practice those observation skills that are so important for science fundamentals.

Related Pages: Kids Beach Crafts, Fall Leaf Crafts, Stick Crafts

The basic idea is to have a specific basket into which you put a variety of nature-related items, along with a magnifying glass.  There’s pretty much no limit to what you might want to include.

  • Leaves
  • Pine cones
  • Acrons
  • Rocks
  • Sand
  • Feathers
  • Etc.

The idea originally captured my attention because of her inclusion of seashells.  We recently returned from a trip to Florida, and our kitchen window is now lined with shells.  How great would it be to put them all in the basket and then encourage my daughter to really check them out?  She was able to get a close-up view of the tube feet on one starfish, as well as to compare the totally different appearances of two different species.

We’ve been working a lot on observing what is “similar” and what is “different” about objects, so this really reinforced that idea.  If you are teaching older kids, this is the perfect opportunity to introduce them to keeping observation journals to practice for upcoming science experiments.

To take the whole idea to the next level, we’ve decided to make the “nature basket” a permanent fixture, and I occasionally swap out the items during the night and refill it with new objects that revolve around a particular theme.  For example, we’ve just started some seeds for a small garden, so I filled the basket with a variety of items that teach about the growth cycle of plants.

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This would be a great center to add to the classroom, giving students a chance to quietly explore while honing their observation skills.

Oh, and along the same lines, that same blog also has a great suggestion for a bird watching basket.

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About the author

Lorna Doone Brewer is a freelance writer, also known as the Queen Bee. She lives in the beautiful Inland Northwest with three spirited daughters and a wildly outnumbered husband.

View all articles by Lorna Doone Brewer

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