Activities to Introduce Children to Microscopes

Written by cheryl munson
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Activities to Introduce Children to Microscopes
A microscope is a wonderful tool to engage children in science, nature and the world around them. (microscope image by guy from

Introducing children to microscopes can open many doors of discovery. They'll learn about nature, and how beautifully complex our world and inhabitants are. Expose them to the intricacies of a single drop of water, and let them see a bug head magnified thousands of times of actual size. Viewing ordinary objects under a microscope will provide them with a mind-opening awareness of the invisible world around us. By purchasing a microscope for home use, children will have a greater likelihood to continue pursuing their interest in science and nature.

Use the Web as a Warm-Up

Begin by exploring microscopy websites developed especially for children. This will spark their interest and curiosity about seeing things up close and personal. One good example is 'UK based Microscopy', which features a page entitled "The Smallest Page on the Web," and allows the user to interactively explore the detail contained in a single drop of pond water.

The University of Hawaii additionally offers a site which incorporates colorization techniques to make common, creepy insects actually look beautiful. Children can also investigate close-up headshots of a variety of everyday insects including a common black ant, honeybee, and a cockroach.

Use Your Computer for Super Magnified Viewing Excitement

Many microscopes come with USB ports so that they can be directly connected to the computer. Using this device introduces children to magnified images of everyday objects on the computer screen. Select items such as leaves, blades of grass, bugs and flowers. Encouraging them to pick out objects will kindle their individual excitement about the process. Save the images so they can show off their discoveries to their friends.

Create Craft Activities to Combine Science and Art

Those same saved images stored on your computer can then be utilised to create posters, calendars, stationery, screen savers, and embedded in e-mail messages to send to relatives and friends. As children develop further skills in using the microscope, teach them how to recolor the images and play around with their creations.

Make a Guessing Game with Household Objects

Capture images of objects for further viewing on the microscope. Select fairly common objects found around the home and outdoors, and then children guess what the objects are. This game will intrigue and encourage them to use the microscope frequently and explore things on their own.

Build a Homemade Microscope

Building a homemade microscope using common household items allows children to further explore smaller worlds invisible to the naked eye. Assist smaller children by placing an object inside a glass jar turned upside down, and then dripping a small drop of water on the top of the glass. The drop of water will optically magnify the details of the object below, revealing details not visible to the naked eye.

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