How to Set Up An Outstanding Science Center for Preschool


A science center for preschool kids can be a great way to engage young learners in the exploration of science. By providing a variety of activities and materials that stimulate the senses, children can gain an understanding and appreciation for the natural world around them. Let’s take a look at some ideas for setting up a preschool science center that are both fun and educational.

how to set up a science center for preschool

This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. There will be no additional cost to you if you purchase something for your science center for preschool from the link, but I receive a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of the links.

Why is a Science Center Important?

A science center in a preschool classroom is a great way to foster exploration and discovery. It encourages young children to explore their natural curiosity and ask questions about the world around them.

science center for preschool - a preschooler with a magnifying glass

The science center gives students the opportunity to experiment and learn through hands-on science activities. It also helps develop critical thinking skills as they observe, analyze, and draw conclusions based on their observations.

Finally, it allows children to express themselves creatively as they engage in play-based learning activities that you can tailor to individual interests and abilities.

What Kind of Science Activities Can Preschoolers Do?

Preschoolers are starting to understand the world around them and develop their own interests. Science activities can help foster curiosity and exploration in young children.

child studying a plant with a magnifying glass in a science center for preschool

You don’t need to be intimidated by teaching science to young kids. Preschool scientific discovery is all about fun and exploration, and there are many developmentally appropriate science activities in which preschoolers can participate. Your kids can experience science through activities such as exploring plant life, observing animals, conducting simple experiments, playing with magnets, learning about the weather, and much more.

With a little guidance from a teacher or parent, preschoolers can have loads of fun while gaining valuable knowledge about the world around them.

Everyday Materials to Include in Your Preschool Science Center

It’s important to include a variety of materials and resources in the center that will help engage in a hands-on way. You can find links at the end of this article if you need to purchase some of these items for your science center for preschool.

A child using an eyedropper in a preschool science center

Here is a list of some common preschool science center materials.

  • magnifying glasses
  • measuring cups
  • eye droppers or plastic pipettes
  • bucket scale
  • thermometer
  • microscope
  • tweezers
  • tongs
  • mirrors
  • magnets

Natural Materials to Add to Your Preschool Science Center

a basket of pine cones in a science center for preschool

You can also fill your center with various natural materials that will spark the imaginations of young students. Add some of these materials so that kids can sort, examine, and experiment:

  • rocks
  • sand
  • soil
  • leaves
  • twigs
  • flowers
  • shells
  • pinecones
  • water

Living Things for Your Science Center

Living things make excellent additions to a science center for preschool kids, Your kids will love observing living things over time. These items can provide meaningful discussions and teach concepts such as habitats, life cycles, environmental interactions, and more.

A girl looking at a goldfish in a science center for preschool

Here are some great examples of living things to add to your discovery center.

  • plants
  • flowers
  • fish
  • insects (ladybugs, mealworms, ants, caterpillars, etc.)
  • spiders
  • worms
  • small mammals (hamsters, guinea pigs, a rabbit)
  • reptiles (lizards)

Stem Materials in Your Science Center for Preschool

STEM materials can help kids develop problem-solving skills. Try adding some of these fun materials to your science and discovery center to encourage your little engineers.

boys building with magnatile in a preschool science center
  • building blocks
  • tape
  • zip-ties
  • hook and loop dots
  • magnets
  • sticks
  • cotton swabs
  • craft sticks
  • toothpicks
  • playdough
  • measuring tools
  • ramps
  • balls
  • toy cars
  • Lego blocks, axles, wheels, etc.
  • pipe cleaners
  • cardboard, paper, ribbon, string

Books for Your Science Center

Don’t forget to add some books to your center. Non-fiction books are an excellent way to enhance learning, as they can help students explore new topics and gain knowledge of the world around them.  Many non-fiction books can offer interesting and engaging content for students of all ages.  Check out my article about science books for preschoolers to get many ideas.

Inspire your young scientists with this list of the best preschool science books. Click to find life science, Earth science, physical science, and books that will help your kids think like a scientist. Perfect for your preschool, pre-k, kindergarten storytime, circle time, class library, class science center, or dramatic play center.

Writing Opportunities

Scientist record their observations, so be sure to provide a way for your kids to document their findings. Add notebooks, scrap paper, blank books, or observation journals.

flower science observation journal

You can also record observations by taking pictures or videos.

Seasonal Science Center Ideas

Adding seasonal materials to your preschool science center can help keep things fresh and exciting for your students! Seasonal materials allow them to explore the changing environment around them.  Here are some seasonal material ideas.

Winter Science Center Materials Ideas

Here are some materials that you can use to create a winter-themed discovery center:

a bowl of snow to use in a winter science center for preschool
  • snow
  • ice
  • icicles
  • photographs of magnified snowflakes

Spring Science Center Materials Ideas

Here are some spring-themed materials that you can add to your center:

study the part of a plant with your preschoolers
  • seeds
  • plants
  • flowers and blossoms
  • insects
  • bugs
  • pinwheels

Summer Science Center Materials Ideas

Here are some materials that you can use to add some summer fun to your scientific discovery area:

observing flowers during a flower science study for preschoolers
  • bubbles
  • water
  • flowers
  • fish

Fall Science Center Materials Ideas

Here are some materials that you can use to create a fall-themed science center:

apple science activities to use in your preschool science center
  • pumpkins
  • gourds
  • leaves
  • apples
  • field corn
  • apples

Easy Science Activities for Your Kids

When it comes to teaching science, I know that many preschool teachers feel intimidated. Here are some super easy, but engaging and easy science activities that you can set up in your science center

Sorting Activities

Scientist study and classify things. You can add printable sorting activities so that your kids can sort things. Teachers report that these simple activities also promote discussions among kids.

plant versus animal sort as an example of an easy preschool life science activity

Weigh Stations

Get out your balance scale and add items to small plastic containers.

compare weight activity in a preschool science center

Your kids can use the scientific method as they measure & compare the weights of different objects. I love that you can easily use seasonal items to make a summer or spring weigh station, a fall weigh station, a holiday weigh station, and a winter weigh station.

Simple Scientific Investigations for Your Science Center

You can study seasonal items by conducting an investigation. Your kids will have so much fun doing a plant & seed investigation, a flower investigation, an apple investigation, a pumpkin investigation, or a leaves & trees investigation.

flower parts sorting activity during a preschool flower science investigation activity

Use printable signs, posters, and observation journals to walk kids through measuring, examining, classifying, and using their senses to learn about natural objects in their world.

plant seeds in a plastic bag for a plant science activity for your preschoolers

Purchase Printable Resources for Your Science Center Today

Are you ready to add fun and easy activities to your science center? You can purchase printable activities in the store. Click on the pictures below to purchase the easy printables today.

Science Investigation Activity bundle for preschoolers
comparing weight activity bundle for all seasons
plant and seed science
Leaf Investigation Printables for Preschool and Pre-k
Pumpkin Investigation Activities - simple science for preschool and kindergarten
apple science investigation for preschoolers

Purchase on TPT

Do you prefer to shop at Teachers Pay Teachers? You can also purchase the Science Printables in my TPT Store.

Links for Science Center Resources

Do you need help finding resources for your science center? Here are some items from Amazon that are perfect.