How to Set Up a Preschool Science Center: Simple Tips for Teachers

Building a Science Center

A preschool science center enriches a preschool classroom. It provides opportunities for hands on science exploration. The activities showcased in your science center should be age appropriate and concrete. Center activities should be changed on a regular basis. A science center is an integral part of an early education classroom. Here are some suggestions of what to include in your science center.

Equipment and Furniture

When planning a science center, there are some specific small items to keep on hand no matter what the current theme. These small items could be kept in a basket. Keep several magnifying glasses for close up observations. Plastic, blunt tweezers are also a must. Cotton swabs, plastic rulers, and tongs will be used as well. Small containers like empty butter bowls with plastic lids, egg cartons, and ice trays can be used for holding or sorting small items. A small bug collection kit can be purchased at your local dollar store. These kits typically come with a net and a clear plastic container for viewing bugs.

Your science center should include a table and several chairs. A desk-style lamp that can direct light in different directions is also useful. You can use it to assist students in viewing objects.

Other Supplies

Items that are not currently being used should be stored in a cabinet away from the science center, and brought out when in use. Items that can be stored away and used in a science center include ant farms, rock tumblers and microscopes. Choose a microscope that is kid-friendly, durable and easy to use. A terrarium, seeds and other plant growing supplies can be used as well. Baking soda, vinegar and food colorings are also good to keep on hand. A fish tank can be used for many different things from holding fish and small animals, to growing plants.


Books are an important part of a science center. Build your science library with titles that are centered around various science concepts that are appropriate to preschool. Make sure the picture books you choose have plenty of easy to follow illustrations as well as simple explanations. More than a couple of sentences per page may be too complicated for preschool children. Arrange your science books on a display beside the center, so that students can choose books that will further their explorations. You may choose to place several books related to the current theme on the table beside the planned daily activity.

A well-managed preschool science center can be an important part of your preschool curriculum. With the right materials and supplies, you can provide your preschoolers with so many different ways to explore and learn about their world. From viewing insects to exploring sea shells, science center activities bring the young child’s world up close and personal.