Science Toolbox

Show your child that tools can be used to learn and see things in different ways.

For this Activity you will need:

  • Magnet
  • Mirror
  • Flashlight
  • Magnifying glass


  1. Show your child the different tools (the magnet, mirror, flashlight, and magnifying glass). Ask her if he knows what they are and how they can be used. Say, "You can use these tools in different ways to learn about things. Let’s find out what these can do."
  2. Let her explore the room with the tools. Encourage your child’s exploration by asking: "What things in the room will the magnet stick to? What happens when you hold the mirror against objects? When you tip it up and down? What happens when you shine the flashlight at the mirror? Hold it close to the mirror? Now hold it further away from the mirror. Is it different? How do things look when you look through the magnifying glass? Hold the magnifying glass close and now further away. Do things look different?"
  3. Ask her other questions about what he is learning.

Next Steps/Follow-Up:
  • Go on a magnet hunt in the house. Find things to which the magnet will stick.
  • Use the flashlight to make shadows.
  • Move the mirror different ways and talk about how the image changes.
  • Look at different things through the magnifying glass and talk about what your child sees.
  • Make play binoculars by gluing together two cardboard toilet paper tubes. Have your child use these to observe and explore the world around him.

Background Information:

Scientific thinking involves:
  • Wondering about things.
  • Asking questions.
  • Making predictions (telling what might happen).
  • Looking, listening, touching, smelling, and tasting to get information.
  • Organizing information and talking about it.
  • Comparing things by talking about how they are alike and different.
  • Using words to explain why something happened.

When your child starts school, she will be more likely to do well if she is able to do these things.


You can help build your child’s scientific thinking skills by doing this activity.

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Ready At Five improves the practice and quality of early childhood education in Maryland.


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