I bought a dozen semi-cheap magnifying glasses online. I wanted one that were inexpensive enough that if they were scratched or lost I would not mind, but also well made so that they were both sturdy enough to survive hard use and of sufficient magnification to get that “wow” factor. I was hoping they’d also have holes in the handles for easy tying to the table, but that was a little too much to ask. Simply tying the yarn tightly to the hand was enough to keep the majority of the magnifying glasses in the right place for the month.
Obviously magnifying glasses are useless without something to observe. I brought out the petri dishes filled with small items that I had used during the Magnet exploration station. These easily doubled as items ready for observation. Our I-Spy books get a beating, and I feel like I’m constantly replacing them. I took one of the books that was falling apart and pulled the pages out on purpose, laminated them, and added those to the table.
Magnifying glasses and how they work seemed like a great learning opportunity, so also displayed simple books about magnification and sight. I knew the preschoolers that usually engage with these materials would not be able to read the books, but parents often interact with their children at the exploration station, and I thought the adults might like to have more information at their fingertips, and could read some of the simpler concept books to interested children. I never saw anyone reading the books, but they moved around over the course of the month, so they may have been used when I wasn’t looking.