As my kids have grown from toddlers to preschoolers to young elementary children (in, like, super sonic speed), our playroom has grown right along with us. We clean out and pass along our outgrown toys and stuff several times a year in exchange for new toys, stuff, and new areas for playtime. Something I recently “built” into our playroom (aka rearranged current shelves and table) is….A Science Lab! It’s a work in progress that we’ll add to over time, but come on in and take a look…
A table becomes a research and work area. The top of the shelf behind it becomes a lab table complete with microscope, test tubes, bug catchers, lab tools, and whatever else science-y lands there. Thank you grandparents for your science-y gifts!
The lab table (shelves that once housed plastic toddler toys that went off in the middle of the night) is now home to science themed books, a circuit kit, empty ant and worm farms, magnets, star maps, binoculars, and a tub full of other science tools. My father in law gave them each one of his old white lab coats. We also have our medical play tub in this area for now, instead of at the dramatic play area. We don’t have a sink down there, so any messy experiments are conducted in the kitchen, including my cooking. In the nook is also our aquarium, where we have already lost 3 snails. Sniff, sniff. Escargot, anyone?
Each child also has their own very professional looking science lab notebook (10 cent spiral notebook with their name in sharpie). To get our science lab party started, I told them to show me their lab work for salary once in awhile! (A hug, a sticker, a piece of gum, a quarter, etc.) Didn’t take long for these scientists to get busy! Since opening day a few weeks ago, they’ve each “played” in the lab many times.
Future Lab Ideas
- Plenty of Experiments
- A Dedicated Animal Notebook
- Anything our science career friends will give to us
- A Nature Display
- Rock & Shell Collections
- Periodic Table…I’m kidding.
- A few plants that grow well in dark basements?
- Any other ideas? Tell me, Tell me!
I realize space is always an issue. Been there, done that. We’re blessed to currently have an unfinished basement that allows me plenty of space to experiment with our playroom. Use whatever space you have or rotate out different elements for your children’s play. It could be as simple as a dedicated science tub that lives under a bed and comes out when interest strikes.
Taking the time to create a valuable environment for your children makes it really easy to say “Go Play!”
Here’s to some inner peace while your children are busy in their science labs! Shelisa