13 Science Tot Trays & Activities!

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We have quite a Science Kid (copyright: Sid) on our hands! We wrapped up the summer (and our longer themes) with yet another perfect theme. I appreciated how generic it is — so much can fit under the generic Science heading! Enjoy our 13 Science Tot Trays!

  1. Science Tools Book
  2. Mini Light Tray
  3. Bean Sprouting
  4. Land, Sea & Sky Sort
  5. Balance Discovery
  6. Capacity Discovery
  7. How Many Seeds?
  8. Magnetic Discovery
  9. Science Set
  10. I Spy with Magnifying Glasses
  11. Simple Machines
  12. Bean Sprouting Results


Science Tools Book

  • To welcome our Science theme, this mini coloring book was on his desk!
  • As I did way back in a farm theme, this was simply made from a single double-sided sheet.
  • Found stock coloring book style images of science tools: microscope, goggles, thermometer, flask, beaker, magnifying glass.
  • After printing, cut in half and folded (like a book!) used my Crop-A-Dile to punch holes in the center and tied with string.

Mini Light Tray

  • This didn’t go as well as anticipated, but it’s good to talk about those things, too!
  • My inspiration was this old sandwich Tupperware container I have. Can it be a light tray??
  • I lined the inside with foil and put two flashlights inside. That’s that.
  • Then I made three ‘slides’ based on this idea from the Activity Mom — check out her pins of light table ideas!
  • Started with a pack of colored, transparent dividers. Trimmed down to small squares, the right size to glue mini-popsicle sticks around the edges
  • I attached the popsicle sticks to the colored squares with glue dots
  • Put these slides and set of Look & See Scopes with the tray
  • The tray wasn’t super effective. But it was worth a shot! The slides and scopes were still fun on his regular DIY light table.

Bean Sprouting

  • Day 1 of this theme included a special bean sprouting activity. (We had several other experiments this week but this was the only one put on a tray within school!)
  • The night prior, I soaked several lima beans in water.
  • The tray included the items needed to plant (except water) — the seeds, plastic bags, and cotton balls. Thanks to Teach Preschool for the cotton ball idea!
  • The next morning E and D got the cotton balls a little wet, lined the bottom of the bag with them, then put a couple seeds inside.
  • The bags were taped into the window and started growing quickly!

Land, Sea & Sky Sort

  • Copied this idea from this Flickr image — thank you!
  • First, searched for large images to represent the ‘backgrounds’ of land, sea and sky. Formatted these to print letter sized in color.
  • Then, found stock images of items that fit in those locations. Seagull, boat, mail truck, owl, bear, etc. Placed all these on a letter-sized Publisher file to print in color
  • Laminated the three backgrounds (we will definitely use these later!)
  • Trimmed the matching items (did not laminate)
  • Match the items to their home!

Balance Discovery

  • The centerpiece of this ‘discovery’ activity is of course this Learning Resources Primary Bucket Balance
  • Then, we included five containers of various items to weigh – bells, black beans, golf tees, big plastic buttons, and coins
  • He instantly enjoyed putting random items in each side and balancing them. Cool! Army men and counting bears (latter being the regular inhabitants of this balance) joined the fun as well.

How Many Seeds?

  • This printable is from The Educators’ Spin on It — thank you!
  • Printed as is in color on a letter-sized sheet
  • Included a container of enough pumpkin seeds to fit in each numbered square (=55)

Capacity Discovery

  • Another discovery area is to look at something he knows well — pouring and measuring!
  • The material we chose to measure here was white rice.
  • Then, he had a collection of measuring spoons, IKEA soup spoons, mini OXO beakers, containers and so on, and of course the Tidy Tray.
  • While we like to let him play free on these trays we also encouraged him to pour from one container or spoon to another to learn about their capacities
  • (Highly Recommended: If you have Netflix online check out the show Monster Math Squad, they do a great job of explaining concepts and CAPACITY is a great example. I probably wouldn’t have tried to talk to a toddler about capacity without that show!

I Spy with Magnifying Glasses

  • Finally used one of the first items I ever printed for tot school! Thanks for this I Spy Coloring Page!
  • Printed in black and white and laminated
  • Gave him two magnifying glasses to take a closer look
  • Also provided white board markers to fill in pictures, plus a small eraser

Magnetic Discovery

Simple Machines

Science Set


I had 3 more activities for this week of Science Tot Trays but we didn’t need them! These kept us busy! It was extremely cool and cute that he wanted to keep checking his seeds in the window! All told, these activities really held his interest this week.

I likely said this before. But what I really like about this theme is the various concepts we were able to introduce. Accuracy, measuring, life cycle, how seeds work, weather patterns, and so much more. Just think of all the other themes that can come out of a generic Science heading. Heck, each of those simple machines could probably get their own week of school each

I can see though how easy it is to emphasize the activities and subjects mom and or dad like most. No reason not to get excited about Science (not at all!), but I want to be sure we can get as ‘excited’ about other subjects, too!

Ready to move on from science tot trays? Check out our Science Preschool Trays!

Linked up over at the Everything Early Childhood Link Up and TGI Saturdays!

Cool Books for Science Tot Trays

Science Tot Trays and Theme Ideas!

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