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Best Magnifying Lens Plans and Activities

Updated on June 2, 2016

Nature Study for Children - Magnifying Glass Fun Science Activities

You can take the magnifying lens with you as you have your adventure or you can bring items home to look at more closely. We rarely take our magnifying lens with us on hikes but we do use it to look at things we find and bring home. We also find it is essential for a study of insects.

Encourage your child to find an interesting object to investigate. Perhaps you are studying garden flowers, why not take your lens and observe closely the stem of the plant, the bud of the flower, or some of the flower's pollen. By using the hand lens you are going to take your study to a whole different level.

Often this close observation spurs on some additional research that you can do the next time you are at your local public library. We also have enjoyed Janice VanCleave's microscope and magnifying glass activities which I have linked to below. Any way that you decide to use your magnifying lenses in your nature study will provide a new perspective on the world around you.

"Adults should realize the the most valuable thing children can learn is what they discover themselves about the world they live in. Once they experience first-hand the wonder of nature, they will want to make nature observation a life-long habit."

Charlotte Mason, Volume 1, page 61.

Backyard Safari Mega Magnifier
Backyard Safari Mega Magnifier

Make sure to watch the video on about this product. This is an easy magnifying lens for young ones to use as they take a nature walk. Keep it in a small bag or add it to your backpack. Pull this out when your kids are losing interest in the nature walk and it may revive your day.


Links to Try Along With Your Lens

Sketch what you see on some wonderful notebook pages!

Encourage investigation by asking your children:

***What do you see?

***What do you know?

***What do you wonder?

Children Find It A Joy

"In elementary grades, nature study deals with objects which the children can see with the naked eye. However, a lens is a help in almost all of this work because it is such a joy to the child to gaze at the wonders it reveals."

Handbook of Nature Study, page 9

Nothing Like Looking at Insects Up Close!

Nothing Like Looking at Insects Up Close!
Nothing Like Looking at Insects Up Close!

Bug Magnifiers on

Coghlan's Bug Jar for Kids
Coghlan's Bug Jar for Kids

This is the jar we have and we have been very happy with it over the years. You can temporarily keep an insect in this jar that has a lid and holes for careful observation. I have also used it to take awesome photos of insects by taking the image through the magnifier. It is something you can take along with you on hikes since it is plastic and very lightweight.

Carson Kids BugLoupe 4.5X Pre-Focused Stand Magnifier Loupe for Viewing Insects, Plants, Coins, Stamps, Maps, Fine Print and Wildlife (HU-55)
Carson Kids BugLoupe 4.5X Pre-Focused Stand Magnifier Loupe for Viewing Insects, Plants, Coins, Stamps, Maps, Fine Print and Wildlife (HU-55)

5X magnifying Loupe. This magnifier is the one we use all the time in our nature study. I take it along on walks and then leave it on our nature table for further investigation.


Starting a Fire Using a Magnifying Glass

My son wants me to mention that another cool thing about using magnifying glasses is that you can start a fire in an emergency. I found this video to give you some hints.

You may not wish to teach your younger children this skill until they learn to use it responsibly.

We practice this skill when we are camping by letting the boys start the campfire with their magnifying glasses.

Pocket Magnifying Glass

SE MH7016B Folding Pocket Magnifier with 2.5" Glass Lens
SE MH7016B Folding Pocket Magnifier with 2.5" Glass Lens

This one you can carry in your backpack for looking at things up close when you are on the trail. It is a little heavy but worth it when you want to look at things carefully.


Science Plans Using Your Hand Lens

A Great Book for Your Science Shelf!

Janice VanCleave's Microscopes and Magnifying Lenses: Mind-boggling Chemistry and Biology Experiments You Can Turn Into Science Fair Projects
Janice VanCleave's Microscopes and Magnifying Lenses: Mind-boggling Chemistry and Biology Experiments You Can Turn Into Science Fair Projects

Janice VanCleave is well-known for her excellent science books. This one will help you use your magnifying glass as part of a chemistry or biology unit. I love this book!


Need an idea for nature study using your magnifying lens? - Here is the Outdoor Hour Challenge: Up Close and Personal

I have written a series of nature study challenges that are quick and easy to use in any environment. This challenge involves going out into your own backyard with your magnifying lens and finding something to observe closely.

Amazing Things You Can See!

Amazing Things You Can See!
Amazing Things You Can See!

I would love to hear your comments!

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    • iijuan12 profile image


      7 years ago from Florida

      My kids love playing with magnifying glasses!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image


      8 years ago

      I use magnifying glasses in my classes (physics) all the time, and I use them at home to read the numbers on the coins in my collection. They're a very handy thing to have around.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I still like to play around with magnifying, a wonderful learning activity/1

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Quick 

      10 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      This is such a fun topic, Barb! I admit that I too am fascinated by the way things look under a magnifying glass.

    • carny profile image

      Andrew Po 

      10 years ago

      Studying is great, but kids are more interested in burning stuff with the magnifying glasses, if I remember right :)


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