Science Magnifying Board

This magnifying would make a great addition to the science center in your preschool or kindergarten classroom.

It can easily be used to introduce children to the sense of sight during your five senses unit. They can use magnifying glasses to look at the items inside the dishes.

This is what I like to call a “Lakeshore Hack”, which is when you make something yourself for much less money than it costs at the Lakeshore Learning store.

DIY Science Magnifying Board
Disclosure: Amazon links included below

DIY Science Magnifying Board

I recently discovered these petri dishes in the Target Dollar Spot and was immediately reminded of this fantastic idea from A Little Learning for Two.

I bought the petri dishes and the magnifying glasses at the Dollar Spot and the rest of the materials I had on hand at home.

I have listed the items I put inside my petri dishes below but you can use anything you have on hand or interests your students.

Magnifying Board Supplies

  • Rice
  • Text cut from a science magazine
  • Picture cut from the same magazine
  • Dried pumpkin seeds
  • “Fossil” (dried playdough with an imprint in the middle)
  • Bolts

How to Make a Magnifying Board

I started by turning over an old wooden puzzle frame and attaching the petri dishes to the back using E6000 glue. If you are not familiar with E6000 glue it can be found at most home improvement or craft stores, it will permanently adhere anything to anything.

Next, I placed the items inside the petri dishes and used the E6000 glue to permanently seal the lids closed.

To introduce this activity I read an age-appropriate book on the topic of sight titled Look! (Amazing Body: The Five Senses) by Dana Meachen Rau.

More Science Resources:
Science Center Materials
Science Sound Shakers
DIY Science Magnetic Tray
DIY Science Texture Board
DIY Safety Mirrors
Scented Discovery Bottles
Scientist of the Day Printable
Nature Walk Printable
Science Observation Notebook Printable

Science Center Pinterest Board
Follow my Science Center board on Pinterest for more great ideas!

About Vanessa Levin

Vanessa is the creator of Pre-K Pages and author of the book A Fabulous First Year and Beyond: A Practical Guide for Pre-K and Kindergarten Teachers. She has more than two decades of teaching experience and enjoys helping kids and teachers through her professional development sessions. Follow Vanessa on Facebook, Google +, Twitter and Pinterest.


  1. I was just at Target last night and passed up the petri dishes. Now I have to go back!

  2. Brilliant! I bought those too! I went back for more and they were gone!

    • Laral- Here’s a tip for the Dollar Spot. Look in the place where the petri dishes should be and if that spot is empty take the barcode off the shelf below and take it to customer service. They will scan the barcode and give you a print out of what stores in your area still have the item. Good luck!

  3. Wow, what a really great ever-changing fun for the classroom. I LOVE this idea! Tomorrow I go look for these dishes!

  4. I bought like 30 of those petri dishes from Target! LOL! I love them and we have been using them for fun activities. I never thought of using them like this! What a GREAT idea!

  5. I like this idea. If I secured the lids it would be safe for my toddlers to explore items that wouldn’t be safe otherwise. And they all love magnifying glasses!

  6. I love this idea. I can’t wait to try. Hopefully I can find petri dishes at Dollar Tree.

  7. I was at Target last week…im going back to check. Especially since I purchased one of these with my tiny school budget and they items in the circles are sooooo tiny!!! I will be making more of these very soon. Thanks for the great ideas!

  8. JDaniel4's Mom says:

    JDaniel would loved experimenting with these.

  9. Great idea. Do you think glue gun would work?

    • I think a glue gun would work but if the child/children are too rough with it the petri dishes and lids might come off. That’s why I use E6000. They do make other permanent glues though if you can ‘t find E6000.

  10. Sandy in SoCal says:

    Yay! I bought every package I could find yesterday…they were in a bin with other pretend science stuff (magnifying glasses, microscopes, etc). I had to dig around, but I got five 2-packs. That ought to get me started!! I still have another Target in town I haven’t visited yet… 😉

  11. Sandy in SoCal says:

    OH…I also bought the book on Amazon!! I love that you always include those links…thank you!!

  12. Caroline King says:

    I ordered 25 petri dishes from ebay, the cost including shipping was only $ 8.00. I also used liquid nails from Lowes to attach my dishes. It turned out great :)

  13. Does that e600 glue work better than a hot glue gun? And I love all of the ideas..thanks this comes at a time when I need more activities for the senses…..

    • Hi Cathy, In my opinion the E6000 glue does work better than a hot glue gun. E6000 is similar to a superglue and can adhere any materials together. Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

Printables for Pre-K and Kindergarten Teachers

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