by Staff Writer
Are you looking for a fun way to get your kids excited about science? Kids' microscopes offer an educational way to have fun and expand a child's knowledge of the natural world. If you're planning to give a microscope to a kid, be ready with a few ideas of what to look at with it. These are the best things for an amateur scientist to examine under a kids' microscope.
Hair: Grab a hair from each hairbrush in the house, and take a look at them all under a microscope. See how each person's hair is different. Under the lenses, hair is no longer a tiny strand but a round, solid rope. If you have pets, try getting one of their hairs to compare the sizes and shapes.
Small bugs and insects: Check your car's windshield or look in the corners of your window sills for dead bugs. If you find a tick, termite, fly, or spider and have the courage to place it on a slide, it will become an interesting microscope specimen. You'll be able to see details on the bodies of small bugs under microscopes that you hadn't noticed before. If you find a bug with wings, check those out under a microscope; you'll be able to see the complex construction of each wing
Plants and flowers: Under the power of a microscope, a leaf or plant stem can be an exciting experience. Try cutting a stem open and looking at the inside. Different plants will look different, and it won't be hard to find a variety of plants and weeds in your yard. Some plants even have insects that live on or inside them; you won't see them with a blind eye, but under microscopes, they will be visible. Take apart a flower to examine the stamen, and try comparing a variety of flowers to see which parts are similar and which are different.
Food: A variety of kitchen scraps are more than just trash when you put them under a microscope. Orange peels, onion skin, coffee grounds, yeast, salt, and sugar are all interesting when magnified. In the past, mold might have been the indicator that it was time to toss out your old bread. With your new microscope in hand, it has become a scientific opportunity. Mold cells might react to the light of your microscope, causing some interesting reactions to watch.
Pond water: If you have a pond or creek near your house, examine a small sample. Under microscopes, the small creatures that live inside pond water can often be seen. You'll be surprised how many microscopic neighbors you had living in your local pond.
This list is just the beginning of what can be viewed under a child's microscope. Remember, they aren't as powerful as other microscopes, so when you look for more ideas, think about how much magnification you would need to see the item and if it would be interesting for a child to view.
Microscopes can be used by children as young as 4 years old with a bit of help and supervision. Once children are 7 or 8 years old, they can learn to write notes about and make sketches of what they observe, another important skill for budding scientists to learn.