Ignite your child’s curiosity in geology with a rock exploration center! Collect some rocks from outside and gather a few materials, and your’e ready to encourage all kinds of rock investigation. It’s such an easy and fun way to foster a love of science within young children!
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I love setting up exploration centers for the kids based on their interests. (You can find all our exploration centers here.) It’s a great way to allow children to explore various subjects at their own pace and make their own discoveries. And I love that exploration centers are perfect for any age- both Theo (age 4) and Lucy (age 7) have benefitted from them! They can be set up both at home and in the classroom.
Both kids have been showing a huge interest in rocks recently. Lucy has been learning about geology at school in second grade and has been sharing all her newly acquired information with me here at home. And Theo has been collecting rocks we’ve found on walks and making observations about them. So, the rock exploration center has been a huge hit here at home! (This post contains affiliate links.)
How to Set Up a Rock Exploration Center
Setting up a rock exploration center is super easy! Start by selecting a surface that’s accessible to the kids- like a table or countertop. Then place all the rocks you’ve found onto the table for kids to explore. We have rocks we’ve collected from walks, rocks Lucy has purchased to add to her rock collection over the years, and this rock set I found online.
Add anything else you think might make a great addition. I added some paper and colored pencils for kids to record their observations and some empty egg cartons for rock sorting. A book set would also make a great addition to the exploration center. Here’s a collection of our favorite fiction and nonfiction books about rocks!
Using a Rock Exploration Center
Theo started by diving into the rock set. He loved that the rocks were numbered and quickly placed all the rocks in a line in numerical order. He then asked me to read him the names of each rock as we went down the line. We talked about different things we noticed about each rock as we went through them.
Later, Theo enjoyed sorting the rocks in the egg cartons. He sorted by ‘rocks with spots’ and ‘rocks without spots’.
Both kids loved examining the rocks using the flashlight and magnifying glasses.
In the next few days I plan on adding some items like a nail and a copper penny for the kids to use when investigating rock hardness.
Our rock exploration center has only been out a few days. I can’t wait to see what other discoveries the kids make throughout the week!
Be sure to check out STEAM Kids book and ebook for even more creative STEM and STEAM ideas!