100 Things to Look at Under a Microscope

We bought our microscope for the boys a year or so ago and while I can't say we use it all the time I have found it's the perfect way to get them interested in some science when I'm having a day where I just don't have the time or the inclination to do an actual experiment with the boys.

There's something about looking at things through the lens of the microscope that make it seem magical.

A cross section of a dog's stomach that came with our slide kit

When we purchased our microscope we bought a kit of prepared slides and have had fun looking at everything included in our kit.

However, there came a time when we had to branch out and experiment with other things to look at under the microscope.  We bought some blank slides and have had a great time looking around trying to see what we can examine.

Once we started we quickly tried to think of ways to include anything and everything from around the house.

It's important to remember that the objects need to be fairly small, should be somewhat see through with light coming through them or easily sliced into thin segments.  So far this is the list of item we want to look at through the lens of our microscope:

  1. Water-- from the lake, from the faucet, from Alec's fish tank
  2. Sand-- from the yard and from the beach
  3. Salt & Pepper grains 
  4. Parsley and other seasonings
  5. Sprinkles 
  6. Glitter
  7. Sequins
  8. Ribbon/ yarn 
  9. Sugar crystals
  10. Piece of pine cone
  11. Pine needle
  12. Inside of an acorn
  13. Apple slice
  14. Leaf-- we tried to look at all the different colors of leaves under the scope 
  15. Bird seed
  16. Dollar Bill
  17. Human hair
  18. Thread
  19. Twine
  20. Carpet shavings/ samples
  21. Wood shaving
  22. Celery
  23. Lettuce 
  24. Broccoli tops
  25. Carrots
  26. Potatoes
  27. Tomatoes
  28. Flower petals
  29. Insect wing or leg
  30. Spider web
  31. Feather
  32. Dust
  33. Dryer lint
  34. Fingernail clipping
  35. Skin cells from your cheek
  36. Tooth plaque 
  37. Ear Wax (what can I say I have boys and they thought that would be cool to look at!)
  38. Onion or onion skin
  39. Moss
  40. Toadstool/ mushroom
  41. Algae (also from Alec's fish tank)
  42. Seaweed
  43. Teddy bear fur hairs
  44. Blood
  45. Chalk
  46. Maple Syrup
  47. Orange slice
  48. Pencil Shavings
  49. Plastic bag
  50. Paper-- white and colored; whole and ripped edges
  51. Newspaper
  52. Toilet paper
  53. Cotton ball
  54. Tissue paper
  55. Paper towels
  56. Ice crystals
  57. Play dough
  58. Sea shells
  59. Potting soil
  60. Soap-- liquid and a shard of bar soap
  61. Hard candy
  62. Sandwich meat
  63. Bread crumbs
  64. Mold spores (leave the bread out on the counter for a few days)
  65. Egg shells
  66. Banana slice
  67. Banana skin
  68. Flour
  69. Baking soda
  70. Toothpaste
  71. Dental floss
  72. Soda-- They wanted to try a few different flavors to compare
  73. A scab (again I have boys....)
  74. Pollen 
  75. Brillo pad
  76. Velcro
  77. Our Fingerprints when inked onto tracing paper
  78. Skin cells (put a piece of tape on your skin; press down and pull back up then look at the tape under the microscope)
  79. Dandelion seeds or milkweed puffs
  80. Fireplace soot & ash
  81. Beeswax
  82. Gum stick (not chewed)
  83. Pet hair and dander
  84. Piece of pasta
  85. Slice of cork
  86. Peanut shell
  87. Butterfly or moth wing
  88. Gauze
  89. Toothbrush or broom bristles
  90. Pumpkin or squash seeds
  91. Orange juice with pulp
  92. Thin, light colored Lego piece
  93. Epson salt or sea salt crystals
  94. Seed beads
  95. A single grain of rice
  96. Strawberry with seeds
  97. Kiwi slice
  98. Shoelace
  99. Pom Poms
  100. Chenille stem
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  1. We need a microscope! What kind of homeschooled am I, that doesn't have a microscope?! :-)

    1. LOL. I'm pretty sure there are many homeschoolers out there without a microscope; I just have three boys that would prefer to eat, sleep and breathe science so I tend to encourage that as much as humanly possible.

  2. This is a great idea. I think my kids would find this fascinating. Also sounds like a great rainy day activity.

  3. This looks like so much fun to do with children. That's a great list of 100 things to look at under a microscope. I like this idea and I might just have to do this with my nieces and nephews.

    -Nataile A.


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