Theme Week – The Microscopic World

A young boy looks through a microscope

With our new reality of being home 24/7, we’ve been trying to find ways to keep our core values as a family while also investing time in teaching high schoolers online, running a podcast, and the host of other random things we do as a family. In order to find some modicum of structure, while still allowing for self-guided learning, we decided to come up with a theme for each week. The theme is neither comprehensive nor limiting, but rather it gives us something to launch off of for activities. I’ve decided to share what ideas we came up with (some we executed, some we didn’t), in case it helps as a launching pad for others with young ones at home.  Please note that this stuff might make up only 15-30 minutes in the day, but it’s enough to give us some sense of normalcy and it spurs a lot of curious questions and creative play.

I will break up each week into categories so that you can skip ahead to what’s of interest:

  • Activities to do as a family (experiments, outdoor activities, etc.)
  • Independent activities that the kids can do during quiet time
  • Books & Videos

Week 1: The Microscopic World

Family Activities

Our first week’s theme was born from pulling out a children’s microscope I had purchased at a consignment sale last year. While it is still a bit tricky for our youngsters, they managed to work it through.


This isn’t the exact microscope we have, but it’s the same company. Ours only goes up to x900. Our first experiment was to look at the slides that came with the microscope. They looked at an onion skin, dragonfly wing, and the tip of a honey bee’s wing. Once they had looked at all three, we drew a circle using a roll of masking tape and the kids drew what they saw from the honey bee’s wing.

A young boy looks through a microscope
Microscope in action
A young girl sits, with head turned away. A sheet of paper with a child's microscope drawing of a bee wing sits in front of her, with the words Bee Wing Buzz written across the paper.
Microscope drawings

Another day, we went for a walk and gathered some things to look at under the microscope. Between this kit and other things we had at home, we made use of vials, tweezers, and magnifying glasses to investigate found items.

Other ideas we didn’t get to:

Creating a mini microscope using a clear plastic cup (we’ll be doing this as soon as I can find some cups)

Using a garden hose to demonstrate the length of our intestines

Quiet Activities

The 5-year-old requested a small task he could do each day during quiet time. My aim is to just use content other people have already created & shared and to not stress out too much about most of them cartoon-ifying all things science. Here’s what we used this week:

These germ worksheets from Simple Everyday Mom were great. They could do each of them without guidance.

The 3-year-old was getting frustrated when writing out “bee wing” because she was having trouble with some of the letters.  I used this Dotted Font to write out a batch of words that she could trace to practice. She helped to create the list of words: bee wing, virus, microscope, cell, atom, microbe, magnification.

We also printed out this avoid the germies maze from

Books + Videos

We’ve enjoyed these books & videos when discussing the unseen. All have been borrowed from our local library:

Do not lick this book by Idan Ben-Barak

Tiny Creatures by Nicola Davies

Video – Mysteries of the Unseen World by National Geographic (we skipped through the part about the microbes living on our bodies only because of the age & temperament of our kids. They have enough to process with Covid19 right now.)

While we didn’t watch it, The Magic School Bus: For Lunch is available on some streaming sites and would be a good option.


Next week…Space!