Pre K-Schoolers and The Science of Pine Cones

Batman is a science buff.

Sounds strange for a 4-year-old, but it’s true. His favorite birthday gift was a Primary Science Lab set.  That boy could spend hours at the table doing ‘experiments’. And Bug loves anything her brother loves. Win-win for me!

I’m trying to keep that love of science alive, so we look for opportunities to work it in to our daily routine.  Yesterday, that was accomplished with pine cones.

Picture from

Picture from

My kids and I like to walk places when we can. Gets us outside, kills some time, eco-friendly, AND a good workout. How could we not, really? So yesterday we were walking to the grocery store, and on our way we picked up some pine cones.

We’d stop every time we saw some and gather two, one for Batman and one for Bug. Bug is little and just likes to hold them. Batman was on a mission though. I’d ask him questions about what they looked like, and he’d look for differences and similarities between the two. We put them all in a bag, and by the time we got back home he had quite a collection (16 to be exact.)

After our observations on the walk, we did a couple of things at home. First, he used a magnifying glass to observe the pine cones further. His idea. He loves that thing. Came in the above mentioned lab set. Then, he began to sort. Similar sizes, similar shapes. It was a great activity for a 4-year-old.

When he was done sorting, he asked if we could look them up on the computer. 🙂 Good idea, little man! With the help of Google, we read about different conifer trees in our area, and found some pictures that we could compare to help us identify what we had found.

Batman loves his new pine cone collection. There are so many similar ways to interact with your environment – take a walk and see what you and your kids can learn! They’ll grow up with a love of science and an environmental awareness, and you’ll get some great free family time in. You may learn a thing or two, as well!

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