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Learning About Earth Materials in Preschool

Preschoolers love exploring soil, sand, rocks, and any other type of Earth material! Here are three activities that introduce, reinforce, and then assess students' understanding!


  • 3.3 PK.A.1 Sort different types of earth materials.

  • 3.3 PK.A.7 Participate in simple investigations of earth structures, processes, and cycles to answer a question or to test a prediction.

Activity #1: Sensory Bins & Data Chart

Any science lesson should begin with hands on exploration. Rather than telling preschoolers about Earth materials, show them and allow them to make discoveries for themselves! Provide students with samples of various Earth materials (sand, soil, rocks) to investigate with their hand magnifiers. After a few minutes, ask students prompting questions that help them organize their thoughts. Which material feels smooth? Which feels bumpy? Which is wet? Which is dry? What do they look like? Where would you find these materials? Which types of animals would you find in this material? Students can then fill in a chart by drawing answers to these questions.

Then, provide students with photos of these characteristics and allow them to sort them according to the Earth materials. This is a great opportunity to clarify and reinforce discoveries!

Activity #2: Animal Sort

Animals are a key component of preschool learning. Provide scenery sorting mats to students and talk about the different environments that they represent. Then, provide students with animal cards and allow them to match the cards to the environments. Discuss why they chose the environments for each animal and talk about how this relates to Earth materials. This is another opportunity for students to make connections with the information that they discovered.

Activity #3: Earth Materials Hunt

Students will have the opportunity to apply their learning on a nature walk! Students should be asked to focus on what they see and hear. Another important component of preschool science is learning to use the five senses so this is a great way to integrate another skill. Using a clipboard, students can check off targeted Earth materials as they find them on their walk!


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