Tools and Machines

Physical Science

(back to index) 

Tools and machines science activities for preschool

Core Learning Experience

+ Supplies and Equipment

Possible/Expected Discoveries

Extended Learning and Other Curriculum Areas


  • Set out a selection of different tools and simple machines, such as scissors, spoon, manual can opener, pencil, brush, stapler, telescope etc.
  • Try to cut some paper with your fingers-prompt children to suggest what might work better. Do something similar with the other tools, encouraging as much predicting, suggestions, and guesses from the children. 
  • Tools are used to do things better or more easily, and to do some things that could not otherwise be done at all.
  • Most things are made of parts that work together, and if one of the parts is missing or broken, it won’t work as well, if at all. Discuss the different parts and functions of each tool.
  • When parts are put together, they can do things that they couldn't do by themselves, for example the handle and blade of a screwdriver, or the various components of a door handle. Have the children suggest and discover more.
  •  Set out some toys with different parts (cars, dolls, etc) and encourage discussion. Explain that with electronic toys, the different parts are working inside the casing even if we can’t take the toy apart to see them. With battery-operated toys, take out the batteries and talk about what happens.
  • Set out some creative materials, such as cardboard, clean cans, boxes, tape, pipe cleaners wire, springs etc. Have the children create their own tools and machines, and have them explain what they might be used to help us do. Of course they don’t really have to “work”, the more creative the better.

Packs and Printables :


Simple Machines by Jo Ellen Moor (an activity book)
Simple Machines by Allan Fowler



Tools and Machines Theme Activities for Preschool 




 Theme activities and printables for preschool and kindergarten

Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Homeschooler -