Some of my favorite tools for working with kids exploring nature are these little magnifiers. They are very inexpensive, easy to handle and kids love them. I first discovered them working at a local nature center. They can be ordered at places like Acorn Naturalist and at some museum gift shops. I also like white dishpans, plastic trays and little plastic carrying cases with tops.My very favorite thing is this little aquarium. They are very small and narrow and kids can see into them very easily and can handle them easily too.
They are great when you're looking at small fish, crabs, etc. They are also great for fresh water exploration, looking at caterpillars, etc.
This squid kept everyone busy for awhile as they checked out its various parts. Did you know that a squid is a mollusk, not a fish?