130 Cool Things To Look At Under a Microscope

If you have a microscope at home and are looking for something to do, why not grab a few interesting items and see what they look like when magnified? There are so many cool things to look at under a microscope – from everyday objects to living things – that you will be able to view them in an entirely different light.

It doesn’t matter whether you have a compound microscope, electron microscope, stereo microscope, dissecting microscope, or just a plain old simple microscope, you’ll be able to view what different objects look close up under the lens of the microscope. This is a great activity, especially if you have kids, as looking at things under a microscope is an easy way to keep them busy while also educating them.

You might not be sure what to look at, besides the slides you already have, so we have come up with a detailed list of other random objects you can magnify. Some are living things from the human body (white blood cells or blood vessels) while others are objects you might find around your home, such as nail polish or grains of sugar. 

As long as you know what you are doing, you can have lots of fun looking at all sorts of things under a microscope. Read on and discover the cool things we recommend you look at under a microscope.

130 Cool Things To Look At Under a Microscope


close up view leaf

Some of the best things you will find come from outside in nature. You have living things like grass, worms, and moss to inanimate objects like soil, bark, and dead bugs. There are also many things outside you could collect that are a little on the yucky side, like dog or cat crap or a dead animal. Probably not the best to be bringing dead creatures inside and making a mess.

Looking at these natural creations under a microscope is a great way to find out more about life and the way things grow in the wild. You might be surprised by what you see and how different these things look under a microscope. 

  • Blade of grass
  • Flower petals
  • Pond water
  • Garden soil
  • Leaf
  • Stones
  • Dead bug
  • Sand
  • Bird feather
  • Pine needles
  • Bark 
  • Mud
  • Worm
  • Tree roots
  • Moss
  • Dust
  • Spiderweb
  • Snakeskin
  • Flower stem
  • Insect legs/body

Food/Pantry Items

onion epidermus cells seen through a microscope

Another untapped resource of everyday objects can be found in the fridge or pantry. Looking at food under a microscope is another very interesting process that shows you up close what goes into your stomach. The choice of food items is also large and varied. You can choose fresh fruits and vegetables, meat,  liquid drinks, spices and herbs, or even a candy bar before you devour it.

  • Bread (fresh and moldy)
  • Apple skin
  • Crumbs
  • Grain of salt
  • Baking powder
  • Banana
  • Onion
  • Baking soda 
  • Peppers
  • Raw meat
  • Garlic
  • Chilli powder
  • Yeast
  • Jelly crystals
  • Lemon peel
  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • Carrots
  • Poppy seed
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Coffee
  • Potato skin
  • Tea bag
  • Chocolate
  • Lollipop
  • Orange peel
  • Honey
  • Cocoa powder
  • Raw egg
  • Hot sauce
  • Celery

Human Body Parts and Cells

Cells of the body under a microscope

It might not be as easy to get human body parts or cells to use, but if you can you will be amazed about what’s inside the body and how it works. Even things like hair, dry skin, and fingernails can be used so you can see what living things look like under a microscope.

For things like blood and plasma you more than likely will need to purchase slides that already have these samples on them, unless you plan on cutting yourself open and dripping blood on a slide, which is not something we recommend.

  • Cell membrane
  • Red blood cell
  • Dead skin
  • Cytoplasm
  • Fingernail clippings
  • Ribosomes
  • Strands of hair
  • Nucleus
  • Smooth endoplasmic reticulum
  • Lysosome
  • Dandruff 
  • Bacterium
  • White blood cell
  • Saliva
  • Eyelash 
  • Chloroplast
  • Snot
  • Cell wall
  • Vacuole
  • Golgi bodies
  • Ear wax
  • Nucleolus
  • Mitochondrion
  • Rough endoplasmic reticulum
  • Gunk from under your fingernails 

Other Household Items

microscopic view cotton

Your house is full of hundreds of different things you can put under a microscope. Some won’t show much while others will blow you away with what you see when the objects are put under high magnification. Household items don’t just cover things like cleaning products or art supplies. They can be the clothes you wear, makeup, or even an old pair of stinky shoes. You’ll find some very strange things when looking at these objects under a microscope. 

  • Crayon
  • Pencil lead
  • Cotton thread
  • Different types of paper
  • Guitar string
  • Beanie
  • Sponge
  • Toothbrush bristles
  • Masking tape
  • Dorty shoes
  • Lipstick
  • Hand gel
  • Metal car
  • Beanbag 
  • Washing up liquid
  • Carpet
  • Toilet paper
  • Old underwear
  • Playdough
  • Nail polish
  • A piece of cloth
  • Wool
  • Ballpoint pen tip
  • Chalk
  • Razor blade
  • Dirty socks
  • Fishtank 
  • Ash from fireplace 

Petri Dish Experiments

close up view mop

You don’t just have to use one object or item to magnify. If you’re feeling adventurous you can collect a whole range of swabs from places around your home and view them under a microscope, or add them all together to create a melting pot of disgusting things that will freak you out.

  • Grime from inside the fridge
  • Bedroom
  • Workout area
  • Closet floor
  • Sink drain
  • Bathroom counter
  • Bottom of the toilet
  • Old dish sponge
  • Smelly socks
  • Pillows
  • Shower floor
  • Pets pillow
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Toothbrush holder
  • Soapdish
  • Bathtub
  • Dishwasher
  • Oven
  • Mop
  • Carpet
  • Garbage disposal
  • Pet food bowls
  • Dining room table
  • Microwave
  • Coffee pot


As you can see, there is a raft of objects you can magnify under a microscope. While some of them are easy to find, others take a little more work and might require help from someone else. Finding something like smooth endoplasmic reticulum is probably going to require you to buy a special slide so you can view this incredible part of the body.

Nonetheless, all of the objects and things listed above are cool things to look at under a microscope. They will provide you with plenty of entertainment and fun and are especially great if you have kids you want to keep busy for a few hours. 

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