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Learning about Magnets

This hands-on science activity is a fantastic way to teach your kids about magnetism and have fun at the same time.  Teach your child how to observe events and record what they see.

Activity Instructions

Set out relatively small items in a variety of materials, but make sure that both magnetic and non-magnetic materials are present. These items can be paper clips, plastic bottles, silverware, and any other items you have around the house. After setting all of them out, tell your little ones about how magnets stick to magnetic materials. Demonstrate this by running the magnet over the magnetic items you have gathered. Then, show them how the non-magnetic items do not stick to the magnet. See if you can pick up one paperclip and then use that paperclip to pick up other ones. Promote a dialogue with your kids by asking them if they think certain other materials around the house are magnetic. For example, ask them if the refrigerator will attract the magnet. Give your little ones magnets and go around the house with them, testing different materials. Explain to them that they should only test materials with an adult and not do this on their own.

Materials

  • Magnetic Items (Paper Clips, Nails, Soda Can, Coins)
  • Non-Magnetic Items (Plastic Soda Bottle, Small Box, Paper)
  • Magnet(s)

Outcome

Kids love magnets, and although your preschooler or kindergartener old may not be able to grasp the scientific details of magnetic poles and why they attract, they can learn valuable observation skills and begin to engage with science.