Today we had friends over to explore magnets. I thought I would share some of the things we did.
What is magnetic?
To start, I had collected 6 different items, three which I knew were magnetic and three which I knew that weren’t. We then went around the table and I let the kids chose an object. All three kids would then hypothesize whether it was magnetic or not and then the child who chose the object would see if it was magnetic our not. They would then record their answer on a chart that I had printed out beforehand for them.
Magnets Have Poles
Next we talked about how magnets have poles just like the earth does and we discussed the names of the poles. Then using two different horseshoe magnets (the ones we used had N and S on them), we had the kids test what would happen if we put the North and South together, North and North together and South and South together. This also allowed us to discuss the words attract and repel as they recorded their answers on the chart I had provided.
After we used the horseshoe magnets, we uses two star and two donut shaped magnets I had. These magnets do not have the poles marked, however, I had taped colored squared to the poles. Red for North and blue for South. We then repeated the same experiment as above, just using the colors. It was a great way to reinforce what we had talked about and the words attract and repel.
Once we were done discovering what was magnetic and the fact that magnets had poles, we then moved onto a few just plain old fun activities that you can do with magnets.
First we tried to make a tissue paper butterfly fly without actually touching the paperclip. This was hard than I suspected, but it was probably because I needed a stronger magnet.
Next, we magnetized a pair of scissors. I showed the kids how I could not pick up a paperclip with the scissors, then I rubbed a magnet, in the same direction, several times along the metal part of the scissors. This magnetized the scissors and allowed me to pick up some paperclips with the scissors. (I guess I didn’t get a picture of that one…)
The kids then used the magnets to move paperclips and cut up pipe cleaners around in plastic bottles.
We then tested to see if we could move paperclips using magnets, even if they were in water.
There was just also a lot of playing with lots of paperclips and the different magnets.
Overall, I would say the kids had a great time exploring magnets, especially since they didn’t immediately get up and go back to playing.
What fun have you had with magnets?