3 ways to have fun with magnets

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Getting to experience magnets for the first time can be an almost magical experience for kids.

For kids, it can be like, “What is going on with this object that so many things stick to it?” That is part of what makes discovering magnets so exciting.

In this post I share three activities I have done with my kids to learn about magnets through play.

Note: Find more hands-on science activities for young children on my Science Activities for Kids page!

Learning and playing with magnets: Great hands-on science, sensory, and art ideas using magnets. I love these ideas for preschoolers! || Gift of Curiosity

Magnet sensory bin

Our day started with a magnet sensory bin. (I LOVE sensory bins!) I used white rice as the base and then put in in some magnets from our Fun with Magnets kit. Then, I tossed in a variety of magnetic and non-magnetic objects for the kids to explore.

Magnet sensory bin: One of three fun and hands-on science, sensory, and art ideas using magnets. I love these ideas for preschoolers! || Gift of Curiosity

Both of the kids picked up a magnet and started exploring with it.

Magnet sensory bin: One of three fun and hands-on science, sensory, and art ideas using magnets. I love these ideas for preschoolers! || Gift of Curiosity

Magnet sensory bin: One of three fun and hands-on science, sensory, and art ideas using magnets. I love these ideas for preschoolers! || Gift of Curiosity

They liked to see what objects would stick to the magnet.

Magnet sensory bin: One of three fun and hands-on science, sensory, and art ideas using magnets. I love these ideas for preschoolers! || Gift of Curiosity

Magnet sensory bin: One of three fun and hands-on science, sensory, and art ideas using magnets. I love these ideas for preschoolers! || Gift of Curiosity

Using a magnet to remove a paperclip from a bottle

After they had explored the contents of the sensory bin for a while, I showed the kids how they could use a magnet to get a paperclip out of a bottle. QBoy and XGirl took turns doing this several times each.

Using a magnet to get a paperclip out of a bottle: One of three fun and hands-on science, sensory, and art ideas using magnets. I love these ideas for preschoolers! || Gift of Curiosity

Painting with magnets

Then I introduced them to magnet painting, an idea I originally saw on Rockabye Butterfly.

I had the kids squirt globs of paint onto a paper plate.

Painting with magnets: One of three fun and hands-on science, sensory, and art ideas using magnets. I love these ideas for preschoolers! || Gift of Curiosity

Then, they dropped a paperclip and a metal nut onto their plates.

Painting with magnets: One of three fun and hands-on science, sensory, and art ideas using magnets. I love these ideas for preschoolers! || Gift of Curiosity

Then they used a magnet beneath the plate to move the paperclip and metal nut through the paint. This was a bit more challenging then I had anticipated as the items on the plate did not seem to stick to the magnet as well as I had thought they would. But it worked well enough.

Painting with magnets: One of three fun and hands-on science, sensory, and art ideas using magnets. I love these ideas for preschoolers! || Gift of Curiosity

Painting with magnets: One of three fun and hands-on science, sensory, and art ideas using magnets. I love these ideas for preschoolers! || Gift of Curiosity

The kids loved this activity, and asked to do it more than once. Here is the end result!

Painting with magnets: One of three fun and hands-on science, sensory, and art ideas using magnets. I love these ideas for preschoolers! || Gift of Curiosity

 

Do you have other ideas for learning about magnets we should try? If so, please leave me a note in the comments. I’d love to hear your ideas!

More science activities for kids

More science posts from Gift of Curiosity:

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Find more great science activities on my Science Activities for Kids page and my Science Activities Pinterest board. 

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Comments

  1. Emily says

    I love the magnetic sensory tub! I have a basket of magnets like that in my classroom…LOVE Magnatiles!

  2. Valerie @ Glittering Muffins says

    Great post! Have to get a magnet wand.
    I like the posts so much I featured it on our “The Kid’s Co-op” post!

  3. Kathryn @ Big Kids says

    Magnet bins are awesome to play with & I love the challenge of moving a paperclip through the rice! The following is an easy & fun activity that’s heavy on problem-solving & critical thinking. Use recyclable plastic water bottles to make 5 Discovery Bottles. Fill one with colored water & oil, one with rice, one with popcorn kernels, one with store-bought sand, and one with corn syrup. Inside each bottle add different little items that are magnetized and others that are not (small plastic letters, glitter, coins, shells, glass beads, screws, paperclips, pony beads, nuts & bolts, etc). If you have magnet paddles, they’re perfect to manipulate the items inside. If not, get a child size pair of thin winter gloves & hot glue heavy duty magnets to a couple of the fingertips. The sensation of feeling the “pull” of the magnets is pretty cool, too.

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