Sunday, March 23, 2014

Flying a Kite with Magnets

We have had a lot of fun with magnets lately and even incorporated them into imaginary play.   The girls love to play with their doll house, and I thought it would be fun for the dolls to fly a kite using the power of magnets (inspiration from here).  This activity helps to reinforce the idea of the magnetic field.

The kite was made from a piece of cardstock about the length of a paperclip.  I attached a paperclip to the "kite" and tied a piece of string to one end of the paper clip and tied the other end around the wrist of a doll.

I then gave it to Bug and asked her if she wanted to help her doll fly the kite.

She was excited to try.  We thought about different ways we could make it fly.  Bug's first suggestion was to blow on the kite like the wind.

Unfortunately this did not work. It just made the kite swing back and forth.  Then she noticed the paperclip and after all our magnet activities asked if I magnet could help us.

But the magnet just stuck to the paperclip.  Although the kite was now up it was still not flying.

So mommy showed her how if you held the magnet close to the paper clip but not touching that you could make the kite fly.

After a few attempts she figured out how to get it close enough to keep the kite up but far enough away that the paperclip did not stick to the magnet.  She was so proud of herself.

Of course, not to be outdone, Little Bear had to try too.  Although she did not figure out the distance, she had a lot of fun making the magnet stick to the paperclip.

This was a fun activity, and the girls enjoyed incorporating magnets into their imaginary play making their toys come alive.   

A couple of tips for this activity:
1.  Use a strong magnet so that the kite will stay up when the magnet is not touching the paperclip.  We used Neodymium magnets (but be careful with them).
2.  It works better when the kite is attached to the paperclip otherwise the paperclip tends to spin (at least with our magnets).
3.  Don't make the kite much bigger than the paperclip to ensure you get enough space between the magnet and the paperclip to make it fly or appear to float in the air.
4.  If your child is battling to get the distance between the magnet and the paperclip, hold the kite with the string taught and let them move the magnet close to the kite until you feel it attracted to the magnet.  Then tell them to stop moving closer, and you let go of the kite.
5.  Once the kite is "flying,"  you can slowly move the magnet to make the kite move in the air.



  • paperclip
  • cardstock
  • string
  • toy doll to fly the kite (optional)
  • neodynium magnet


  1. Cut a kite shape from a small piece of cardstock.  The length of the kite should be slightly bigger than the length of paperclip.
  2. Tie one end of the string to the paperclip and the other end to the doll.
  3. Attach the paperclip to the kite.
  4. Use the magnet to pickup the kite.  Slowly move the magnet away from the kite until they are not touching, but the kite is floating in the air.  
  5. Move the magnet back and forth slowly and the kite will follow.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Magnet Rainbow Masterpieces

We just celebrated St. Patrick's Day, and Jelly Bean and Jumping Bean are still enjoying rainbow activities.  So, I decided to put a little spin on a painting with magnets idea from Rockabye Butterfly Blog by having the girls paint/trace a rainbow using a magnet.  This activity incorporates science, art, and fine motor skills.

We started with one squirt of one color of paint on the rainbow so we could focus on moving the nut.  And boy, was Jelly Bean focused.  It was tricky to move the nut along the path with the magnet hidden below the paper.  

Repeat with additional drops of paint and nuts for each color band on the rainbow.  

Jumping Bean is happy with her finished rainbow!

Magnet Rainbow Masterpieces!  Job Well Done!


  • Washable tempura paint (red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple)
  • nut or paperclip
  • strong bar or wand magnet (we used bar)
  • rainbow picture (downloadable from here)
  • two equal height objects to prop up picture
  • tape

  1. Tape the rainbow picture up on the two equal height objects so that a magnet can be moved under the picture easily. 
  2. Drop one squirt of each paint color on the rainbow at a time.
  3. Place a nut or paperclip on the picture next to the paint.
  4. Put the magnet under the paper, under the nut or paperclip and move it through the paint.  Drag the nut across the rainbow coloring in the bands.
  5. Continue until the rainbow is filled in.
  6. Allow time for free draw under the rainbow or fill in the clouds.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Magnetic Slime!

When I first saw posts on Magnetic Slime I could not wait to try it out!  Now that we are exploring magnets it seemed like the perfect time to finally make the slime.

I tried a few recipes and liked the one at Get Your Mess On! the most.  To make the magnetic slime mix up your slime solutions as described at the bottom of this post.  It just takes a few ingredients - borax, glue, water and iron oxide.

This was a great exercise in measuring and mixing.

When it was all mixed together there was still a little water on top and the slime had formed below.

We then put the slime out on the table and began to play with magnets.  We used the horseshoe magnet we had at home and had great fun watching the slime rise up to meet the magnet as you brought the magnet closer.  We then made a 'worm' out of the slime and watched it reach towards the magnet or pick the worm up with the magnet.

We then got out our strong Neodymium magnets.  These were great.  We made slime volcanos as Bug would call them.    

We also watched the slime encase our magnets.  It was surprisingly easy to get the magnet out again.  You just pull it out and no residue remained on our magnets.

We had a lot of fun with this activity.  The Neodymium magnets are definitely better for the experiment as they are so much stronger.  Just be careful when using them because they are so strong.  

One suggestion is that I would play with the slime on a smooth surface as it is easier to pick all the pieces up.  

Can't wait to hear how you enjoyed this activity.  You can also store your slime in a container until the next time you want to play with it.

Magnetic Slime!

  • warm water
  • 1/3 cup iron oxide powder (we used this one here)
  • 1/2 cup white glue
  • 1 teaspoon borax
  • 2 bowls for mixing
  • neodynium magnet

  1. In the first bowl mix 1 cup of warm water with 1 teaspoon borax until most of the borax has dissolved.
  2. In the second bowl mix the glue, iron oxide powder and 1/2 cup warm water.
  3. Pour the contents of the first bowl into the second bowl and swirl the bowl around.  Wait a few minutes and the slime will form.  
  4. Mix with your hands for a minute and then remove the slime from the bowl.
  5. Place on a surface and play with your magnet.
  6. Store in an airtight container when you have finished.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

It's Magic: Floating Magnets!

Magnets are one of those items that all kids love to play with and explore.  Jelly Bean and Jumping Bean are no exception.  There are so many questions that can be formed when playing magnets:  Why do the magnets stick together?  What is that feeling when the magnets don't stick together?

Jelly Bean and Jumping Bean have been exploring magnets for the past week, and now it's time to have some magical fun with them.  I asked the girls if they can make a magnet float.  Well, there first answer was, "I don't know, let's get a bowl of water and check."  This would have been a great idea if we were learning about floating and sinking, but we are learning about magnets so I will let them explore a little more with the magnets.

While the girls explore, Jumping Bean stick the magnets together, and then could feel the magnets repel away from each other. 

Now, it's time to make our magnets float.  Jelly Bean and Jumping Bean are putting a straw from our Construction BLAST into a ball of playdough to set up a pole.

The girls are exploring how the magnets look on the straw and discover that the magnets will attract, or stick together, and repel, or push away from each other.

Whenever I can, I try to add math into our activities- even if it is a simple pattern activity.  Here, I gave the girls a card with magnets stacked on a pole similar to the ones they made.  They had to look at the card and recognize if the magnets were attracted to each other or repelling each other.  They also had to look at the color pattern.  Then, they tried to stack their magnets on the straw just like the picture (hint: scroll to the end to get a free printable copy of a pattern card to get you started). 

Jelly Bean was able to figure out how to position her magnets so they would float.  She was amazed by these magical magnets!

Floating magnets was a really fun activity for both the girls and myself.  They learned more than the fact that magnets will attract or repel eachother.  They practiced math skills such as patterns and problem solving, as well as spatial reasoning skills while trying to copy the floating magnets.  All in all, another great activity!  I hope you enjoy it too!

  • several colored donut magnets
  • straw
  • playdough
  • homemade pattern cards (click HERE to download a free printable card)

  1. Allow your child to explore with the magnets.
  2. Discuss how the magnets attract or repel eachother.
  3. Make a post using a straw and playdough.
  4. Give your child a pattern card to copy and make their magnets float.