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.


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