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.

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