Exploring magnets is always a ton of fun for kids. The Purple Cow sent us The Crazy Scientist LAB – Magnetic Wonder science kit for review. All of the supplies are included in the kit, so it was super easy to get started learning about magnets. Check out these 5 magnet explorations you can try, too. I get commissions for purchases made through affiliate links in this post.
Magnet Explorations for Kids
There are instructions for 14 magnet explorations in The Crazy Scientist LAB – Magnetic Wonder science kit. I’m going to share 5 easy magnet explorations that you can try at home today plus a couple bonus ones that require special materials.
Safety note: Adult supervision is needed. Take care with small parts and follow directions. The kit from The Purple Cow is recommended for ages 8 and up.
#1 What’s Magnetic?
Go on a search around your house and explore what materials are magnetic. Take a magnet and try to attach it to different items. What do these items have in common? This magnetic scavenger hunt is a simple introduction to magnets – perfect for a variety of ages. Use large magnets (like these horseshoe magnets from Learning Resources) for younger kids.
#2 Magnets Race
Place two magnets next to one another on the table. Do they attract one another or do they repel? Flip them so they repel each other.
Push one magnet towards the other magnet. You’ll notice the other magnet runs away. Keep chasing the magnet around the table. Can you create a maze for the magnets to navigate? Try this simple mini magnet maze from Science Sparks.
#3 Flying Paper Clips
Watch paper clips fly through the air as you explore how distance affects magnetic attraction. Place the paper clips on the table. Bring a magnet close to the paper clips. How far away was the magnet when it pulled the paper clip? Try different magnets. Does the distance change? Try sticking two magnets together. Will that attract the paper clips from a farther distance?
#4 Make a Compass
Did you know you can use a magnet to make a compass? You’ll need a magnet, a straight pin, a piece of Styrofoam (or try it with other floating objects like a leaf), and a bowl of water.
Rub the straight pin along the magnet in one direction (not back and forth). The kit suggests doing this for about a minute or 60 times. Stick the straight pin into the Styrofoam or lay it on the floating leaf. Place the Styrofoam and straight pin in the bowl of water. Watch it spin around until it points North.
#5 Dancing Scientist
This magnet exploration will be easier with the kit but you can still make it with materials from home. You’ll need a paper clip, a piece of paper, a marker/pen, a lid or piece of cardboard, tape, and a magnet strong enough to attract the paper clip through the lid or cardboard.
Bend your paper clip so it forms an S shape with the top of the S standing vertically and the bottom of the S lying horizontally. Draw and cut out a scientist from the paper. Tape the scientist to the top of the paper clip. Tape the paper clip to the top of your lid or cardboard. Place the magnet underneath the lid/cardboard. Move the magnet back and forth to make the scientist dance! This demo illustrates how some magnets can attract through different materials. Moving the magnet causes the paper clip to move and thus the scientist to dance.
Bonus: Magnetic Putty
If you have magnetic putty (included in the The Crazy Scientist LAB – Magnetic Wonder science kit), you can try these ideas with neodymium magnets. Make an elephant’s trunk by placing the magnets close to the magnetic putty. The magnets will attract the putty and the putty will go towards the magnets. Continue pulling away and watch what happens!
You can also make the magnet vanish. Roll the magnetic putty into a ball. Place the magnet on the putty and watch what happens.
The Purple Cow has even more Crazy Scientist kits – some are available on Amazon.
More Science Activities for Kids
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