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To add a little hands-on fun to our homeschool day, I pick up small kits like this one to incorporate into our studies. This particular “Fun with Magnets” kit appealed to me because it has so many different kinds of magnets and materials, as well as experiment cards with step-by-step directions. Sounds like fun, right? Well, here’s how we used this kit…
Joseph grabbed this magnet kit from my cabinet o’fun (filled with hands-on learning toys) on Friday and had a blast with it. I stayed back and watched him checking out the pieces and trying different combinations of magnet activities. After about 10 minutes, he found the experiment cards and asked for my help. That’s my cue to enter “teacher mode” and join him while I slip in some, “Did you know…” questions. Tricky, right?
The first experiment we tried out was seeing how many of the little metal washers and bolts we could hold with the wand magnet. Joseph was pretty impressed with this one and tried out each of the magnets, observing the bigger magnet seemed stronger because it picked up all of the washers and nuts, as well as the other magnets!
The second experiment required taping two pencils to the table and use the U-shaped magnet to push and pull the rectangle-shaped magnet straight between them. We talked about “attracting” versus “repelling” forces and how they worked. For those that might be rusty, the experiment card has a great explanation that was pretty easy to understand.
Then, for experiment three, we filled a small bowl with water and elevated it on a cup to see if he could control the movement of the magnets that we had taped to the rubber “boats” from outside of the bowl. He quickly discovered that it didn’t work to wave the wand magnet under the bowl, but he could move the boats from the side and pick them up from the top. This one was pretty funny, though with littles that bowl might be a spill zone!
The fourth experiment was using the rubber balls with metal inside. Joseph put the blue ball on top of a thin piece of cardboard and then moved it around with the wand from underneath. He didn’t expect this one to work after our experience with the water bowl, but was excited to see it did! We talked about how magnetic forces can move through some substances, but not all of them, and the closer the magnet was to the metal, the stronger the attract or repel forces would be.
For our last experiment, Joseph taped the rectangular magnet to the top of his hot wheels car and pushed and pulled it through the pencils we set up for the second experiment. He was more impressed with this one and loved to repel the magnet sending his car flying off the table!
Overview, if you’re looking for a fun activity to add to your homeschool or classroom, this kit was great! It had three different types of magnets, a handful of metal objects, a small compass, and several non-metal objects that served as a great example of materials that are not attracted to magnets.