Unleash the Amazing Power of Magnets with These Simple Experiments
There’s a lot more to magnets than just holding up pictures on the refrigerator.
Margo Gothelf and Sarah Burns
Did you know that magnets can defy gravity? Or that they can make cereal move? Want to learn more about these mighty little electron movers? Break out the lab coats to test out these highly-attractive (sorry...had to) magnet experiments for kids.
Defy Gravity with Paperclips
Buggy and Buddy
Think you have what it takes to defy gravity? These magnets sure do. This magnet paperclip experiment works in two parts to show the concept of gravity. First, you’ll use paperclips to see how gravity works in real time. Then, you’ll craft a magnetic bridge to see how magnets can disrupt gravity. This experiment is great for kids of all ages because it takes an abstract concept and brings it to life. Check out all the instructions on Buggy and Buddy.
Test a Magnet Sorting Mat
Want an easy experiment to teach kids about magnets? Look no further than this magnet sorting mat. Head on over to PreKinders to print out the sorting mat. Then gather a bunch of regular household objects like a key, paperclips, rubber bands, or pens and put them in a bin. You’re going to want to have a solid mix of magnetic and non-magnetic items — otherwise, the experiment goes downhill pretty fast. Once you’ve got a good collection of items, use a magnetic wand to sort them into the right section of the mat.
Make Magnetic Slime
Surviving a Teacher's Salary
Slime seems to have a mind of its own when it oozes all over the place — but with the addition of one secret ingredient, you can control the slime and watch the blob come to life. So, what exactly is that secret ingredient? It’s the addition of black iron oxide powder. The powder is a magnetic material that gives the slime the same magnetic properties as a typical magnet. See how to make this unusual slime for yourself over on Surviving A Teachers Salary.
Experiment with Magnetic Pyramids
Babble Dabble Do
Channel your inner Harry Potter and see how you can make magnets move on their own with this pyramid magnet experiment. Head over to Babble Dabble Do and follow the instructions to build the structure to hold up the magnets. Then set up them and watch the magnetic forces at work! Cycle through the four different experiments and see how the different forces react to each set of magnets.
Eat Magnetic Cereal (Or Don't! Up to You)
There's Just One Mommy
Got a box of iron-fortified cereal in the cupboard? Prepare to blow your kid’s mind at breakfast. Take a few pieces of the cereal and place them in a shallow bowl with a bit of water. Then, bring a strong magnet next to the cereal and watch it move! After your kids stop freaking out about their cereal moving around, explain to them that the iron in the cereal has the same properties of metal that are attracted to magnets. After this experiment, it will be understandable if your kids want a break from cereal for a while.
Freeze Magnetic Ice
Little Bins for Little Hands
This exciting experiment from Little Bins For Little Hands shows how you can change ice to make it seem magnetic. Simply freeze magnetic items like paper clips or marbles in an ice tray with water overnight. As the items freeze into the ice, it gives the illusion that the ice is magnetic. Play around with the ice cubes on a cookie sheet with a magnetic wand and see how you can move them all over the place.
Make Magnets Bounce
Babble Dabble Do
Did you know that magnets can jump? Set up this simple bouncing magnetic experiment and measure just how high they'll go. This experiment is simple to make, but there is a drill involved, so an adult will need to help with setup. But once you’ve got your structure built, it’s jumping time. Take turns reversing the magnets on the wooden dowel until they create a springlike state. As you place them on, you’ll start to notice how the magnets repel each other, creating a bouncing effect. Bounce headfirst into the instructions and science behind the project over on Babble Dabble Do.
Drive a Magnet-Powered Car
Grab a toy car from the toy box and attach a magnet to the back. You can use any size magnet, but a bar magnet will fit the best. Then, it's time to start your engines! Grab another magnet or a magnetic wand and hover it around the car to see if you can get it to move. It might take a few tries, but eventually, you’ll see how the magnets react with one another and make the car go. If you want to take this experiment to the next level, set up a racetrack around your house and race different magnetic cars around the track.
Test Gravity and Magnetism
Want a simple and exciting magnet experiment that will make your kid's jaw drop? Try this quick gravity and magnetism activity. This experiment uses paperclips and a large magnet to display the concept of gravity and magnetic force. Want to know the exciting part? The palm of your hand is required to connect the two different properties, making your kids essential in the experiment. Check out all of the details over on Rookie Parenting.
Make a Magnet Pendulum
The magnet pendulum experiment might not be the newest experiment around, but there is a reason it is still this popular. The best part about this classic experiment is that no matter how many times you attempt it, you never know which way the pendulum will swing and how long it will go for. Learn how to create your own over on Teach Beside Me.