Just in case this beautiful weather does not continue (oh please let the sun shine over the Easter holidays!) here are some more activities using magnets that you can do easily, quickly and with items in the home.
Simply fill a plastic bottle with magnetic items with non magnetic items. I filled a bottle with tack nails and broken uncooked spaghetti. You could use lentils, cereal, pasta, water etc. and fix the top down with sellotape if you need to. Give them a magnet and off they go trying to fish out the magnetic materials. A perfect, peaceful busy activity.
I also showed the kids another magnetic “magic” trick. This activity also allowed me to introduce gravity.
To start, I asked a few questions to work out what was known and introduce the concept of gravity. After grasping that ‘whatever goes up must come down’, I set up the trick. For this you need a box, a magnet, string, sellotape and a paperclip.
Stand the box up and secure a magnet to the top. You can tape it on the inside or on top. Then attach the paperclip to the string (tie on) – the length of the string depends on the size of the box, so hold the base of the string at the bottom of the box and move the paperclip up to the magnet to the point at which it stays in mid air by itself. This is the length needed!
What you will see is the paperclip ‘defy’ gravity.
The kids were amazed even though they understood it was the magnet that allowed the paperclip to ‘defy gravity’. They had fun and, as the magnet was on top of the box, enjoyed moving the magnet about and seeing the paperclip move. The little one was chatting away, repeatedly saying ‘magnekik’. Well done my budding scientist!
What impressed me happened much later. A few hours after this activity my eldest came to me to say that things in space did not stay in the ground and this was because there was no gravity in space. I found that he had been watching something on Cbeebies which had informed him and I was so proud that he had independently built on his knowledge that he gained with me……he really was listening!! 🙂
If you do purchase some magnets then make sure you get something similar to these:
These are brilliant! I bought these almost a year ago and had kept them hidden to give as a pressie when they kids were older but what with all the magnet fun we have been having, I could not leave them hidden for much longer. They are very powerful and make a fabulous noise when thrown in the air – they are drawn to each other and rattle as they hit each other. They came in handy for the investigations too. Just keep them away from electrical items!
What happens when you jump?
What will happen when you throw this (item) in the air?
What will happen when you throw this paperclip in the air?