As adults, magnets are something we take for granted, but for children discovering magnets for the first time, it’s something akin to magic.
Young children are especially captivated by the idea of things moving by themselves and magnets sticking to what seem to be random objects; fridges, paperclips, pennies… just watch this video of a child playing with magnets to see his reaction! Older children become fascinated by the ‘why’ magnets work the way they do and how magnets are part of the world around us.
When I was in secondary school, I was always super excited for my Science lessons. Learning about chemical reactions, using Bunsen burners, dissecting lamb’s hearts – all things you would never imagine you could do at home. Ok, I take your point, you probably don’t have a Bunsen burner at home, or want your child to dissect anything anywhere near your home furnishings. But, what is fantastic is that right now, so many science projects are much more available and attainable at home for children than ever before.
There are so many products that show children that science really is all around us. Magnets are such an easy and fun way to prove this, and most importantly, the experiments can be done at home!
We love the Magnoidz Magnet Science kit, it’s a fantastic set that introduces magnets and forces through 7 exciting games and activities. The kit includes the main components you need to perform experiments that include drawing with iron sand and learning how a compass works by making your own! You will need to use some items from around the home, but we feel this helps children understand that magnetism (and science) really is everywhere we look.
There are also lots of easy and interesting experiments you can do at home just using a simple horseshoe Magnet We thought these experiments from Angela at TeachingMama were such fun! Her use of pipe cleaners as objects to be picked up by the magnet is a great idea!
For something a little more STEM / STEAM based, Magformers are probably the favourite product in store at the moment, both with staff and customers. It introduces a different aspect to magnets as here we use them to construct groovy structures. Each geometric shape encases spinning magnets that never repel, so you’ll always hear the satisfying click as they latch together. Younger children (like Federico, pictured below) love the appealing colours and the forgiving nature of how the pieces click together; you don’t have to be very dexterous to make the shapes connect, he also loves to stick them to the fridge! Older children are intrigued by the 2D to 3D concepts that Magformers introduce. Follow the template cards and see how your flat shape turns into 3D builds like balls, rockets and more!
So, let’s feed the attraction to magnetism (and all science) by taking these experiments and concepts out of the classroom and trying them at home – no Bunsen burners required!