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Magical Magnets? No, just science!

Playing with magnets can seem magical until we learn about the science behind them. Using a magnet, or magnet wand, to lift and hold magnetic objects is a fun and easy way to learn about the physical phenomena of magnetism.


Magnetic Object Hunt

Let your little one explore your home with a magnet wand, or any magnet, to see what will and will not stick. Or, if you need a little more organization, collect house hold items and sort them into magnetic and non-magnetic piles. Talk with your little one about why some things stick to magnets and others do not. Let your little one make predictions about what will be magnetic. Ask them about why they made the prediction. If you exhaust inside magnetic possibilities take the exploration outside and let your little one explore with a wand, or other magnet, to find what types of outside objects are magnetic.

Make It Move

For this activity you will need a magnet, a paperclip or other small magnetic object, and a piece of paper. Place the paperclip, or other item, on the paper. Then use the magnet to move it from underneath the paper. It will look like it is moving on its own! Let your little one try. Talk about how magnets will still stick to metal items through other types of materials like paper. Check out the video at the top of this page for a demonstration.


The supply kit provides a magnet wand and a “bottle of stuff” to explore magnetism. With your little one, run the wand up and down the bottle to see what items inside the bottle stick and what items do not. Let your little one “pick up” pieces inside the bottle and lift them up and down the sides. Talk about what types of items stick to the magnet wand.

Learn More

Find more information, and activity ideas, on magnets and magnetism for your little one.

Books about magnets and magnetism

Read more by checking out a book from our collection.

Magnets push, magnets pull by David A. Alder

What makes a magnet? By Franklyn M. Branley

Magnetism & magnets by Michael Flaherty

Magnetism by Leon Gray

Magnets by Darlene Lauw

Magnets by Robin Nelson

My magnet by Robert Pressling

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