Sunday 24 February 2013


I was looking for something in our chaotic shed full of "stuff" this week when I came across a massive magnet I'd used when I was teaching.
Look how many pins I can pick up!
Magnets are another example of something which children (and adults like me) perceive as kind of magic. How amazing is it to have an invisible force at your control?! You can feel a mysterious pull, make inanimate things apparently leap to life and push things away without even touching them. Magic!
Danny spent a lot of time wandering around the house to see what would stick to his magnet. He quite quickly realised it was metal things, but then discovered that not all metal things stuck- hmmmm.
He then set himself a challenge of getting all of the pins out of his pin-a-shape set and found that he could not only pick up "millions!" but that they didn't even have to touch the magnet, they could connect together in long chains.
I can make the pins dance around all by themselves

Zac enjoyed putting the magnet underneath the box lid and making the pins move around apparently on their own. He narrated a school-based story in his best teacher voice, telling the "children" to stay together in a group and reprimanding them when some of the pins escaped the pull of his magnet and "ran away!"

Using magnets to make a really long train.

The magnet entertained them both for a long time. It's a good one!
That said, you can find little magnets all over the place. Zac discovered their attracting/repelling qualities long ago when he was playing with his train track. He realised that sometimes the trucks wanted to stick together, but other times they pushed each other away. We've also got lots of those letter magnets, which came free with a particular brand of yoghurt, so the kids are fairly familiar with things they can stick them to around the house. I once made one of those magnetic fishing games with lots of paper fish with paper clips on their nose and a magnetic letter on the end of a piece of string to be the fishing line, which the kids had fun playing with too.

So if your little one is in the mood for a bit of scientific experimentation or just a bit of magic, find a magnet and see what it will do.

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