* Muffin tin
* 12 small tin jars with clear lids ( I found mine at Michaels)
(picture courtesy of rachelssupply.com)
* 12 items both magnetic and non magnetic some ideas are: staples, jewels, bells, paper clips, wooden stars, crayon pieces, dice, marbles, nails, lego, cork, mini clothes pegs, erasers.
* A strong magnetic wand like the ones pictured below (http://www.teachersource.com/)- I made one of these by gluing a strong magnet onto a wooden dowel.
* Be sure to explain to your child(ren) what magnetic means and why some items are magnetic and some are not. I do it in a very simple way that a child can understand without getting into all the scientific aspects of magnets....heck I don't even know that....science wasn't my think. Try something along the lines of " some things around us in our house or preschool are made of metal. Metal is hard and can be found on a stove or a fridge. When a magnet touches something metal it STICKS to it like this (demonstrate). If something is not metal it will NOT stick to a magnet. Children will quickly discover that when they move their magnet wand over the magnetic items in the jar they will quickly jump to the top of the lid.
* Give the child a magnet to look at first and then introduce an item that is magnetic and non magnetic. Once the child is done exploring the two items allow them to try out the muffin tin. They will also be surprised to find that the muffin tin itself is magnetic.
* I glued the lids onto my jars to prevent a choking hazard to curious little ones. I also velcroed my jars into the muffin tin so they can be removed for closer discovery and sorted.
* Ask your child(ren) to guess what items they think are magnetic and which are not. Make a record on a chart.
* For the classroom- have each child bring someting magnetic and non magnetic from home to be explored.
* At home- get your child(ren) involved with making their own magnetic muffin tray using small items from around the house.
* As you all know, be mindful when allowing children to explore and play with small items that present a choking hazard. I find this is an activity that is best suited for children 3 years and up in a supervised environment.