Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I hope you enjoy this this magnetic science activity. It's fun and easy to make and best of all your preschooler will LOVE it. When I was teaching, this was one of the children's favourite science activities. It got them exploring the whole classroom looking for magnetic items with their brightly coloured wands.


* 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.


  1. Love the idea of the "magic wand" dowel rod with a magnet - gotta try that out!!

  2. What a fun idea! I love these little tins. I used them for a magnetic advent calendar this year for my kids. I've been looking for a reason to buy some more! This looks like an idea that the gal on Chasing Cheerios would like too. I would be honored to be featured here with the cardstock activity book. Thank you so much for the comment.

  3. This is such a cute idea! I use muffin tins for alot of activities for my son! Usually the 'sorting' or 'matching' activities. We already have a magnetic wand...now I need to buy some of these cute little tins :)

    Wonderful post!


  4. This looks like fun! THanks for the comment on my blog :)

  5. I found your blog looking for activities to do with a magnetic wand. I didn't want to spend the money on the tin jars, but I used a muffin tin and did have to use a plastic cup for one spot that held strong magnets. Thanks for the idea!! You have a beautiful blog.

  6. wow nice tips, we can make something fun and teach our kids using this.

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