Magnet Projects for Kids

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Find ideas for fun and educational magnet projects with this article. You'll discover instructions and further educational opportunities that can help kids understand magnets.

Making a Magnetic Shield

Help students understand what types of objects magnetic fields can and cannot pass through with this project.

You'll Need:

  • Donut or rectangular magnets
  • 2 in. x 3 in. pieces of cardboard
  • Paperclips
  • Plastic straws
  • Butter knives (steel)
  • Glue

Directions:

First your students are going to need to do a little construction work. Have them glue two pencils onto opposite sides of one piece of cardboard and then glue the second piece of cardboard on top. Glue the magnet near the edge of this cardboard and pencil structure. Now it's time to experiment!

Have your students see if they can stick their paperclips to the bottom of their cardboard creation. They should stick. If not, try adding an extra magnet. Next, have them slide the straw between the pencils and move it around. Does it do anything to the paperclips? No, they are completely unaffected! Why does this happen? It's because magnetic force can go through non-permeable items like straws.

But what if they slide the steel knife around between the cardboard? There go the paperclips!

The knife causes the paperclips to fall because it absorbs the magnet force lines and redirects them back to the magnet. None of the magnetic power can get to the paperclips, so they fall. Help your students strengthen their understanding of how this concept works with this lesson on magnetic force.

More Magnet Fun

This project can help students experiment with magnetic power by creating their own magnetic field.

Gather these supplies for each group:

  • 40 ft. of bell wire (insulated)
  • 6 in. cardboard tube (dia. ¼ in.)
  • 6 volt battery
  • Iron nail
  • Wire strippers

What to Do:

This project can be done in small groups. Have your students coil the wire as snug as they can around the center two inches of the cardboard tube (the ends need to be clear). Leave excess wire on either end of the tube and strip an inch of insulation from the wire.

Now, slide the nail slightly into the tube and leave it there. This is where the battery comes in! Take the exposed wires and carefully touch them to the positive and negative battery posts. The magnetic force sucks in the nail!

This movement is caused by the electricity generating a magnetic field. Once your students connect the wires to the battery, the magnet created by the wire and electricity becomes strong enough to move the nail. Your students can view this lesson to focus on finding out more about how magnetic fields are created. This topic is covered by an engaging video lesson, and they can test their understanding with a short quiz.

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