I recently signed Gray up to take a class at The DoSeum – our local children’s museum that I have written about before. The class is called “Little Makers” and it’s basically a science and engineering class for toddlers 18-36 months old. Yesterday was our first class. Not only did Gray have a blast, I came away very inspired…
His teacher, Ms Cheryl, had all sorts of magnets for the kids to explore with. The invitation to play was simply a box of random items and a couple of magnet wands. Gray immediately dug in and was ready to explore! She had extension activities for those who were interested in sorting their magnetic vs non-magnetic items, and blank paper “journals” for any who wanted to draw/write their thoughts. Gray enjoyed sorting his magnetic/non-magnetic items, and eagerly sat in my lap to sort them! He enjoyed playing with magnets on the classroom divider wall, and of course he loved the story – Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site is one of our family favorites! (Aff link, thank you!) Then after class he enjoyed going to the Kaleidoscope play area and spending more time with the MagnaTiles there. (Aff link, thank you!) All of the magnet play inspired me, and we ended up purchasing our own set of MagnaTiles to take home with us.
While he napped, here’s what I set up for when we got home from picking up Sis from Mother’s Day Out:
The invitation to play was simple – a box full of random items both magnetic and non-magnetic, and a bunch of MagnaTiles. When we got home, Becca immediately hopped up into her chair and started playing. Without me even showing her or telling her what to do, she started testing items to see if they are magnetic. Today, I’ll give her the same activity with a sheet of paper similar to what Gray had for sorting at the DoSeum and let her sort her items based on whether they are magnetic or not. Gray also immediately dove in and really enjoyed the activity again at home in our little variation.
Because I’m all about being honest with you and telling you what works and what doesn’t work, this is NOT an activity for your toddler to do unsupervised. I thought I’d take advantage of them being so engaged, and I’d do the dishes… well, then I looked over and he had something in his mouth. Thankfully, it was just a pompom – not a magnetic item, but because he’s cutting a couple of new teeth right now, I can’t give him the box unsupervised. This is an activity to do when I’m sitting right with him. To buy myself some more time, I simply removed the box from his reach and let him play with the MagnaTiles. He LOVES building with the MagnaTiles and that easily occupied him for the rest of the time I needed him to be occupied until I could join him at the table and let him have the box back with close supervision.
MAKING THE BOX
Here are some ideas of what you could put in your box. I used the following items that I had laying around randomly here:
-Colored Rice (non)
-Mixed beans and corn from an old fall sensory bin (non)
-Paper brads (magnetic)
-Refrigerator magnets (magnetic)
-Pipe cleaners, cut into pieces (magnetic)
-Jingle bells (magnetic)
-Play plastic coins (non)
-Foam blocks (non)
-Fruit pouch lids (non)
-Plastic stackers (non)
Here are some other fun magnet activity sets that we have and enjoy (Aff links, thank you!):
MindWare Imagination Patterns (Becca got this for Christmas and loves it! Gray has not used these… but easily could – they are large enough to be toddler safe, she’s just very possessive of them.) UPDATE: Gray loves playing with this set! There are a couple of small circles that I take out of the set when he plays with it.
Magz51 New Interlocking Toy Building Set (NOT toddler safe)
Magnetic Spinning Gears (Both kids LOVE this set!)
Lauri – Fun with Magnets (I have this set on order and can’t wait for it to arrive!)
Children’s books about magnets (Aff links, thank you!):
What Makes a Magnet?
What Magnets Can Do
Magnets: Pulling Together Pushing Apart
What fun magnetic activities have you done? The kids are totally enthralled and I’m looking forward to finding more fun magnet activities! I also think Becca would enjoy going on a magnetic hunt to test different household objects to see which are magnetic and non-magnetic… we may do that today!
3 thoughts on “Magnet Exploration”
SO many great ideas here! We need to take the plunge on Magnatiles…it’s like the one toy we don’t have yet. 🙂
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Yes, it is a plunge, but if you’re wondering what size to get, with two kids the 32 piece linked in the article really is enough for both kids to play at the same time. 🙂
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I would have splurged for Addie’s birthday, but she’s decided she wants an American Girl doll. So, that puts us back to Kate’s birthday in September… 🙂 (I’m really trying not to buy/give toys throughout the year now that they’re getting older.)
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