We’ve got a growing collection of sensory play ideas as we work our way through the alphabet. This week we had some fun with the letter M. We combined sensory play, literacy, and science into one fun activity!
Learning about magnets with preschoolers
We used the above printable from Sparkle Box. Unfortunately, their site is now so filled with ads you can’t find the right place to download it without causing potential harm to your computer. (Shame on them!) Because of that, I made my own. You can get our magnetic recording sheet in this post.
I gathered the materials listed on the printable so my kids could test which were magnetic. I thought twice about the nail, but it wasn’t very sharp, and I knew my boys would be careful.
Next, I got out a variety of magnets. These are from a great set called the Learning Resources Classroom Magnet Lab.
We put all the objects into a container, covered them with dry beans and rice, and equipped my Three with a big sturdy magnet. He got right to work looking for the objects.
This scissors is magnetic!
So is the nail.
As each of my boys completed the activity, they marked each item as magnetic or non-magnetic on the recording sheet. They were surprised to learn that the brass fastener and penny were not magnetic – but it was no surprise to observe that the ruler, pencil, and LEGO wouldn’t stick.
At the very end they had to do some digging to find the last few missing objects!
After he finished, I challenged my Four to find ten more magnetic objects. The van is magnetic!
So is Daddy’s tool bench!
My kids had a lot of fun doing this simple science – and were well prepared since we’d been reading about magnets for a few weeks prior to the sensory activity. Here were our favorite books that are just right for the preschool set:
What Magnets Can Do, by Allan Fowler
If you’re ever looking for a nonfiction book for preschoolers and you see an Allan Fowler title, snatch it up! These Rookie Read-About Science Books are perfect. They have just the right amount of information, great pictures, and just a sentence or two per page. I’ve never been disappointed, and this one was no exception.
What Makes a Magnet, by Franklin M. Branley
Branley is another great author to watch for. While this book is not quite as simple as What Magnets Can Do, my kids enjoyed learning about how you can make your own magnet by rubbing the right kind of metal onto a magnet. Other preschool-friendly experiments are also included.