How was your weekend? We took a mini-vacation to play in the snow and I enjoyed a little computer break along the way. I thought I could get online with my phone, but it turned out that the reception was horrible and I’ve been completely out-of-touch! It was probably a good thing, as I could really focus on my family and be as rested as possible when my one-year old woke up, inconsolable, for 2 hours in the middle of the night! I also want to formally thank my good friend Melissa from The Chocolate Muffin Tree who checked in to make sure I was okay! How lucky am I?
I’ve been on a science kick lately. Maybe because my 3-year old is completely self-serve in the art department or maybe because I’ve checked every science for kids book out of our local library? If you’re in the market for a great book of kids science experiments for ages 8 and up, I checked out The Science Explorer Out and about: Fantastic Science Experiments Your Family Can Do Anywhere (Science Explorer Out & about)and it’s phenomenal. It was written in 1997 and looks a little bit dated, but the concepts are solid and it stands the test of time. If you’ve ever been to San Francisco’s Exploratorium or if you’re familiar with their publications, you’ll feel connected to this book.
Today’s experiment is similar to one we’ve done before with paper clips +magnets (Traveling Magnets), and this takes it up a notch with a few more magnet surprises and discoveries. Here’s what you’ll need…
- Glass or vase of water. Thin glass works better than thick.
- Pipe cleaners and/or paper clips
- Strong magnets
- Small magnetic and non-magnetic objects
Cut the pipe cleaners up and add them to the vase of water and mix them up so the pipe cleaners sink. Three-year old N loved doing this step herself.
Using your magnet/s try to pull the pipe cleaners up the side of the vase. Once they reach the top, you can retrieve them or drop them back in.
It’s like fishing!
This opened up a conversation about what would stick to the magnets, so I pulled out a handful of small metal and non-metal objects for us to test.
Meanwhile, my 1-year old enjoyed stirring the water and fishing pipe cleaners out with her hands.
N understood that the magnet would only stick to metal and quickly ruled out rubber bands and post-it notes from the “Is it magnetic?” list, but we also learned that the magnet wouldn’t stick to ALL metals.
And that was a surprise!
One of the funnest surprises, however, was when a magnet fell onto the floor and stuck to a hidden nail! We dropped the rest of our magnets onto the floor and flicked them from nail to nail, watching them dance from floorboard to floorboard.
One more thought — I kept a close eye on my 17 month old throughout because our magnets are so tiny — just a thought that you might want to do the same or find some big magnets for the under 3 y.o. crowd.
What did your weekend look like? Have you been able to take a technology break? And have you had any fun magnet discoveries?
5 easy steps to set up a TinkerLab at home.