Are you trying to teach magnetism? Boring lectures and worksheets are fine, but they’re not very much fun to sit through. It’s much more exciting to learn how magnets work by being hands-on instead!

If you’re ready to get started, below you’ll find a ton of easy science projects for kids using magnets. Try these experiments in your classroom, do them at home on a rainy weekend, or put them together if you really, really want to win the science fair this year!

Here are the 10 best magnet science projects for kids. Everyone is sure to be attracted to these fun experiments!

1. Magnetic Cereal

Who doesn’t love a good bowl of cereal in the morning? This breakfast food is not only tasty, but it can also be a great way to learn about magnets!

Recommended age group: Preschool to 2nd grade

What you’ll need:

  • Neodymium magnets
  • Iron-rich cereal like Special K, Multi-Grain Cheerios, or Total Raisin Bran
  • Clear plastic or glass bottle
  • Water

How it works:

  1. Fill the bottle with water until it is about a third of the way full.
  2. Put cereal into the bottle of water.
  3. Shake the bottle or leave it soaking overnight until the cereal is totally dissolved.
  4. Place the neodymium magnets on the outside and rotate the bottle around. You’ll see that the iron-rich cereal pieces are attracted to the magnet.

2. Magnetic Painting

STEM combines science, technology, engineering, and math, but why not throw in some art, too? Create a masterpiece by trying “magnetic painting” as your next science project!

Recommended age group: Preschool to 4th grade

What you’ll need:

  • Magnet wand (available on Amazon)
  • Metal objects like washers, screws, and paperclips
  • Non-metal objects like marbles, LEGOs, and candy
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Plastic container
  • Tempera paint
  • Disposable cups

How it works:

  1. Pour the paint into disposable cups.
  2. Cut the paper to fit the bottom of the plastic container.
  3. Dip the metal objects into the paint and drop them into the container on top of the paper.
  4. Move the magnetic wand under the container to move the metal objects around.
  5. Now try the same thing with the non-metal objects. You’ll notice they won’t move around the container.
  6. Show off your work of art!

3. Metal Scavenger Hunt

On a beautiful, sunny day, teachers should bring their science lessons outside. Here’s a wonderful magnet experiment you can do right at the playground!

Recommended age group: Preschool to 3rd grade

What you’ll need:

  • Small magnets
  • Sand
  • Plastic tray or box
  • Magnetic objects
  • Non-magnetic objects

How it works:

  1. Pour the sand into the plastic tray or box.
  2. Hide both the magnetic and non-magnetic boxes in the sand.
  3. Distribute the small magnets to everyone. If you want to make it a competition, create a list of items to find on a piece of paper and have the kids check off each item when they find it.

4. Floating Paperclips

Do you need a science project that you can set up quickly? This activity is the perfect choice! Paperclips will fly in the air like magic, wowing the kids and helping them learn about the power of magnets.

Recommended age group: 1st grade to 3rd grade

What you’ll need:

  • 3 round magnets
  • Thick building blocks
  • Rectangular piece of cardboard
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Paperclips
  • String
  • Tape

How it works:

  1. Build two block towers that are equal in size.
  2. Cut out an area in the cardboard for the 3 round magnets and fit them inside. Use hot glue to make sure the small magnets are secure.
  3. Lay the cardboard over the top of the 2 building block towers.
  4. Tie the paperclips to the string and tape the bottom of the string to the floor. Make sure the string is long enough where the paperclips are close to the magnets.
  5. The paperclips should float on the strings without falling!

5. Magnet Swimming

Viscosity is the thickness of a liquid and may have an effect on an object’s magnetism. You can demonstrate how this works by making magnetic objects “swim” in glasses of water, vegetable oil, and corn syrup.

Recommended age group: Kindergarten to 6th grade

What you’ll need:

  • Strong magnets
  • 3 drink glasses
  • Water
  • Corn syrup
  • Vegetable oil
  • Magnetic objects (paperclips, screws, nuts, or to stick with the water theme, little metal fish!)

How it works:

  1. Fill 1 glass with water, 1 glass with corn syrup, and 1 glass with vegetable oil. Set them up in a row on a table.
  2. Put the magnetic objects in each glass.
  3. Use the super strong magnets to draw the magnetic objects to the side of the glass. Notice how each liquid changes the speed and manner in which the objects move.

6. Magnetic Compass

Navigate your way through your next science lesson by creating your very own compass! You’ll feel like a famous explorer and learn about the strength of magnets at the same time.

Recommended age group: 2nd grade to 5th grade

What you’ll need:

  • Bowl of water
  • Sewing pin or needle
  • Magnets
  • Scissors
  • Piece of craft foam or cork

How it works:

  1. Cut a small circle out of the foam or cork.  
  2. Run the magnets over the sewing pin or needle about 30 to 40 times, moving from the bottom to the top. Don’t change the direction as this could interfere with the magnetic pull!
  3. Place the pin or needle on the foam or cork.
  4. Put the entire thing in the center of the bowl of water.
  5. The pin or needle will begin to slowly turn toward the north or south poles.

7. Magnetic Car

Do you want a great game to play with your students? Organize a race using magnetic cars. These racers are very easy to make and fun for kids to play with at home or in the classroom.

Recommended age group: 1st grade to 5th grade

What you’ll need:

  • Square or rectangular magnets
  • Ball bearings
  • Wooden blocks
  • Hot glue gun
  • Bamboo sticks
  • Paint & paintbrushes (optional)

How it works:

  1. Before you start building your car, paint the wooden blocks and bamboo sticks in any color you choose. You can even use stencils to create cute patterns or designs. This step is totally optional, but a great chance to stretch creative muscles!
  2. Glue the wooden block on top of two bamboo sticks.
  3. Place 4 ball bearings on the end of each bamboo stick to form the wheels. Secure with hot glue.
  4. Glue a magnet to the front of the car.
  5. Place another magnet on the other end of a “track.” You can use a desk, table, or build a road out of construction paper.
  6. The car will start rolling toward the magnet!

8. Levitating Pen

Now it’s time for a magic trick! This science fair project features a mysterious pen that seems to write forever. It’s all possible thanks to a little bit of help from magnetism!

Recommended age group: 3rd grade to 6th grade

What you’ll need:

  • Pens
  • Plastic cup
  • Cardboard
  • Small wood/plastic rods or sticks (building blocks work great as well)
  • 4 ring-shaped magnets
  • Modeling clay
  • Coins
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors 

How it works:

  1. Turn a plastic cup upside down and trace it with the pen to create a circular ring on the cardboard. Cut the middle of the circle out as well so you’re left with a donut-shaped hole.
  2. Poke 3 holes spread evenly apart on the cardboard ring using scissors (this part of the project should be handled by an adult).
  3. Hot glue 3 of the magnets inside of the holes.
  4. Use another piece of cardboard to cut out a square.
  5. Attach the rods/sticks to the square carboard piece sing modeling clay.
  6. Slide the cardboard ring through the rods on top.
  7. Attach the final magnet ring to the top of the pen with modeling clay.
  8. Place the pen under the cardboard ring, making sure the tip is touching the cardboard.
  9. Give the pen a twist, and it should magically spin around for a long time without stopping.

9. Indecisive Magnet

Make up your mind, magnet! Teach kids about the acts of repelling and attracting by setting up this fun science project.

Recommended age group: 5th grade to 8th grade

What you’ll need:

  • 6 thin wooden sticks
  • Small rubber bands
  • 3 rectangle ceramic magnets
  • 1 ring magnet
  • String

How it works:

  1. Create a pyramid using the wooden sticks and rubber bands. Start by laying out 3 sticks in a triangle as the base, and then have the other 3 sticks coming up from the edges and meeting in the middle at the top.
  2. Lay the 3 rectangle ceramic magnets underneath each stick at the base of the pyramid.
  3. Tie the ring magnet at the top using the string.
  4. Swing the ring magnet and watch it bounce back and forth between the 3 ceramic magnets.

10. Flying Magnetic Rocket Ship

3…2…1…blast off! Send a rocket ship soaring into space with the help of a few magnets and their north and south poles. This is the toughest science fair project on the list, but a ton of fun to put together.

Recommended age group: 5th grade to 8th grade

What you’ll need:

  • 1 small ring-shaped magnet
  • 2 rectangular magnets (make sure you use super strong magnets)
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • X-Acto knife
  • Hot glue
  • Glue stick
  • Magnetic tape
  • Pencils (to draw the rocket ship)
  • Construction paper
  • Paint or markers (optional)
  • Stickers (optional)
  • Glitter (optional)

How it works:

  1. Cut 3 pieces from the cardboard: a big square, a small square, and a thick rectangle.
  2. Use an X-Acto knife to cut out small rectangles in the big square and small square pieces. Try to be as precise as you can so you can wedge the rectangle magnets in each cutout. Hot glue the magnets so they don’t fall out.
  3. If you want it to be more colorful and exciting, glue the construction paper to hide the ugly cardboard underneath. Use markers, paint, glitter, and stickers to decorate.
  4. Glue the cardboard pieces together to create a structure. The big square is at the bottom, the small square is at the top, and the thick rectangle is joining them together. You may also have to make little ledges at the top and bottom for the structure to be stable.
  5. Now it’s time to make the rocket ship! Be creative and use the cardboard, construction paper, and art supplies. The rocket should be constructed in two halves, so you can glue and hide the magnet in the middle. Wrap the magnetic tape at the bottom.
  6. You’re ready for liftoff! Place the rocket at the bottom, and it will stand on its own. Move it to the top and it will dangle from the magnet above.

Final Thoughts

Part of the fun with science projects is experimenting. If something doesn’t work right away, try something else. There’s a learning opportunity even in the mistakes and failures.

Think about doing these magnet science projects every year with your kids or students. These activities are also great science fair projects if you’re stuck for something to do. Grab your magnets, glue, markers, thread, and other craft supplies in bulk and have fun learning something new!

References

Rooking Parenting. Finding Iron in Breakfast Cereal. Retrieved from, https://www.rookieparenting.com/finding-iron-in-breakfast-cereal-science-experiment/

Left Brain Craft Brain. Five Minute Craft: Magnet Painting. Retrieved from, https://leftbraincraftbrain.com/five-minute-craft-magnet-painting/

Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls. (2016, February 10). Magic Spinning Pen – A Magnet Science Experiment for Kids. Retrieved from, https://frugalfun4boys.com/spinning-pen-magnet-science-experiment/

Kids Activities Blog. Make a Compass (Simple Magnetic Compass for Kids). Retrieved from, https://kidsactivitiesblog.com/28674/make-a-compass/

Dziengel, A. (2015, January 30). 4 Easy Magnet Experiments That Will Amaze Your Kids. Retrieved from, https://babbledabbledo.com/fun-science-experiments-magnet-magic/

Gurung, D. (2019, April 6). Science Fair Projects for Magnets | Flying Rocket. Retrieved from, https://schoolscienceexperiments.com/science-fair-projects-for-magnets-flying-rocket/

Gurung, D. (2019, December 30). How to Make a Magnetic Car? Retrieved from, https://schoolscienceexperiments.com/how-to-make-a-magnetic-car/

Vanstone, E. (2015, July 14). 10 Fantastic Magnet Experiments for Kids. Retrieved from, https://www.science-sparks.com/10-great-ideas-for-learning-about-magnetism/

Buggy and Buddy. (2017, January 4). Easy Science Experiments for Kids: Gravity Activity with Paperclips. Retrieved from, https://buggyandbuddy.com/gravity/

Cool Science Experiments Headquarters. How Liquid Impacts a Magnet. Retrieved from, https://coolscienceexperimentshq.com/how-liquid-impacts-a-magnet/

About the author

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a promo expert with over four years of experience in the industry. She is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products and has had work published for the Promotional Products Association International and the Advertising Specialty Institute.