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  • Cut a square out of heavy paper.
  • Draw a simple picture on the square.
  • Divide the square into four puzzle pieces by cutting it into four squares or four horizontal or vertical strips.
  • Put a short length of magnet strip on the back of each puzzle piece. 
  • Mix up the pieces and let your child take turns putting the puzzle together on a metal surface.
  • Wash and dry a large coffee can and smooth out any rough edges.
  • Cover the can with two or three colors of self-stick paper.
  • Collect or make magnets in those colors.
  • Place the magnets in the can.
  • Let your child remove one magnet at a time and place it on the matching colored section of the can.

You will need magnet strips and a metal baking pan for this activity.

  • Cut a 1-inch, a 2-inch, a 3-inch, a 4-inch and a 5-inch length of magnet strip.
  • Place the strips on the baking sheet.
  • Show your child how to make steps, by placing the longest strip on the bottom, then stacking on top the next longest strip,(left edge flush) and so forth until all the strips are on the stairs.

Variation:  Have your child make a tower, by centering the strips one on top of the others on the baking sheet, creating a tower with steps down both sides.


Collect  items that can be picked up with a magnet, such as a metal paper clip, a frozen juice can lid, a washer, and a screw.
Now collect some items that cannot be picked up by a magnet, such as a small rubber ball, a cotton ball, a small plastic toy, and a piece of paper.
Mix up the items.
Let your child use a magnet to sort the items into two piles, those that can be picked up by a magnet and those that cannot.
What did the items the magnet picked up have in common?  (They were all metal.)
Collect several refrigerator magnets.
Place magnets on metal surfaces throughout your home, such as the refrigerator, the stove, a file cabinet, the washing machine, and metal toys.
Tell your child that you have placed magnets around your home.
Have your child search your house, looking for magnets.
When he has found some magnets, discuss the type of surface that they were attached too.
Can he think of anything else in the house that is made of metal?
This should help his search.
You can reverse the game at this point and let your child place the magnets to surfaces that will hold them.
Then, it will be your turn to find the magnets.

Set out a variety of magnets on a metal surface.
Describe one of the magnets and have your child try to guess which magnet your are describing.
Then, let your child describe a magnet for your to guess which one it is.
Set out a variety of magnets, some small and some large.
Set out two metal containers (such as two pans).
Have your child place the magnets on the two containers, big magnets on the big container an small magnets on the small container.
A fun way for children to practice beginning concepts, such as; numbers, colors and shapes, is to let them play with a magnet fishing pole.
For the handle of the fishing pole, you can use a wooden spoon or a cardboard tube.
Tie a string around the tube and then attach a strong magnet to the other end of the string. (I like the small round magnets with the hole in the middle, however, small horseshoe magnets work great also.)
Cut some fish out of light weight cardboard or construction paper
Attach a paper clip to the mouth of each fish.
Lay the fish on the floor and let your child try catching them with his fishing pole.
You can adapt this basic game to teach different concepts.
COUNTING - Have your child practice counting as he catches each fish.
NUMBERS - Write numerals and corresponding dots on each fish. Have your child read the number written on each fish she catches.
COLORS - Cut fish out of different colors of paper. Have your child try to catch only blue fish or yellow fish. Or - just have her name each fish color as she catches it.
SHAPES - Cut different shapes for your child to catch, such as; circles, squares, triangles and rectangles. Have your child identify each shape he catches.
You can make magnet shapes for your child to use on your refrigerator. Cut colored cardboard into different shapes, tape magnet tape strips on the back of each one and place them on your refrigerator or cookie sheet. Have your child match them up by color or shape.

Buy commercial magnet letters and let your child match up capital and lower case letters. Younger children can just match up letters that are the same shape.
Buy a number of small refrigerator magnets and let your child count and play with them.