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Magnet Tray


Plastic dinner tray or plate with one large and two small compartments
Horseshoe magnet
Small objects, such as safety pin, nail, paper clip, washer, cotton ball, piece of cloth, wooden popsicle stick, sponge, etc. (you might keep objects that magnets attract in a separate container and change the objects frequently to add interest)


1. Use a permanent marker to label the two small sections of the tray "Yes" and "No."
2. Place several objects in the large section.
3. Select one object at a time and test it with the magnet. If the magnet picks it up, put it in the "Yes" section. If the object isn't attracted, place it in the "No" section. Testing one object at a time prevents pulling all the metal objects out at the same time!

More to do
Language: Increase vocabulary by naming each object used and by categorizing the objects labeled "Yes" as all metal.
Math: Count the number of objects in the large section before you begin, then count the number in the "Yes" section and in the "No" section when you finish.
More science: Increase the difficulty and interest of the activity by adding some metals the magnet will not attract, such as copper, brass, silver and gold.
Book: The GIANT Encyclopedia of Science Activities for Children 3 to 6
Center: Science/Discovery/Nature
Topic: Magnets
Content: Science
Area: Fine Motor
Age: 4 Years Old
Interaction: Individual Child

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