How do magnets work? Why are some items are attracted to magnets and others are not? Do magnets stick to all metal objects? Magnets are fascinating while also being useful and fun. 


2 Books:

  • What Makes a Magnet by Dr. Franklyn M. Branley and True Kelley
  • Magnet Max by Monica Lozano Hughes

Activity: Magnet Fishing

Materials: STEM Magnets Activity set featuring 10 activity cards, horseshoe and bar magnets, ring magnets, cars and a maze.

Read Together

Asking your child questions as you read helps them think about the story and encourages them to ask their own questions. Here are some sample questions to ask your child as you read Magnet Max by Monica Lozano Hughes.

  • Magnet Max loves experimenting with magnets. What do you already know about magnets?
  • Do magnets stick to paper clips? To refrigerators? (Note: many new refrigerators are no longer using metals that are attracted to magnets. You may need to use a cookie sheet.) To horses?
  • What objects did Magnet Max discover were magnetic?
  • Why are some items attracted to magnets while others are not?

Play Together

Playing with your child is not only fun for them but for you as well, and asking questions will help your child learn.

  • Magnets are all around. What objects around the house are attracted to a magnet? Test items like aluminum foil, coins, pencil erasers, plastic, wood and other materials. Sort the products into piles. Children are often surprised that not all metals are attracted to a magnet./li>
  • Make bumper cars using magnets. How can your child make the cars bump into each other? How can your child cause the cars to run away from each other?
  • Use the activity kit to make magic swings. These magnets want to move in strange ways. Does magnetism go through objects? What force causes the attracting or repelling?
  • Is water attracted to a magnet? How many paper clips can a magnet pick up? Does a horseshoe magnet work the same as a bar magnet?
  • Make observations using multiple senses and apply knowledge from the observations to make claims or decisions. Use the magnets from the kit to discover magnetic forces and the invisible magnetic field. Take what you observe and get out the refrigerator magnets to try new experiments.

Online Activities

Explore the science of magnets.


Sing along with Cat as he sings a fun song about what a magnet can and can't stick to.


Help the Cat in the Hat build a Marbleous Marvel Coaster.


It's Magnet Mania - a day when the gang spends the whole day playing with magnets.

CPB Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Education Iowa PBS
PBS Kids
The contents of this document were developed under a cooperative agreement #PRU295A150003, from the U.S. Department of Education. However, these contents do to necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.