Fishing with magnets is an activity I can remember loving to do in buckets and bathtubs with my brothers as a child.
We would spend hours both trying to catch things and test what we could and couldn’t catch. Imagine my surprise when my daughter started doing the same thing on her own!
Fishing with Magnets: Cool Science for Kids
This was the first time I did this activity with my 2 1/2 year-old daughter. At first she was completely amused by fishing for washers, nuts, and bolts.
Soon she started throwing other things in there to experiment just like I did as a kid!
Of course I followed her lead and joined in on the fun. We began throwing every thing we could find — or I could think of to grab from the house.
We had such a great time together testing what was and wasn’t magnetic that I felt like a kid again. Science doesn’t get much more fun that this!
Fishing with Magnets: Supplies
- Stick or pole
- Monofilament line
- A bucket, bathtub, sink, water table, or any other thing you can fill with water to use. [We used a kids storage footstool from Ikea — it also came with a lid.]
- Neodymium magnets with holes or ceramic magnets with holes.
- Magnetic and non-magnetic items. Washers, bolts, and nuts are great to start with. Have a collection of things that your child can test nearby.
Fishing with Magnets: Directions
- Tie magnet to stick using fishing line.
- Fill bucket or tub 1/2 full with water.
- Place washers, nuts, and bolts (or anything else magnetic) in the water. You want to start with something that is magnetic and go from there.
- Give fishing stick to your child.
- Follow your child wherever they go in their learning. See if they will begin throwing other things to test in there on their own like my daughter did. If they never do, you can invite them to try fishing for other magnetic and non-magnetic items.
- Have fun!
Fishing with Magnets: Our Process
When I was a kid we used ceramic magnets, but these neodymium magnets can easily pick up things we were never able to even with several magnets. These make fishing a lot easier than I remember it.
At first I started my daughter with three magnets tied to her stick. I quickly learned that they were too strong and made it hard for her to pull the items off.
I re-tied it with only one magnet and look at all the fun we had! My brothers are gonna be so jealous!
Then she threw in the dogs Kong. Nope, can’t catch that with magnets.
Next she threw in some sticks. Nope, those didn’t work either. How about money? Nope.
How about silverware?
Yeah! Love these magnets!
How about my sandbox toys mom?I have to be honest, I didn’t think these were going to work. These magnets are so strong they made it easy to find the little bit of metal in the axles of these toys!
How about cars? Yep, these magnets could easily find the metal in the wheels.
Then mom got a funny idea that was a real winner…
Look who caught a can o’ tuna fish!
Fishing with magnets is a cool science activity that is fun for the whole family. Both kids and their caregivers can have fun learning about magnetism and what is and isn’t magnetic.
Try it with your kids today!
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