Letting children play with horseshoe magnets and paperclips is a great activity, but have you ever thought of using magnet play to support STEM in the classroom?
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics have become a major focus in education due to expected job growth in STEM-related careers. One of the biggest advantages of using magnet play as part of STEM instruction is that children of all ages enjoy experimenting with magnets. This, combined with the numerous hands-on activities that magnet play provides, makes it a great comprehensive learning opportunity for both preschool and elementary classrooms.
Another advantage is that magnet play can help children develop and nurture skills in all four STEM disciplines:
Science: Magnet play is a great way to teach children about how magnets work. Life and environmental science can also be incorporated into magnet play activities thanks to a variety of magnetic materials that allow children to design insects and flowers.
Technology: You can help children learn about technology as they play with magnets by discussing which technological devices use magnets in order to work and how some technology items can be damaged by magnets.
Engineering: A number of magnetic building items, such as blocks or Magna-Tiles®, are available to help children learn about engineering as they design and build a variety of creative structures.
Mathematics: Children add and subtract magnets from a surface as they play, which helps them learn concepts such as more and less, on and off, and size and shape.
If you're an advocate of STEAM (a philosophy that includes art integration as a major part of STEM), then you'll be pleased that magnet play also provides plenty of art opportunities for children. Encourage them to use their creativity skills to design and build numerous structures and objects with magnetic building blocks and other items.
Encouraging STEM in the classroom is important, but there are a variety of other skills children must nurture and develop. You can use magnet play to help children increase their language skills by teaching them new magnet-related words, names, and shapes. Magnet play can also help children develop their coordination skills, increase their fine motor skills, and learn a variety of problem-solving skills.
Be sure to browse our selection of magnet items to get an idea of the different types of magnet play you can incorporate into your preschool or elementary classroom.