We are planning on making magnetism mazes this summer at our children’s program on Building Together and wanted to try out a spring example to show the kids!  In the past, we have used this idea with a bug toy (a more simple version: http://make-it-your-own.com/magnetism-mazes/) and my personal favourite a snow person maze (http://make-it-your-own.com/snow-person-winter-maze/).  If you made one, what would you do?

Materials

  • Butterfly template: Butterfly Maze
  • Paint pens/ markers
  • Boot or cereal box (make sure your magnet is strong enough to move through the cardboard thickness)
  • Magnet wand (we show you how to make a DIY one)
  • Acrylic paint
  • Circular magnets
  • Paint brush
  • Pencil/ eraser
  • Green beads or green pom poms
  • Ruler
  • Glue gun/ glue sticks or white craft glue

We always find these items useful too:

SmockCraftTray

Directions

  • Print and cut out your butterfly or draw your own.  You could also make something else that interests you!  Paint or colour it in the designs that you like.  Glue a strong circular magnet onto the bottom of your butterfly.
  • Have an adult cut off the edge of one of the thin sides of your box as shown in the video.
  • Plan out your design on a piece of paper the size of your box.  Then draw these ideas onto one of the large surfaces of your box.  We used a pencil, but you can trace your ideas with permanent marker.
  • Paint (make sure your layer is thin) your base.
  • Take your ruler (or if you like you can skip this, making the the path more organic) and lightly with your pencil make a path for your butterfly to maneuver through.  Be sure that it is wide enough for your butterfly’s wings with a bit of buffer space.  Will your maze have some tricks to it and/or an end goal such as the beaded flowers our daughter made?
  • Glue your pom poms, beads etc. along your pathway on both sides (to look like plants/ bushes) and allow them to dry.
  • Make a DIY magnet wand by gluing another circle magnet on a tongue depressor or popsicle stick.  (*Make sure it is glued so that it will ATTRACT to the one on the bottom of your butterfly*)
  • Now place your butterfly on top of your scene and slide your wand underneath and try to move your butterfly throughout the maze!  Can you make it to the end?  How about a friend- can they?!

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This STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math) project allows children to explore magnetism! We provide you a free template to design your own butterfly for this project.

Purpose

  • Learning about how magnetism works.
  • Learning about pollination.

Safety Notes

  • We suggest that you use a tray and a smock to protect your clothing and surfaces.
  • Use scissors with care and direct, adult supervision.
  • Beads and magnets can be a choking hazard, therefore be sure to keep them out of the reach of children ages 0-3 years of age or those that tend to put things into their mouths.  As it is very dangerous for a child to swallow a magnet, be sure to seek immediate medical attention if this happens.
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