One of my colleagues, when I was a teacher brought the idea of making a shoebox maze to the group.  The kids loved it, making their creatures move within a maze each of them created, with personalized challenges and themes.  This year my son was studying about magnets and after creating a collaborative theatre with his class, he was excited to share this idea with his sister so they worked on a small maze for a magnetized bug.  You could also make a more simple version of an obstacle course with objects to move around or avoid.  We learned a few tricks from these two sites to make the process successful for a pre-schooler!

hello, Wonderful’s dancers

(http://www.hellowonderful.co/post/MAGNETIC-DANCING-DOILY-PEG-DOLLS)

and

Coloured Button’s rock theatre

(http://www.colouredbuttons.com/2009/06/matchbox-monday-4-rocky-monster-theatre.html)

Materials

Magnetism Mazes with make-it-your-own.com (Creative activities for kids!)  A great way for children to apply what they have learned about magnets.

  • Cardboard box (it doesn’t need to be two sides, just one.  E.g., You could use a flat of cardboard used to ship tins, cans etc.)
  • Paper
  • Magnets
  • Glue gun
  • Pencil/eraser
  • Magnet wand (or a thick popsicle stick/tongue depressor and another magnet to make your own)
  • Paint brushes
  • Paint
  • Pom poms (or other items of your choice)
  • Water (to wash your brushes)

We always find these items helpful too:

Make-it-your-own.com (Crafts & activities for kids)

  • Smock
  • Craft tray

Directions

  • Lay your box on top of the paper that you want to paint your scene on, tracing around it to get an exact measurement.  Cut out your paper.

Magnetism Mazes with make-it-your-own.com (Creative activities for kids!)  A great way for children to apply what they have learned about magnets.

Magnetism Mazes with make-it-your-own.com (Creative activities for kids!)  A great way for children to apply what they have learned about magnets.

  • Sketch out your scene on your paper.  The kids had these two plastic bugs that their Grandma had given them and decided to draw a bug habitat.  You could draw a racing track for a car, water for ferry boat etc.  Go with whatever your interests are.

Magnetism Mazes with make-it-your-own.com (Creative activities for kids!)  A great way for children to apply what they have learned about magnets.

  • Don your smock.  Paint or colour in your sketch.  Allow to dry overnight.

Magnetism Mazes with make-it-your-own.com (Creative activities for kids!)  A great way for children to apply what they have learned about magnets.

Magnetism Mazes with make-it-your-own.com (Creative activities for kids!)  A great way for children to apply what they have learned about magnets.

  • Cut the side of each box, leaving about 5 centimetres (approximately 2 inches) on either side to form the supports (leaving the corner as seen in the photos below).

Magnetism Mazes with make-it-your-own.com (Creative activities for kids!)  A great way for children to apply what they have learned about magnets.

Magnetism Mazes with make-it-your-own.com (Creative activities for kids!)  A great way for children to apply what they have learned about magnets.

Magnetism Mazes with make-it-your-own.com (Creative activities for kids!)  A great way for children to apply what they have learned about magnets.

  • We then glued our scene onto the top of our box.  While you could glue your objects to your scene and then glue your scene onto your box, this method allows for you to avoid making it too heavy, depending on the thickness of your cardboard.  (If we were to use something like rocks, popsicle sticks etc. instead of pom pom foliage and flowers, we would chose a thicker cardboard.)

Magnetism Mazes with make-it-your-own.com (Creative activities for kids!)  A great way for children to apply what they have learned about magnets.

Magnetism Mazes with make-it-your-own.com (Creative activities for kids!)  A great way for children to apply what they have learned about magnets.

  • Glue on your objects either creating a maze (make sure it is spread far enough for your bug or car etc. to fit through!) or an obstacle course of items to maneuver around.

Magnetism Mazes with make-it-your-own.com (Creative activities for kids!)  A great way for children to apply what they have learned about magnets.

  • Glue your magnets to the back of your bug or car etc. making sure that you flip them so that the side that repels from the magnet wand is stuck in the glue (you want the magnet wand to attract the bug, through the cardboard).

Magnetism Mazes with make-it-your-own.com (Creative activities for kids!)  A great way for children to apply what they have learned about magnets.

Magnetism Mazes with make-it-your-own.com (Creative activities for kids!)  A great way for children to apply what they have learned about magnets.

Magnetism Mazes with make-it-your-own.com (Creative activities for kids!)  A great way for children to apply what they have learned about magnets.

  • If you don’t have a magnet wand, simply make one by gluing a magnet onto the end of a popsicle stick.

Magnetism Mazes with make-it-your-own.com (Creative activities for kids!)  A great way for children to apply what they have learned about magnets.

Magnetism Mazes with make-it-your-own.com (Creative activities for kids!)  A great way for children to apply what they have learned about magnets.

  • Once your glue is dry, lay your bug on your scene and enjoy moving them about!

Magnetism Mazes with make-it-your-own.com (Creative activities for kids!)  A great way for children to apply what they have learned about magnets.

Purpose

  • Exploring magnetism (Attraction, repulsion)
  • Working collaboratively.

Safety Notes

  • We suggest that you wear a smock and use a craft tray to protect your clothing and surfaces.
  • Use scissors and magnets with care and direct adult supervision.
  • Magnets, pom poms etc. 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.  If a child swallows a magnet, get immediate medical attention.
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