Exploring Magnets with Cranes + Trains
I mentioned in this post that our current train project was sparked by our collection of Brio trains and tracks. Amongst the collection are supporting materials including several cranes. It is the cranes that captured my son's attention and focus during recent play. His train layouts were including docks more frequently and cranes were busy loading and unloading freight cars. While looking for ways to extend his play, I was offered a copy of STEAM to review.
STEAM: Preschool Activities for Stem Enrichment
This is an amazing resource for teachers and parents of young children. It is a well rounded collection of activities covering Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. I love that they included art in their book and I was impressed by the diversity and creativity of activities. Easy to navigate, diverse, and fun this is a must have book for those working with young children.
There are so many amazing ideas in this book, but one of the links in the Additional Activity Ideas section for Science was this Discovering Magnets with Trains idea. The word train caught my attention. I decided to add a little twist to the activity to include our interest in cranes.
Gather magnetic materials. I cut pipe cleaners into smaller pieces that could fit into some of our freight cars and found some bolts and washers on our work bench. I also separated out the magnetic cargo from our set.
All of these materials were displayed with the cranes on the shelf in our play space next to the basket of trains.
When your child notices the materials, talk to them a little about magnets. Something such as "I noticed you were using the magnets on the cranes and cargo to load your freight cars. I wonder what other kinds of cargo the cranes can load."
Allow time for them to investigate the materials and try using the cranes. I did some modeling after a while to work the cranes and new "freight" back into their play with the trains. These materials remained on the shelf for the next week or so while they continued to return to the cranes and cargo theme.
*Check out the awesome inspiration from The Educators' Spin on It.
*What else can you find around the house that might be magnetic?
*Offer some items that aren't magnetic to prompt sorting and discussions about magnetism.
*Integrate math and numbers by designating freight cars or dock spaces for a specific number of cargo.
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