Make a Magnet Painting Activity

3.6 based on 77 ratings
Updated on Apr 18, 2016

To kids, magnets can seem like they work through magic! Magnets are pretty amazing, but their powers are completely fueled by science. This activity blends art and science through magnets, paint, and household objects to create a pretty picture.

What You Need:

  • Wood blocks
  • Sturdy cardboard
  • Two strong magnet
  • Washers, nuts, bolts, and other metal objects
  • Thread
  • Liquid tempera paint in multiple colors
  • Tape
  • White paper
  • Containers for paint

What You Do:

  1. Attach a piece of blank paper to the cardboard with tape. Create a raised platform for the cardboard to sit on out of wooden blocks. Make sure this is tall enough for your child to put his hands under!
  2. Put a metal object on top of the piece of paper. Have your child position a magnet beneath the metal object, underneath the piece of cardboard. Get him to try moving the magnet to make the metal object move on top of the paper.
  3. Explain that the magnetic force keeps the metal object and the magnet attached, even through the paper and cardboard. Let your child know that we're going to use this magnetic force, along with the paint and thread, to make a piece of art.
  4. Have your child choose 2-3 metal objects for the project. Tie a length of thread to each metal object and dip each object in a different color of tempera paint. 
  5. Place the metal objects on the paper and have your child hold the magnet under the cardboard. He can then move the magnet around, in turn moving the painted metal objects, and 'paint' the piece of paper.
  6. Continue moving the magnet and re-dipping the metal object to create a complete painting. Enjoy!
Latrenda Knighten has spent 19 years teaching in a variety of elementary school classrooms, from kindergarten through fifth grade. For nine of those years, she taught kindergarten. She also served as an elementary school math and science specialist. She lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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