The other day E and V’s train set was rotated back onto the shelves. It’s been some time since it’s been out and they showed interest in it differently than before. Previously, they would assist while I set up the track and they enjoyed taking the trains on them. This time around they are able to set up their own track. While they aren’t into puzzles, they do enjoy puzzles-type materials such as this.

After they set up the train track they began to realize that the train cars don’t always magnetically connect to each other. This realization didn’t end there, so, following this interest of theirs, an activity to explore this needed to be set up.

While I try to follow their interest and use appropriate terminology and such, I also don’t want to overwhelm them. So I started with the basics:

-There is a north pole and a south pole.

-While like poles (S/S or N/N) repeal each other, opposite poles attract. We used the colours to easily tell the poles apparent at this time.

-Magnets attract some materials, but not others.

So what activies ensude?

-Magnetic / not magnetic. I located different items from around the house and they separated them into two groups: items that were magnetic (attracted the magnets) and items that were not magnetic. Using their magnets, they would test an item and then place it in the appropriate basket.

-Train pushing. Using their magnetic trains, they would either PULL the train when it was attracted to an opposite pole or PUSH the train when it was exposed to the magnets same sided pole and repealed. They then enjoyed doing with with their train on the tracks, as well.

As I often receive questions about setting up activities that follow E and V’s interests and observing, I thought this would be a great example.

Has your little one shown interest in magnets?

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