To kids, magnets are almost like magic! And they're a great source of (mostly) quiet games and exploration. We took our magnetic bingo wands and invented the Magnet Magic Challenge as a before-bedtime activity.
Challenge #1: Five Things is (of course) to find five things the magnet could pick up, and then five things the magnet couldn't pick up. Here's what my six-year-old came up with. The great thing about this challenge is that you can repeat it as many times as you like! If the toy bin starts to get stale, you can move the hunt into the kitchen, or go dig through the office supplies
When we'd had enough fun finding things to pick up, we moved on to Challenge #2: Measuring Magnets. When we did this activity in my son's kindergarten class, we used little printed grids to measure how close the magnet had to be to pick up a paperclip. For home use, I figured we'd keep it simple, and the kids got a kick out of using blocks to measure with. We discovered that the hole punch was a two-block-magnet, while the scissors were a three-block-magnet. And the big surprise was that the Magnatile was a half-block-magnet.