Magnetic Hearts

This is fun project to explore with preschoolers just be extremely careful with the magnets! (Children who still put things in their mouths should not participate in this activity) Kids will love to explore and experiment how the different heart pieces snap together or push each other apart.

  1. Ages: 3 - 11

  2. 30 minutes - 1 hour

  3. A little messy

Step-by-step tutorial

  • Step 1

    Cut several large heart shapes. It's fun to use different colors of paper for different magnet configurations more on that later.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 1

  • Step 2

    Cut the hearts in half, right down the middle. Making the hearts as symmetrical as possible will make the exploration part of this activity more fun.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 2

  • Step 3

    Cut two long strips of paper, each about one inch wide. Carefully fold each strip four times to create five equal squares. (Cut off any excess paper.)

    Photo reference of how to complete step 3

  • Step 4

    Fold each strip around so the squares on the end overlap. Glue the ends together to form the strip into a little box.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 4

  • Step 5

    Now for the fun part magnets! You'll need one magnet for each box. Use tape to secure each magnet to an inside wall of a box. You can choose to orient the magnets however you'd like, depending on whether you want the halves of your hear to attract or repel each other.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 5

  • Step 6

    To complete your hearts, glue a box to the back of each half. Make sure the edge of the box is right up against the end of the half-heart, so that the two halves will snap together cleanly.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 6

  • Step 7

    You can stop with one heart if you want, or make several and experiment with them! A fun variation is to start by stacking up four magnets so they all snap together. Break the stack in half to make two stacks with two magnets in each, one for each heart. Then turn one of the stacks around. When you do this, your stacks will repel each other when you bring them close together.

    Use each stack to build a heart, making sure to keep the magnets facing the correct way. This will give you a pair of hearts where the matching halves will snap together, but the halves of different colors will repel each other.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 7

  • Step 8

    Have fun experimenting with your hearts! Which pieces attract each other? How close do the pieces need to be before they start to snap together? Which pieces repel each other? What happens if you force the pieces to touch and then let go?

    Photo reference of how to complete step 8

  • Learn moreMagnifying graphic

    This activity is really just a colorful way to explore and play with magnetic poles. Every magnet has a north pole and a south pole. A north pole and a south pole (or a south pole and a north pole) will attract each other. Two north poles (or two south poles) will repel each other. If your heart pieces snap together, you know that you're seeing two opposite poles attracting each other. If the pieces repel each other, that's two similar poles repelling each other.

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