STEM Activities You Can Do at Home with Magna-Tiles®
Learning happens everywhere, from your backyard to the kitchen table and beyond. It’s especially true for STEM, but finding engaging, hands-on activities to teach essential concepts in science, technology, engineering, and math is easier said than done. Before you queue up a video for kids to watch, check out a few at-home STEM activities with Magna-Tiles® magnetic building shapes to encourage active learning outside the classroom.
Build a Magna-Tiles® Circuit
Kids are endlessly curious about how the world works – that’s why they’re so interested in STEM activities. In this one, you’ll create a working circuit with Magna-Tiles® magnetic shapes. First, gather the following supplies:
- Six small square Magna-Tiles®
- Copper tape
- Coin battery (2032)
- 3 mm LED light
- Clear tape
This activity requires small batteries and cutting, so an adult should supervise. Once your supplies are gathered, complete the steps below:
- Measure a piece of copper tape that stretches across one of the squares and wraps around each side by about 1 cm.
- Remove the tape’s backing and apply it to the tile to wrap around the center.
- Add copper tape to any other tiles you wish to use. You can use a straight-across design or try a right angle.
- Create the LED tile by applying two pieces of copper tape to the face of a tile as above, but do not join the pieces of tape in the middle.
- Splay the legs of an LED and tape them into place, bridging the gap in the copper tape.
- Mark the positive (long) and negative (short) legs on the tile in dry-erase marker.
- Make the battery tile by applying a piece of copper tape as you did in Step 4 and placing the battery on top of the tape with the negative side facing down.
- Secure the battery with tape on either side, keeping the top uncovered.
- Apply a piece of copper tape opposite the first to reach the back of the tile by 1 cm and extend to the top of the battery.
- Carefully rotate the copper tape to ensure the shiny end touches the battery.
- Secure the shiny end with transparent tape.
- Label the sides of the tile leading to the positive and negative sides of the battery.
- Arrange the tiles to form a circuit and turn on the LED. The negative side of the battery must lead to the negative short leg of the LED and vice versa.
When you’re done, you’ll have a closed shape to complete the circuit!
Make a Tile Topper
This activity demonstrates force and motion while encouraging kids to creatively solve problems. You’ll need 20 minutes and one of your Magna-Tiles® magnetic construction sets to begin. Then, follow these steps:
- Lay out square tiles in a line. Encourage kids to use isosceles triangle tiles to design twists and turns.
- Once the layout is complete, stand up the square tiles on the magnetic edges of the path.
- Give the first standing tile a push and watch it all topple.
For even more fun, challenge children to create competing lines to determine which falls faster and why.
Design a Tangram Puzzle
You can adjust this activity to suit younger children just learning to identify shapes or older kids who are ready to tackle a difficult puzzle. First, gather these supplies:
- Magna-Tiles® magnetic building shapes
- A pencil
This is another activity that requires supervision from an adult when using cutting tools. Here’s how to complete it:
- Arrange your tiles into a design on the cardboard.
- Trace the edges of the design or individual shapes, if you prefer.
- Cut away the inside, leaving the outer framework intact.
- Solve the puzzle by placing Magna-Tiles® inside the frame.
Ask kids to identify the shapes they use, including any composite shapes they form. Creating the puzzle takes about 10 minutes, but children may wish to solve it more than once using different combinations of shapes.
Bring Home STEM Learning with Magna-Tiles®
Hands-on activities get children excited about learning. With Magna-Tiles® magnetic building shapes, you can create an almost endless variety of at-home STEM activities that spark curiosity and encourage active learning. For more great ideas, pick up your copy of the Magna-Tiles™ Play Book: Inspiring Creativity, which contains seven additional STEM activities. You can also check out our activity downloads or contact us today to learn more.