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Monday, November 16, 2015

LEGO MAN GOES SKIING - Fun with Magnets

LEGO fun, magnet fun, learning fun, how to create Winter Wonderland

When I just started teaching my kids science, I did what many moms who are new to homeschooling do, I bought a whole bunch of science toys.  One of the first toys we got was a basic magnet set from Learning Resources. In this set there is a plastic tray with a simple maze on top.  You set a magnet ladybug inside the maze on top of a board and move a magnet under the board to get a ladybug across.

Last winter as I was sitting at the dining room table making paper clip cards (I attached paper clips to index cards and kids “fished” with a magnet, whatever they pulled they had to read)

I looked at my son moving a ladybug with a magnet and the images of paper clips attached to Lego Men danced in my head!  Magnet can attract and move paper clips!  

fun with magnets

"Forget the ladybug!  We can use LEGO MAN instead!” I screamed with excitement.  

LEGOs are big in our house, so anytime we can incorporate LEGO into our activities, I feel like I scored big on Mommy Awesomeness scale.  

All you have to do is tape paper clips to LEGO man’s feet and you are good to go.  If the skies end up being too sticky from extra tape dip them in glitter or flour.  Once all the tape is covered, your LEGO man is not going to stick to the board. 

If you don’t have Learning Resources set, do not worry.   All you really need is a pair of paper clips and a magnet.  For the surface you can use regular poster board.

The poster board is actually much more exciting than anything else we tried so far because it allows the imagination to go wild.  This year our LEGO man is taking his skiing vacation in a Winter Wonderland.   

Looks interesting?  Read on for instructions on how to build Winter Wonderland.

The best part of this project is that you are learning all about how magnets work, while having so much fun it doesn't feel like school work.  In the video below you can see how my son holds the poster board in the air with one hand and moves the wand with the other hand.  It was one of the earlier models.  Later when the poster board got heavier from all the additions, we set it up on wooden planks with a space in the middle to move a magnet wand back and forth. 

What you will need
Lego man or two
Paper clips (2 for each man)
Poster Board
School Glue
Decorations for trees (red glitter, craft shapes, felt pieces or buttons)
Small toys to set up the winter scene (like this set)
Seasonal craft shapes 

Christmas Trees
1.  Print out our trees or draw your own.  Our trees are just triangles on top of small squares for trunk.  You can print it on green paper, but I prefer to print out trees on a regular white paper and use it as a template. Today I’m using green felt and green cardstock paper.

2. Glue green paper and felt together.  Green card stock provides sturdiness and green felt provides prettiness and a nice surface to decorate.

3. Decorate the tree with lots of glitter and seasonal craft shapes (we got ours from Teacher’s store). 

4. Add a piece of brown paper or felt for trunk, if you wish.
5. Put a huge pile of glue on your board, stick your tree in the middle of it.  Prop with something heavy behind it, so the tree doesn’t collapse until the glue dries. 
6. Sprinkle lots of white glitter on the glue for snow effect.  

The Rest of the Decorations
Once you are done placing trees, gather all the seasonal Christmas-y things you have around the house.

1. We happened to have this Creativity for Kids set, which is perfect for any craft project.  We love it so much, it's actually our third one.  It’s full of wooden pieces of different shapes.  Gingerbread man shape is great for Winter Wonderland.  We also used some of the wood pieces to make weird structures and to prop the Christmas trees. 
2. For the hill we just glued a piece of white paper in an upside down U shape and covered it with blue glitter glue and lots of white glitter.
3.  We also used Down on the Farm set from Safari Ltd (it's a great set that we use regularly for wide range of purposes).  
4.  We glued on some crystal beads to mark the skiing path. 
5. We also attempted to create a frozen pond.  I don't know what a hen with a chick are doing by the pond.  Maybe they like to promenade there. 

6. We created a house by cutting out the shape of a house (you will find it in our printout) and used it to outline the same shape on a pretty scrapbook paper.  We covered the roof with glue and sprinkled with lots of glitter for snow. 
7. Sprinkle the whole scene with lots of glitter.  The best part about this glitter is that when LEGO men skies he moves it around like real snow.  It's so cool.   

My kids had a lot of fun setting up the scene. 

And they have been playing with it for hours on end!  Together and separately. 

If you are looking for a fun project to do with kids, while learning about magnets, try this.  In the video below my son demonstrates how he has fun with magnets.

Science fun at home, how to get creative with magnets

What are you favorite ways to play with LEGOs?  

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