27 Ways to Use Magnets in the Classroom

We searched from pole to pole to find the best magnet ideas out there.

Magnets offer endless fascination to kids, and endless opportunities for teachers. These magnet activities and ideas will help organize your classroom, encourage creativity, teach kids science concepts, and much more. Caution: Use care with smaller magnets and magnetized objects, as ingesting them can be dangerous. Younger kids should always be supervised with magnets.

We’ve included Amazon links to some of our favorite magnet products. WeAreTeachers receives a very small percentage of the price when you purchase through our affiliate links.

1. Send home contact info.

Magnets Hacks Contact Where the First Graders Are

Parents are much less likely to lose your contact info when you provide it on a magnet they can stick to their fridge. Print your cards and attach adhesive magnet tape to the back. Easy!

Source: Where the First Graders Are

2. Write Out Nameplates.

 Magnet Hacks Name Plates Dowling Magnets

Once you’ve written your students’ names on magnetic nameplates, you can use them in a thousand different ways. Label their desks or lockers, take a poll, sign up for activity stations… you get the idea. Try these 5.5″ x 2″ Dry Erase Magnetic Nameplates ($19 for 32, Amazon)

Source: Dowling Magnets

3. Keep track of attendance.

Magnet Hacks Attendance Artsy Fartsy Mama

If full-size name plates take up too much room, make these clever (and inexpensive) glass name magnets instead. Use them to track attendance, restroom breaks, activities… whatever you need. Learn how to make them at the link below.

Source: Artsy Fartsy Mama

4. Display loaner pencils.

How brilliant is this? Kids can easily borrow a pencil when they need one, but the magnetic clip attached makes them much more likely to remember to return it. Genius.

Source: TeachStarter

5. Cover your classroom door or window.

Classroom Door Window Covering Pushed Up

Safety procedures at many schools now require a window covering for the classroom door that can be quickly deployed in an emergency. This clever window shade is one of our favorite magnet hacks, and much more attractive than a piece of black posterboard. Hit the link to get the DIY.

Source: How Do the Jones Do It

6. Simplify classroom door locks.

Forget fumbling for keys—just slide a heavy-duty magnet strip over the strike plate. You can keep the door handle locked at all times, but the magnet keeps it from clicking into place. When you need to lock the door itself, just slide off the magnet and shut the door. Voilà!

Source: Digital: Divide and Conquer

7. Store some scissors.

Magnet Hacks Scissors Spell Out Loud

Many chefs store their knives on long magnetic bars for easy access. It’s also a great way to store scissors for classroom use. Try this 22″ Magnetic Knife Storage Strip ($14, Amazon).

8. Praise your students.

Praise magnets > bumper stickers! The Pinspired Teacher has free printables for this coolest of magnet hacks. Use adhesive magnet strips, or print directly on inkjet magnet paper and cut them out ($6 for 5 8.5″ x 11″ sheets, Amazon).

9. Whip up some dice shakers.

Magnetic Dice Containers

Dice can be a great math manipulative, so we love this handy way to keep track of a set for each student or group. You can often find these magnetic spice jars at the dollar store. (Get a free printable dice game handout to use with young students here.)

Source: The Undercover Classroom

10. Practice letter matching.

Magnet Hacks Matching Letters of Literacy

To be honest, this might be more “cookie sheet hacks” than “magnet hacks,” but it’s still a great idea. For a real challenge, make uppercase and lowercase magnet pages. On the lookout for new magnetic letters? Check out this set with blue consonants and red vowels to make word-building easier ($30/208 letters, Amazon).

Source: The Letters of Literacy

11. Create your own poetry magnets (take one).

For awhile, poetry magnets were all the rage, and kids still love them. You can save a bundle by making them yourself, and customize the vocab words too. Get a full DIY at the link below, or buy ready-made sets in a variety of styles ($19 each, Amazon).

Source: Teaching Ideas 4U

12. Create your own poetry magnets instead.

Magnet Hacks Ransom Cut Out and Keep

For a more unique take, make poetry magnets by cutting words from magazines and newspapers instead! Stick them directly to a magnet sheet and cut them out, or laminate them and glue magnets to the back.

Source: Cut Out + Keep

13. Blow their minds with a levitating pencil holder.

Magnet Hacks Levitating Pencil YouTube

Yup, you read that right: a levitating pencil. Sometimes magnets seem more like magic. Demonstrate magnetic fields when you use a few simple supplies to build this experiment with your class.

Source: All JNTU World on YouTube

14. Customize an amazing light fixture.

Magnet Hacks IKEA Hackers

We’ve seen a lot of cool IKEA hacks, but this take on the MASKROS pendant lamp made our jaws drop. The concept is simple: remove the paper flowers, stick magnets to the spokes, and then you can attach any magnetic or metal objects you like. Wow!

Source: IKEA Hackers

15. Corral your Expos.

How DO those dry erase markers wander away so quickly? We don’t know the answer, but we have a solution: a magnetic basket on your whiteboard to hold them all. Make your own with wire bins from the dollar store and heavy-duty magnets, or buy this set of two that are ready to go ($15, Amazon).

16. Play magnetic Scrabble.

Magnet Hacks Scrabble Amazon

Grab an old Scrabble set from the thrift store and glue magnets to the backs of the letters, then stick the letters to a filing cabinet or whiteboard for an impromptu game. No secondhand Scrabble tiles available? Buy a pre-made set instead ($10, Amazon).

17. Drive magnet-powered cars.

Magnet Hacks Car Science Kiddo

Little ones will be amazed when they can move cars back and forth without touching them! Just glue or tape a bar magnet to the cars, and use a larger magnet to send them off to the races! Need a good magnet set? We like this one from Learning Resources ($31, Amazon).

18. Make a map puzzle.

Magnet Hacks Map Crafts by Amanda

Sure, you can buy map puzzles, but magnet activities like this one allow you to customize the map style and contents. Using a page from an old road atlas allows you to highlight major cities and travel routes.

Source: Crafts by Amanda

19. Frame important whiteboard ideas.

Magnet Hacks Whiteboard Frames The Thinker Builder

This is one of the easiest teacher magnet hacks, and so much fun! Glue strong magnets to the backs of colorful frames and use them to highlight ideas or messages on your whiteboards.

Source: The Thinker Builder

20. Build a Boggle Board

Magnet Hacks Boggle Fabulous in Fifth

Here’s another fun classroom game that’s great with magnets. Put it on your whiteboard or use a large cookie tray so a group of kids can gather around it.

Source: Fabulous in Fifth

21. Construct magnetic sculptures.

Magnet Hacks Art Babble Dabble Do

Combine ceramic magnets with hardware like nuts and bolts, and see where your imagination takes you! Get tips for this magnetizing art project at the link below.

Source: Babble Dabble Do

22. Assemble custom bookmarks.

Magnet Hacks Bookmarks 100 Things 2 Do

You won’t believe how easy it is to make these bookmarks – all you need is scrapbook paper and adhesive magnets. Kick it up a notch by finding quotes or photos and laminating them first. 

Source: 100 Things 2 Do

23. Craft fingerprint art magnets.

Magnet Hacks Fingerprints Rhythms of Play

This is possibly the cutest of the magnet hacks. Have kids make finger or thumbprints on sturdy white paper, then decorate with fine tip markers. Glue these to clear glass gems, attach a magnet to the back, and you’re done! 

Source: Rhythms of Play

24. Mix up magnetic slime.

Magnet Hacks Slime Frugal Fun 4 Boys

Kids already love slime, so throw in some iron oxide powder and grab some magnets and watch their eyes pop! You’ll need strong neodymium magnets for this project ($10/6, Amazon).

Source: Frugal Fun For Boys and Girls

25. Race marbles through tubes.

Magnet Hacks Marble Run Go Science Girls

Marble runs are tons of fun, but store-bought sets can be pricey. Make your own with cardboard tubes and magnets instead.

Source: Go Science Girls

26. Defy gravity to float paperclips.

Magnet Hacks Gravity Buggy and Buddy

Magnet science is mesmerizing for kids. In this activity, paperclips seem to float in midair, demonstrating the powerful attracting forces of magnets. Get the how-to at the link below.

Source: Buggy and Buddy

27. Solve magnetic mazes.

Magnet Hacks Maze The Stem Laboratory

In this simple activity, kids move a character through a paper plate maze by guiding it with a magnet from underneath. Drop by the link below for free printables to get started.

Source: The STEM Laboratory

What are your favorite magnet activities? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

Plus, ways to use sticky notes and mason jars in the classroom.

27 Ways to Use Magnets in the Classroom

Posted by Jill Staake

Jill Staake is a writer living in Tampa, Florida. She's spent most of her life teaching in traditional classrooms and beyond, from 8th grade English to butterfly encounters, and believes learning is a life-long process.

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