Magnets Facts for Kids – 5 Magnificent Facts about Magnets

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

Magnets helped lots of ancient explorers to find new places! Let’s help you to find five magnificent magnets facts for kids.

Magnets Facts for Kids Fact Number 1: Magnets Always Have Two Poles

The poles in a magnet are the sides or ends of the magnet where the magnetic field is strongest. The magnetic field is an invisible force around the magnet which is what causes the magnetic effect. Each magnet has a positive and negative pole.

If you cut a magnet in half it will turn into two smaller magnets with a north and south pole. These different poles react differently to magnetic substances because of how the electrons in a magnet interact with materials.

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Magnets Facts for Kids: Magnets on a blue refrigerator

Magnets Facts for Kids Fact Number 2: Compasses Work Because of Magnetism

The Earth’s core is magnetic and so the Earth works like a giant magnet. This means that the Earth has a Negative or North pole and a Positive or South pole. Because of the effect of the Earth’s magnetism we can use smaller magnets to find out where we are.

A compass is made up of a magnetic needle which balances on a short pin. The magnetic needle will always point to magnetic North. If you know which direction you are meant to be going and you know where North is you will never get lost. When using a compass it is important to keep it away from other magnets or magnetic fields because they will throw off the compass and you might get lost.

Magnets Facts for Kids
Antique compass on a table

Magnets Facts for Kids Fact Number 3: Some Magnets Can Be Turned on and off

These types of magnets are called electromagnets. They create magnetism when electricity flows through metal. Electromagnets are used in lots of things like phones, radios, doorbells, and burglar alarms. One of the things electromagnets are best for is for lifting very heavy metals in scrap yards.

When these powerful electromagnets are attached to cranes they can be used to lift lots of scrap metal to be recycled into new metal products. The magnet can stay off until it is in the right place then be turned on to lift lots of heavy scrap metal.

Magnets Facts for Kids Fact Number 4: Opposite Magnetic Poles Attract

If you play with two magnets you will notice they stick together, that is because magnets are magnetic. However if you flip the magnet so two positive poles or two negative poles are facing each other they will not stick together. The two magnets will even push away from each other so they are further apart. This is because only opposite magnetic poles attract and stick together.

Some metals will also be attracted to magnets and so magnets can stick to them. The main magnetic metals are Iron, Nickel and Cobalt. You can easily test if a metal is magnetic by checking if a magnet sticks to it. Try it using a fridge magnet or other magnet you have around your house.

Magnets Facts for Kids

Magnets Facts for Kids Fact Number 5: Magnets Were Used in Ancient China

Normal magnets are not made by people so they naturally occur in nature, lodestone is a natural magnet which is created when magma cools down very slowly. In Ancient China people created the first ever compass using lodestone and iron in a bowl of water. This technique was also used by some of histories greatest explorers, the Vikings.

We hope you enjoyed learning more things about magnets as much as we loved teaching you about it. Now that you know how majestic these magnets are, you can move on to learn more about STEM like: Forces, Gravity and Friction.

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