This quick hands-on experience lets kids make their own compass with just a few household objects!
Cut a circle from a piece of craft foam, just a bit bigger than a paper clip. Set aside.
Rub a metal paperclip with a magnet about 20 times, being sure to scrape in the same direction each time. Travis proudly counted this out! This step will charge your paper clip with a magnetic charge.
Tape the paper clip to the foam circle, then place in a dish of shallow water. You’ll notice it wobble at first as the water settles, but slowly it will come to point true north. Test it against a real compass for the official results. Getting there…
Travis was thrilled this worked, all the more so because it stayed oriented north even hours after we left the dish on the windowsill. A simple but great way to show off the pull of magnetism.