Minibeast magnet maze

A minibeast magnet maze is a fun activity for children to learn about minibeasts and their habitats, discover how magnets work and practice gross and fine motor skills. The maze is easy to make with just a few resources including our downloable minibeast maze printable. Here’s how:

You will need

Minibeast Magnet Maze Printable – download here

A cardboard box

Magnetic wands

Ferrite Button Magnets

Bug counters

Blue tack or a glue gun

To Make

  • Print of the minibeast maze printable
  • Stick to a cardboard box using a glue stick
  • Select a beetle, butterfly, dragonfly and spider from the jar of bug counters
  • Stick ferrite button magnets to the underneath of each of the bug counters using either blue tack or a glue gun.

Children can then place one of the magnetic counters onto the start circle of the maze and move it towards its habitat by placing the magnetic wand inside of the cardboard box against the underneath of  the maze and moving along.

It is not as easy as it looks. The mini beast might start to wiggle around a little and it can take a little  determination and practice to get them to the right habitat.

There are lots of great discussions to have about the minibeast magnet maze. How about asking children some questions:

  1. Why does a butterfly like visiting flowers /a beetle like dead leaves / a dragonfly like ponds/ a spider live in a web?
  2. What is making the minibeast move?
  3. Will the minibeasts be attracted/ stick to any other objects? This can also be tested.
  4. What would happen if the cardboard in the cardboard box was thicker? what do you think would happen?
  5. How else could magnets be used? Do you know of any other objects that have magnets?
  6. Do they have any tips for completing the minibeast maze quickly?

The minibeast sometimes wiggles because magnets have two poles, a north pole and a south pole. A north and a south pole will attract each other but two of the same poles will repel each other. As you move the wand along, the minibeast will come into contact with both poles attracting and repelling the magnet attached to the minibeast.

Magnetism is the only force that will act through another object. However the further the distance between the magnet and object, the weaker the force will become. If the cardboard is to thick, it will make it difficult to move the minibeasts around or the maze may not work at all.

The magnetic bugs/ minibeasts can also be used for a minibeast hunt. Hide them in a tray of sand and the children can use the magnetic wands to sieve through the sand and find the minibeasts. They can also be placed inside the empty plastic jar for children to help ‘escape’ using the magnets.

Can you think of any more fun activities for our magnetic minibeasts?

These activities cover a number of different areas of the EYFS framework

Communication and language

  • Following instructions and discussing the activity.
  • Asking questions and using language to describe the properties of magnets.

Personal, social and emotional development

  • Developing self confidence and self awareness – showing tenacity and resilience to complete maze despite difficulties.
  • Working with other children and/ or adults to complete the maze.

Physical Development

  • Handling tools effectively – using the magnetic wand
  • Practicing co ordination when handing minibeasts and using the magnetic wand to move them around the maze.

Understanding the World

  • Discovering and understanding the properties of magnets
  • Learning about the different habitats in which minibeasts live and why

Maths

  • Using everyday language to discuss the concept of time and how long it takes to complete the minibeast maze.

For more fun  activities visit our minibeast page or follow us on Pinterest.
Follow The Consortium Early Years’s board Mini Beast Theme on Pinterest.