Magnetic Slime: A fun twist to slime!

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Who doesn’t LOVE slime? And when you add in the twist that it’s magnetic, it’s sure to provide a lot of fun and excitement for your child.

Magnetic slime adds another element to an already exciting activity for a toddler. Magnetic slime is a way to introduce how magnets work using slime and strong magnets to experiment. It teaches what the term “magnetic” means, what materials are magnetic, and what magnets can stick to.

This experiment is educational and provides hours of fun for your child. Give them some magnets to experiment with and allow them to run the show!

How to make the Magnetic Slime science experiment

Supplies you will need

For the Magnetic Slime experiment, you’ll need:

Supplies needed for the magnetic slime experiment

Before you start

Since the ingredients used for this experiment can be toxic, please be mindful of this when allowing your toddler to handle the ingredients and the resulting slime.

Instructions

Here is how to do the Magnetic Slime experiment with your toddler:

Step 1: Empty 2 bottles of glue into your bowl

Pouring 2 4-ounce bottles of glue into bowl

I emptied two 4-ounce bottles of glue into the bowl. If you intend on making slime several times, you could buy a larger container and just use however much you need for this experiment.

Get your preschooler involved: Allow your toddler to take off the caps of the glue bottles and squeeze the glue into the bowl. This is great for fine motor skills as well!

Step 2: Sprinkle a tablespoon of baking soda and mix

Add a tablespoon of baking soda

Once you have added your baking soda to the bowl, use your spoon to stir and mix it into the glue.

Get your preschooler involved: If you feel confident about your toddler’s measuring skills, have them scoop up a tablespoon of baking soda and empty it into the bowl.

Step 3: Empty 1 tablespoon of contact solution into the bowl

Add a tablespoon of contact solution with boric acid

Once you have added the contact solution, mix it up with your spoon. You should be able to handle it shortly after the contact solution reacts with the mixture.

Get your preschooler involved: If you feel confident about your toddler’s measuring skills, have them pour a tablespoon of contact solution into the bowl. This is another great fine motor skill activity!

Step 4: Combine with hands

Mix it up

At this point, you can handle the mixture with your hands without worrying about if it will stick.

Get your preschooler involved: Have your toddler handle it with their hands and squeeze it together!

Step 5: Add iron flakes

Add iron flakes to slime and mix with hands

I added a good amount of iron flakes and mixed them together using my hands. Before adding more iron flakes, test out the magnetic strength by holding a magnet up to your slime. If it reacts to the magnet, you should not need more iron flakes.

The science behind the Magnetic Slime experiment

The Magnetic Slime experiment teaches:

  • What “magnetic” means
  • What makes something magnetic?
  • What magnets can stick to

How it works

This experiment takes two very fun things for a kid – magnets, and slime – and turns them into a fun learning activity!

What the term “magnetic” means and what makes it magnetic

A magnet is, simply put, something that generates a magnetic field. In most elements, electrons exist in pairs, spinning in opposite directions and essentially canceling out the magnetic field. In some elements, there are unpaired electrons that create a magnetic field. That magnetic field allows them to react to a magnet.

Iron, cobalt, and nickel are examples of elements that can react to metal.

We can find magnets in nature (called Lodestones) and magnets that are manmade. The majority of magnets we see today are manmade.

In fact, there are lots of objects in your home that use magnets beyond the simple refrigerator magnets:

  • Speakers
  • The vacuum cleaner
  • Debit cards
  • The doorbell
  • Computers
  • Coffee maker
  • Blender

How are magnets made?

The manmade version is a piece of fused and pressed metal. Once it’s time to magnetize this metal, it is placed between the poles of a powerful electromagnet. The electromagnet is energized long enough to align the atoms in the metal to create a magnetic field (remember the unpaired electrons?). This magnetizes the metal, creating a magnet.

You can use this same process to create a temporary magnet at home by simply rubbing a needle or paper clip with a magnet! The exposure to the magnetic field from the magnet aligns the atoms in the paper clip or needle enough to create their own temporary magnetic field.

What magnets can stick to

This experiment is an excellent opportunity to talk about what magnets can and cannot “stick” to.

We use iron flakes in our slime to make it react to a magnet since iron is an element that has unpaired electrons.

During your experiment, you can use other household objects to see if you can “pull” the magnetic slime. Test out magnets, toys (magnetic and non-magnetic!), and other objects to see what is magnetic and what is not.

More physics experiments to try out with your child

FAQ about the Magnetic Slime experiment

Why is my magnetic slime not working?

If your magnetic slime does not react to a magnet, you either need to add more iron flakes to your slime or choose stronger magnets. With our experiment, we found that refrigerator magnets did not cause quite as strong of a reaction as our magnetic wands or the cabinet babyproofing magnets.

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