The Magnet Box is of course a Science Box. It is one of the most educational of the Boxes in that it teaches all about the properties of magnetism and metals in a really hands-on informal and fun way. The only trouble is, according to EU regulations, any reasonably strong magnets (ie those that actually ‘stick’) are not supposed to be suitable for children under 14. So on your own head be the dire consequences!!

As I am taking responsibility for my own Magnet Box, I have noticed that the children find the contents of this box so utterly addictive that I have not had the heart to remove it. In eight years they have not got remotely tired of it, there have been no mishaps and I can always rely on the magnets to amuse everybody and their friends on a rainy day.

As well as neodymium, the box contains haematite as well as standard ferrite iron magnets, and they come in all shapes and sizes.

I spent an afternoon cutting and sticking magnetic sheet onto a set of tesselating shapes, which the children love fitting together, teaching themselves mathematical concepts!

There is also a set of metal and magnetic mesh pots and a base to decorate with magnets, and some magnetic animals which hug each other and cling to anything metal, leading children to take them on scientific journeys all round the house to find out which metal objects they stick to. I lost my first magnetic-limbed monkey this way.

A baby of 20 months has been the youngest person to enjoy the magnets, making aeroplanes out of the magnetic sticks and ovals, putting magnet tiddlywink “wheels” on a rectangular magnet to make a car, and then pretending to spread jam on the same magnet, which had become a slice of bread!

Older children have also shown a considerable aount of interest in this box, enabling me to breathe a sigh of relief about the Health and Safety regs.

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