Magnetism | Jena from Happy Little Messes

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Today’s post is by Jena from HappyLittleMesses!

Jena from HappyLittleMesses here.  Wife of hubby, Big K, momma to Little J and Little K.  Stay at home mom, former Atelierista, aka, Studio teacher at an early childhood education center.  Love to be creative, love to use art materials of all sorts (professional to the up-cycled), love to be in the woods, splashing in rivers, digging in the dirt…these things pulls at me all day.  My favorite thing to do is share this love of the creative process and the love of open ended play with my boys.  My greatest wish is to teach them this artistic language, so they have yet another way to express themselves.

In our basement studio, we have a shelf that holds “beautiful stuff.” This display of colorful, up-cycled objects was inspired by a book called “Beautiful Stuff!” written by Cathy Weisman Topal and Lella Gandini.

Endless possibilities exist when you save something that would otherwise end up in the landfill. You give it new life. You can learn something from playing, sorting, building with this stuff. It is an ethical way of supplying art materials to tinkering children.

You can sort your collection any way you choose. I’ve been collecting this stuff since before little J was born, and I chose to sort it by color. As the kids build interest, they can sort it however they wish.
J and K have so far used these collections to dump and load. Here you see J filling up a dump truck toy with the stuff that catches his eye.

For J’s birthday, he receives a discovery/exploration set, Harriet the Spy is my idol!, which included a little extendable magnet. It’s his favorite piece of the whole set. He walks around the house seeing what is magnetic. The magnet is lost at the moment, but we’ll find it under the couch cushions or in his bed sheets when I change them. We did find a back up, a “fishing pole” style magnet that came with a puzzle.

I see J’s interest in magnetism and bring him a bin from our beautiful stuff collection that’s full of silver and gold colored objects.

He goes through each object in the bin and makes 2 piles. Magnetic and not.

Many common magnets are strong enough to attract small objects that are made with either iron or steel. Some magnets, such as the electromagnets used in cranes, are strong enough to attract objects as large as cars. Do we need to get a magnet for J’s crane next, so he can play with his little matchbox cars?

Read, Three Little Rigs by David Gordon, a spin on the classic Three Little Pigs story, but with little cranes and a big bad wrecking ball. There is a big bad magnet at the end. Little J loves this book and hopes to get it each time we go to the library. I bet he’d love to act it out with magnet and crane.

“Our minds become magnetized with the dominating thoughts we hold in our minds and these magnets attract to us the forces, the people, the circumstances of life which harmonize with the nature of our dominating thoughts.” -Napoleon Hill


Thanks Jena! I know my boys (especially my 7 year old) love playing with magnets. There is just something about them! Please remember that magnets, especially the strong kind, can be VERY dangerous for little ones so always watch your kids when playing.

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Allison Waken is a wife, mom of boys and Phoenix, AZ native. She has been creating inspiring content for All for the Boys since 2011. Allison loves travel, movies and spending as much time as possible with her family while she can!

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