Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Magnet and Marble Painting

In our classroom we love to engage children in science and mathematical activities. When you add art to the experience, you have what is know as a 'STEAM' activity. STEAM is an educational acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and math. According to Sharapan (2012), the arts are a natural part of the early childhood experience; art helps children to explore science, technology, engineering, and math concepts in new and exciting ways. STEAM helps to differentiate tasks and encourage children to explore and communicate content and knowledge using different modalities of learning.      

Today we set up an interesting provocation that immediately drew the children to our art area. We placed our clear sensory table on top of two large wooden blocks. In three cups were the primary colours of paint and metal marbles. 

The children were encouraged to find the marble and drop it onto the clear lid.

Using a strong magnet the children were able to manipulate the metal marble on top of the lid; dragging it around and leaving a trail of paint behind!

As more paint was added and the marble was moved around the lid, the colours began to mix together to form secondary shades.

So in addition to the STEAM components, colour mixing was also being explored by the children. There was also some interesting discussion about the kind of lines the marble 'wrote' including straight, curvy and zigzag.

Children also had to exercise control as the marble could easily fall off the lid if they weren't careful and deliberate with their actions.


Even with a lot of paint on the lid the children were able to manipulate the marble by using a very strong magnet.

Look at these lovely shades of new colours!

Once the child had finished exploring, we encouraged him or her to make a print of the art by placing a large piece of paper on top of the paint...

...and lifting it off!


To learn more about STEAM please visit  

Sharapan, Hedda Young Children, v67 n1 p36-40 Jan 2012

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