DIY: Make your own magnetic play set for preschool

I just love robots and this is one of the most creative ideas for robots and magnets that I have seen. This idea was shared by The Chocolate Muffin Tree: titled “Tin Can Magnetic Robots” earlier this summer. As soon as I saw this, I just had to make me a set of magnets similar to the idea for my new classroom this year…

I started out by collecting a variety of tin cans. I didn’t have the kind of can opener that leaves the inside completely smooth so to make sure there were no sharp edges, my brother sanded the inside edges for me with a metal sander. It took him about 15 minutes to sand down all my cans.  But you can find can openers that will leave smooth edges – I will have to look for one of those. Along with collecting tin cans, I also have been collecting milk jug lids and other types of lids of various colors and sizes…

I also bought a few small plastic Slinkys to add to my magnetic play set.  Just about everything you see here has a round magnet glued to the back of it using Soho glue. I glued each end of a slinky inside a milk jug lid and then glued a magnet on the back of the milk jug lid…

Here are some folks that have enjoyed the magnets…

Great Grandma and Wy exploring the magnets
Deborah (me), Wy, and my special guest Eric Violette exploring the magnets together (Click the photo to see more about Eric)
Wy with the magnets all to himself !

I can’t tell you how fun this has been to play with over the summer and I look forward to sharing it with my class this fall…

Magnets are glued on the lids.
Magnets glued on the tin cans


Both ends of Slinkys glued inside a lid with a magnet on the bottom


For more fun ideas to go with this homemade magnetic set, see how The Chocolate Muffin Tree made her “Tin Can Magnetic Robots“!

I am linking up with Melomma Friday Blog Hop!


  1. says

    I was just led to your site and this project from Pinterest…what a wonderful idea! I have four children who will love this as well as my art students who will go crazy for this! What a great art center idea (really for any age) as well as a wonderful way to show how we can recycle objects into art and a lesson in sculpture (all while being super fun!). I am in trouble with this project–I’m going to be collecting all sorts of things to make into robots! (My hubby also owns an automotive shop, so I’m going to ask him to collect things too!). Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

      Wow – you have all the right materials and thought processes to make this process wonderful!