Camping Compass

w11Getting Started

Always use your imagination and be creative when building these kids crafts or science projects. It's your creation, so be inventive when looking for building supplies — you just may be surprised! When building your project, experiment with new and different ways of putting it together. The most important thing is to have fun!

10Find these or similar supplies!

  • Magnet, look on the refrigerator
  • Needle or a piece of paper clip
  • Leaf or something small that floats
  • Paper plate or something to hold water

1. Magnetize your needle!

Start out by Magnetizing your needle. Any object (like a needle or a paperclip) that sticks to your magnet can be magnetized. With your needle laying down on the table, hold one end down firmly. Then place your magnet onto the needle. Remember, the needle wants to jump to the magnet.


2. Slide the magnet...

Always slide the magnet in ONE direction along your needle. While holding your needle down, start sliding the magnet away from the finger that you are using to hold it down. Make sure to apply some pressure to the magnet as you slide it along the needle.


3. Keep sliding...


4. All the way past the end...


5. Lift up your magnet!

Now lift your magnet up and away from the needle. Bring it around and start all over again. All you are really doing is rubbing the needle in one direction.



Repeat step 2 through 5 about 50 times. Yes... that's a lot, but it will insure your needle is properly magnetized. Test to see if your needle is magnetized by touching it to another piece of metal, like another paperclip. If it sticks, then you are ready to make a compass. If not, try magnetizing it again, but rub it more times.


7. Finish your compass!

OK, now its time to make your compass. I found a leaf to use as my compass's floating base. You could experiment with other small floating objects to see how they work and use which one works best. Place your leaf onto some water so that it floats and is in the center. Then very gently place your magnetized needle onto the leaf. Try to keep your needle, leaf, and paper plate very still. If you've magnetized your needle enough, it should begin to spin and move towards the NORTH.

VOILÀ! — a camping compass. There are all kinds of ways to make compasses, so have fun and try experimenting with different supplies and ways of putting it together. Have fun!