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  • Writer's pictureMade by Jyoti M.

Make your own compass!

Updated: Jun 26, 2021

Making your own compass is a good activity for school aged children. They are able to use their fine motor skills to draw a circle. Older children will be able to thread the needle in the wax paper alone, while younger children will be able to complete this activity with parental help! At the end of this activity, the children will be able to understand that the compass always points north and how the magnet replicates the magnetic field on Earth.

What You Will Need:

1. Sewing Needle

2. Magnet

3. Wax paper

4. Bowl

5. Scissors

6. Pencil

A ruler can be used for accuracy of size of compass/circle, however it is not required.


Step One: Start out by gathering all of the materials!

Step Two: Tear one piece of wax paper from the roll. Take a pencil and draw a one-inch radius circle (your circle does not need to be a perfect circle!).

Step Three: Use your scissors to cut out the circle that you just drew.

Step Four: Take your needle (please be very careful with the pointed end of the needle) and hold the magnet in your other hand. Hold the needle from the side that has a hoop (where you normally put the thread through). Magnetize your needle by stroking the needle about 30 times! This step can be a little tricky, so please ask your parents for some help!

Step Five: Let’s switch it up! Flip the needle, so you will be holding the pointed end of the needle now. Stroke the needle 30 times with the other side of the magnet!

Step Six: Then, pick up the wax paper circle and thread the needle through the middle of the circle. Ask your parents for assistance on this step!

Step Seven: Fill the bowl with water

Step Eight: Lastly, float your compass (wax paper circle with a needle) in the water. You’ll notice that it points north, you can use another compass or a phone app to check!

Note: You might have to magnetize the needle again if it starts point in any direction other than North

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