Okay, hopefully the kids aren't phrasing the question in that manner.
The Insane Clown Posse asked that question last year in their song Miracles, "F##kin' magnets, how they work?"
And from that, courtesy of Maggie Koerth-Baker, we now have an explanation that I can almost understand.
In cats, couches—all the everyday things that aren't magnetic—the magnetic fields produced by electrons simply cancel each other out. For every electron that's spinning clockwise, there's another electron spinning counterclockwise. All electrons produce magnetic fields, even the ones in cats and couches. But cats and couches aren't magnetic because their electrons' magnetic fields interfere with one another and keep the overall magnetic force so weak as to be nonexistent.
Magnets are different.
Then she explains how. Check it out. If nothing else, it should give you more time before you get exasperated and change the subject.
"Hey, look at this lady bug."
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