Electricity

These free kids Electricity experiments are simple and can be performed with general household items.

Balloon Fun

Balloon Fun Stick a balloon to the wall and watch your hair stand on end. Suitable for kids aged 4+ You Need: BalloonPiece of fabric (wool works best) What to do: Blow-up and tie the balloon.Rub it about 20 times with the piece of fabric.Hold the balloon near the wall and watch it stick. You...

Propeller and Globe Circuit

Propeller and Globe Circuit Can you get the propeller and globe working together? Suitable for kids aged 7+, with adult supervision CAUTION The light globe is glass and misuse may cause it to break, resulting in sharp pieces that could cut skin. Use carefully.Do not hold the wire on the battery for...

In A Spin

In A Spin Get a propeller to spin in two different directions working like a propeller and a fan. Suitable for kids aged 7+, with adult supervision CAUTION Do not put spinning propeller near peoples faces or hair. Hair could get tangled.Do not hold the wire on the battery for long periods without...

Light It Up

Light It Up Make an electrical circuit to light a bulb. Suitable for kids aged 7+, with adult supervision CAUTION The light globe is glass and misuse may cause it to break, resulting in sharp pieces that could cut skin. Use carefully.Do not hold the wire on the battery for long periods without removing...

Static Magic

Static Magic Use static electricity to make a magic wand. Suitable for kids aged 4+ You Need: Polystyrene ballPlastic strawPiece of fabric (wool works best) What to do: Wrap the piece of fabric around the plastic straw and rub up and down about 20 times. Place the now magic straw above the...

Chicken Sound Cup

Chicken Sound Cup All you need is a piece of string and a plastic cup to make your own noisy, clucking chicken. Suitable for kids aged 4+ with parental supervision You Need: Plastic cup Piece of string (approximately 40cm long) Sharp pencil Masking tape Small piece of damp sponge (optional)...

Levitating orb

Spook your friends out with this LEVITATING orb! A fun science trick that explores electricity - all you need is 5 minutes and a few dollars! Suitable for kids aged 5+ You Need: 2.5cm wide PVC Pipe about 60cm long. Thin Mylar tinsel for Christmas trees. (l millimeter wide) A head...

Bending Water

An easy and fun way to learn about static electricity! Suitable for kids aged 5+ You Need: A nylon (plastic) comb A narrow stream of water from a tap A head of clean, dry hair What to do: Turn on the tap and slowly turn down the water until you have a VERY thin stream of water...

Conductive Play-Dough

Replace wires with play dough and circuit building becomes a snack for tiny learners. Watch them figure it all out and you'll see their little faces light up! up Suitable for kids aged 5+ with the help of an adult For Conductive Play-Dough You Will Need: 1 cup Water 1 1/2 cups Flour1/4...
  1. Balloon Fun

    Balloon Fun

    Balloon Fun

    Stick a balloon to the wall and watch your hair stand on end.

    Suitable for kids aged 4+

    You Need:
    • Balloon
    • Piece of fabric (wool works best)
    What to do:
    1. Blow-up and tie the balloon.
    2. Rub it about 20 times with the piece of fabric.
    3. Hold the balloon near the wall and watch it stick. You may need to rub the balloon again with the fabric if it doesnt work the first time.
    4. Rub the balloon about 20 times again with a piece of fabric.
    5. Hold the balloon near your hair and watch it stand on end.

    Why is it so?

    Just like in the plastic straw experiment, rubbing the balloon with the piece of fabric gives it an electrical charge. The electrical charge has the power to attract things. The wall is too heavy to move towards the balloon so the balloon moves towards it. Hair is much lighter and moves towards the balloon.

    Read more »
  2. Propeller and Globe Circuit

    Propeller and Globe Circuit

    Propeller and Globe Circuit

    Can you get the propeller and globe working together?

    Suitable for kids aged 7+, with adult supervision

    CAUTION

    • The light globe is glass and misuse may cause it to break, resulting in sharp pieces that could cut skin. Use carefully.
    • Do not hold the wire on the battery for long periods without removing it. The wire and/or battery terminal may get hot.
    • Do not put spinning propeller near peoples faces or hair. Hair could get tangled.
    You Need:

    What to do:
    1. Before you start, ensure the globe is screwed into holder and the two wires are connected. Likewise, the motor attached to the propeller should have two wires connected (see Light It Up and In a Spin experiments).
    2. Now that you have got the propeller and globe working on their own, the challenge is to get them working from the same battery at the same time. It is tricky holding everything together with your fingers!
    3. Once you have completed this challenge, can you think of a different way, or circuit, to get them working together?
    4. Joining two batteries together gives extra power.

    Why is it so?

    There are two main ways to get the propeller and globe working together from the same battery. The first is by making two separate circuits (or paths) by holding the free wires from the globe and propeller to the top and bottom terminal of the battery together. The electricity flows at full power through both circuits.

    The second is by making a series circuit, by holding one free wire of the globe to a battery terminal, then connecting the other free wire of the globe to a free wire of the propeller. The other free wire of the propeller needs to be held to the free battery terminal, completing the circuit. The electricity flows through one component and then the other. Because the push in volts is shared, the bulb glows dimmer and the propeller spins slower.

    In a parallel circuit, the components are connected to the same circuit, but not one after the other, so the electricity flows at full power through all components.

    Globes, globe holders, propellers, motors and wire are available from the science supply section of this website.
    Read more »
  3. In A Spin

    In A Spin

    In A Spin

    Get a propeller to spin in two different directions working like a propeller and a fan.

    Suitable for kids aged 7+, with adult supervision

    CAUTION

    • Do not put spinning propeller near peoples faces or hair. Hair could get tangled.
    • Do not hold the wire on the battery for long periods without removing it. The wire and/or battery terminal may get hot.
    You Need:
    What to do:
    1. Attach the propeller to the 9V motor by pushing the motors spindle into the hole at the back of the propeller. Make sure its on tightly.
    2. Thread one end of a piece of stripped copper wire through the hole in the square metal ring on the motor. Twist the copper wire in on itself to hold it in place. The copper wire (not the plastic coating) needs to be in contact with the square metal ring on the motor for electricity to flow and power the propeller. See picture.
    3. Thread one end of the other stripped copper wire through the adjoining square metal ring, then do the same as explained in the above step. You can use masking tape to hold the wires in place better.
    4. Hold the free end of each wire to a battery terminal, one to each terminal, and watch the propeller spin. Which way is it spinning? Is it working like a fan, pushing air out the front, or a propeller, pushing air out the back? How can you get it to spin the other way?

    Why is it so?

    Depending on which way the propeller is spinning, it can work as either a fan (pushing air out front), or a propeller (pushing air out back). When it spins clockwise (looking at the propeller from the front), it works like a fan. When it spins anticlockwise (looking from the front), it works like a propeller. To get it spinning in the other direction, you need to connect the wires to the opposite battery terminals. The electricity then flows the other way causing the motor to spin in the opposite direction.

    Propellers, wire and motors are available from the science supply section of this website.
    Read more »
  4. Light It Up

    Light It Up

    Light It Up

    Make an electrical circuit to light a bulb.

    Suitable for kids aged 7+, with adult supervision

    CAUTION

    • The light globe is glass and misuse may cause it to break, resulting in sharp pieces that could cut skin. Use carefully.
    • Do not hold the wire on the battery for long periods without removing it. The wire and/or battery terminal may get hot.
    You Need:
    What to do:
    1. Screw the light globe into the holder.
    2. Attach the end of a stripped piece of wire to one side of the globe holder, by threading it through the metal hole and twisting it in on itself to hold it in place. The copper wire (not the plastic coating) needs to be in contact with the globe holder for electricity to flow and power the bulb.
    3. Attach the end of another stripped piece of wire to the other side of the globe holder following the step above. See picture. Masking tape can be used to secure the wires further.
    4. Hold the free ends of both wires to a battery, making a circuit (electricitys pathway). One wire to each battery terminal. Does the bulb light up? Why? What happens if you take one of the wires away from the battery?
    5. As a further challenge you may like to think of a way to connect the wires to the battery without holding it with your fingers. The use of paper clips and masking tape could be a starting point

    Why is it so?

    The bulb lights up and works, because electricity flows through it. The current (or flow of electricity) moves from the battery through the wire to the globe, then back through the second wire to the battery. This is called a circuit, a path electricity can run along.

    Electricity only flows if there is no break in the circuit. When one of the wires is taken away from the battery, electricity stops flowing and cant power the globe. This could be thought of as a very simple switch.

    Most circuits contain switches. When the switch is on there is a complete circuit and electricity will flow. When it is off there is a small break or gap, and electricity cant pass through the air in the gap to complete the circuit. The word circuit comes from the word circle you can understand why!

    Globes, globe holders and wire are available from the science supply section of this website.
    Read more »
  5. Static Magic

    Static Magic

    Static Magic

    Use static electricity to make a magic wand.

    Suitable for kids aged 4+

    You Need:
    • Polystyrene ball
    • Plastic straw
    • Piece of fabric (wool works best)
    What to do:
    1. Wrap the piece of fabric around the plastic straw and rub up and down about 20 times.
    2. Place the now magic straw above the foam ball and watch it mysteriously jump to the straw.
    3. If it doesnt work the first time, rub the straw with the fabric and try again. Be patient.
    4. Try a different piece of fabric. Does this work better?

    Why is it so?

    When the straw is rubbed with the fabric it becomes electrified and has the power to attract things, like the polystyrene ball. This is static electricity at work. Read about how things become electrified below.

    Super Charged

    It is thought the ancient Greeks discovered electricity when they found that the mineral amber was able to attract light-weight objects like feathers when rubbed with sheepskin. In this kit you will be doing a similar experiment by building up charge (or static electricity) on a balloon. Fun!To understand how rubbing an object makes static electricity, you need to know about atoms. Atoms are the teeny tiny, invisible particles that make up all matter, everything around us. Inside atoms, still smaller particles, called protons and neutrons clump in a central nucleus, around which electron particles whizz. Electrons have a negative (-) electrical charge and protons have a positive (+) electrical charge. Neutrons dont have any electrical charge. Charges of the opposite sign attract; charges of the same sign repel each other. Atoms contain the same number of electrons and protons.Rubbing an object, like a balloon with a woollen cloth, can cause some of the electrons to detach from the cloth, in this case, and jump to atoms in the balloon. The balloon atoms now have more electrons (a negative electrical charge) and have the power to attract things.Billions of electrons all jumping continuously from atom to atom, in the same direction from a source of power is called an electric current. You will be doing some experiments in this kit using the electric current from a battery running along a pathway (or circuit).

    You can do this experiment and more using the equipment in the Electrical Buzz kit available for order on this website!
    Read more »
  6. Chicken Sound Cup

    Chicken Sound Cup

    Chicken Sound Cup

    All you need is a piece of string and a plastic cup to make your own noisy, clucking chicken.

    Suitable for kids aged 4+ with parental supervision

    You Need:
    • Plastic cup
    • Piece of string (approximately 40cm long)
    • Sharp pencil
    • Masking tape
    • Small piece of damp sponge (optional)
    What to do:
    1. Have an adult pierce a hoe in the top of the plastic cup using the sharp pencil.
    2. Thread the piece of string through the hole and tie a knot at the end so the string wont come back through the hole (as shown in the picture). If you have trouble tying the knot, try wrapping a piece of masking tape around the end of the string to stop it from coming back through the hole.
    3. To make your chicken cluck: wrap your wet fingers or a piece of damp cloth (if you have one) around the string near the mouth of the cup, then move your fingers/sponge down the length of the string, holding the cup firmly with your other hand. You need to squeeze the string as you move your fingers (or the sponge) down the length of it. To get the clucking sound, pull the string slightly in a jerky motion as you move your fingers or the sponge down. It might take some practice.
    4. You might like to decorate your plastic cup like a chicken using paper, feathers and coloured felt tip pens.

    Why is it so?

    The vibrations caused by the movement of your fingers (or the sponge) travel along the string and are amplified (made louder) by the hollow cup. Try covering the cup. The vibrations from the string are almost silent. This is an example of how a sounding board works, and pianos and guitars use wooden sounding boards to make their sound louder.
    Read more »
  7. Levitating orb

    Levitating orb

    Spook your friends out with this LEVITATING orb!

    A fun science trick that explores electricity - all you need is 5 minutes and a few dollars!

    Suitable for kids aged 5+

    You Need:
    • 2.5cm wide PVC Pipe about 60cm long.
    • Thin Mylar tinsel for Christmas trees. (l millimeter wide)
    • A head of clean, dry hair
    • Scissors

    What to do:
    1. Arrange 6 strands of mylar together and tie them together in a knot at one end.
    2. Tie them together again about 6 inches (15cm) from the first knot.
    3. Cut the loose mylar strands off just past each knot.
    4. Charge the PVC pipe by rubbing it back and forth through your hair for 10 seconds.
    5. Hold the mylar orb (by the knot) above the charged pipe and let it drop and touch the pipe.
    6. It should repel away and start floating.
    NB: If the tinsel keeps sticking to the pipe, the tinsel is probably not thin or light enough, and you will need to try another kind of tinsel.





Why is it so?

So simple and so cool this levitating orb is all about static charges. Similar static charges repel away from each other. When you rub the pipe against your hair, you give the pipe a negative static charge. This causes the orb to be initially attract to the pipe, as the orb starts off with a fairly positive charge. But, as soon as the orb touches the pipe, it will pick up the negative charge. Now that both materials have like charges, they'll repel!

Say what? Let me go over that again, so, the pipe is now negatively charged and the tinsel orb now too is negatively charged. Opposite charges repel so this causes the tinsel orb to levitate! It looks like magic but it's simply like charges repelling, we just can't see it!

You'll also notice that the 6 tinsel strands immediately puff out into an orb shape. This is because each tinsel strand is now negatively charge, so each strand repels away from each other!



Do more cool experiments with the science kits available on this website.


Read more »
  • Bending Water

    Bending Water

    An easy and fun way to learn about static electricity!

    Suitable for kids aged 5+

    You Need:
    • A nylon (plastic) comb
    • A narrow stream of water from a tap
    • A head of clean, dry hair

    What to do:
    1. Turn on the tap and slowly turn down the water until you have a VERY thin stream of water flowing.
    2. Take the plastic comb and brush it through your hair at least ten times.
    3. Now slowly bring the comb close the the running water, (without actually touching the water) If all goes well, the stream of water should bend towards the comb! How is bending you ask? Read on.





    Why is it so?

    This is occurring due to static electricity. It is very easy to make static electricity. All you have to do is rub two different materials together!

    Rubbing an object can cause it to build up an electrical charge. This happens because the rubbing action can make one object pass electrons to the other. Which way the electrons travel is dependent on which materials you rub together.

    One object will build up more electrons, therefore becoming NEGATIVE. The other object will lose its electrons, thereby becoming POSITIVE. When you get opposite charges, they attract!

    So in this experiment, the two materials are the comb and your hair. The comb becomes more positive and your hair more negative!Oppositely charged objects are attracted together... so the water is attracted to the comb!

    Try rubbing different materials on your hair, such as a balloon. Will other materials build up a charge and attract water?




    Do more cool experiments with the science kits available on this website.


    Read more »
  • Conductive Play-Dough

    Conductive Play-Dough

    Replace wires with play dough and circuit building becomes a snack for tiny learners. Watch them figure it all out and you'll see their little faces light up! up

    Suitable for kids aged 5+ with the help of an adult

    For Conductive Play-Dough You Will Need:
    • 1 cup Water
    • 1 1/2 cups Flour
    • 1/4 cup Salt
    • 3 Tbsp. Cream of Tartar (or 9 tablespoons of lemon juice)
    • 1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
    • Food Coloring (optional)



    For Circuit You Will Need:
    • battery pack
    • batteries
    • light emitting diodes/LEDS

    How to make homemade conductive play-dough:
    Remember - always ask an adult for help when using the stove.
    1. Mix water, 1 cup of flour, salt, cream of tartar, vegetable oil, and food coloring in a medium sized pot.
    2. Cook over medium heat and stir continuously. Will boil and get chunky.
    3. Keep stirring the mixture until it forms a ball in the center of the pot.
    4. Once a ball forms, place the ball on a lightly floured surface. Let cool before kneading.
    5. Slowly knead the remaining flour into the ball until youve reached a desired consistency.
    6. Store in an airtight container or plastic bag. If stored properly, the dough should keep for several weeks.
    7. What happens? You should see the ashes of the teabag fly into the air!
    How to make a simple circuit:
    Remember - always ask an adult for help when working with electricity.
    1. Make two lumps of ordinary conducting play dough and poke one of the battery pack leads into each lump.
    2. Now poke one of your LEDs legs into each lump.
    3. Electricity only flows through LEDs in one direction so, if the LED doesn't light up, take it out, turn it around and poke the legs back into the lumps.
    4. Once you have all the materials, let the kids sculpt, play and create! Use this activity to talk about electricity and how conductive materials allow it to flow freely.
    5. Experiment with series and parallel circuits and rolling play-dough into conductive wires.


    Why is it so?

    Electricity flows in a loop or circle, called a circuit. The circuit must be made of a conductive material (like metal), as this type of material allows for charges to flow through it easily.

    A circuit starts and stops at the battery pack, and flows through wires, conductive dough, and electrical components such as LEDs. When the circuit is broken, charges will stop flowing, and LED light will switch off.

    Play-dough allows charges to flow through it easily as it is very salty. Salty water conducts electricity, which makes ordinary, salty play dough a reasonably good conductor.





    Do more cool experiments with the science kits available on this website.


    Read more »