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Simple Electricity Experiments for Kids

by Hickerson Brothers on May 26, 2016

Safe Electrical Experiments for KidsWhen it comes to electrical safety, the easiest way to stay safe is knowledge.  Which is why we spent the month covering different aspects of electrical safety for the home. Once your house is protected against accidents, the next best thing you can do is teach your children the principles of electricity and its dangers.  Then again, I think by now everyone has had to sit through the same simple electrical experiments which use static-electricity as a “œsafe experiment” for children.

So why not upgrade your child’s education?  Give them a chance to experiment and learn about electricity and power directly.  There are plenty of pre-built electronic experiments you could buy to teach your children about electricity, or you could simply get a few parts and use one of these simple experiments as a lesson.  Who knows, they might even be able to use one (or all of these) in a science fair project.

Circuits and the Light Bulb

Of course, no electrical or safety course is complete without an elementary understanding of how an electrical circuit works.  The best way to teach that is to give a direct demonstration of how an electrical circuit works.  To do that, all you need is:

  • A Battery
  • An LED
  • A 1,000 Ohm Resistor

Using a bread board or just a few wires, you can demonstrate all the basic principles to a willing student.  The completed circuit requires connecting the battery to the LED and the resistor.  The order itself doesn’t matter, simply make sure that current can flow from the positive lead of the battery, through the LED and the resistor in series (connected end to end for a single path).  If the LED doesn’t light up, switch the leads on the LED and try again.

What’s great about this project is you can demonstrate multiple features of an electric circuit.  Installing a simple push-button switch shows how a controlled circuit works ““ such as the lights in your home.  For a quick step-by-step guide to building a light-switch experiment, check out this walkthrough.

Vinegar Battery Tray

Power generation is important when it comes to teaching any element of electricity.  We’ve seen plenty of potato-, orange-, and candle-powered electrical devices, but a better way to demonstrate how a battery works using only:

  • Nails
  • Copper Wire
  • Vinegar
  • An Ice Cube Tray

Batteries work because of a chemical reaction present between an anode (the “œ-“œ lead) and the cathode (“œ+”œ lead).  An electrolyte such as vinegar can generate the flow of electrons necessary to light up a light bulb.  As you can clearly see in the video below:

Home Electric Generator

And here’s the science-fair winning project your kid will really love: Building a Generator.  Energy generation is a fairly simple process.  As a magnetic field crosses an electrical wire, current is induced in the wire.  If you keep the magnetic field rotating (changing how it crosses the wire) an alternating current flow (AC or Alternating Current) is generated on the wire.

Which means that all you really need to build a generator is a coil of wire and a way to spin a pair of magnets inside that coil of wire.  For guidance, wikiHow has an illustrated guide for building an inexpensive electric generator or you can get the materials and let the kids duplicate this experiment:

To maximize the return, you can even hook up your simple electric generator to a hamster wheel for pet-powered-photons!

Hickerson Electrical is your source for all home electrical services.  We’re ready and willing to deliver top-quality service to your home at a moment’s notice.  So call today at (703) 594-3913.

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