Teaching kids about electricity and energy is very important, as these make up the environment we live in. Energy is everywhere around us and kids may not even realise it. Due to electricity and subsequent technological advances, it has transformed the world to what it is today, and we must teach kids to understand it so that we can also teach them to be more sustainable.
Start with information about the basics of electricity and energy
Electricity is simply a form of energy. It can build up in one place or flow from one place to another. Everything in the Universe is made up of atoms, and each atom is made up of tiny particles, called electrons (negative charge) and protons (positive charge), that make power. Electricity has two types - static and current. Electricity can be created in a variety of ways; such as, solar power generated by the sun, wind power generated by wind turbines, hydro power generated by water, the burning of fossil fuels and geothermal power uses the earth's internal heat. Electricity then runs through cables and wires into our home.
Kids already interact with electricity everyday. An experiment to explain static electricity is to blow up a balloon, have your child rub it on their hair and look in a mirror in amazement as their hair stands up. This shows how electricity gathers in one place.
A great way for teaching kids about current electricity is by getting them to think about what they already do that needs electricity to work at home. This could be by watching shows on tv, playing games on a smartphone, or turning on a light. The concept of plugging in a tv cord to a socket or charging a smartphone or tablet, is a great way of explaining that they need electricity to work. The world would look like such a different place if we didn't have electricity. It can be useful to have your kids think about just what the world would look like without electricity and compare it to now.
Electricity facts for kids
There are so many interesting electricity facts for kids that will be sure to spark their imagination and curiosity.
- Electricity travels at the speed of light. This can be a difficult concept for a child to understand early on, but can be built on at a later stage.
- Did you know there are electric eels? In nature there are eels that produce an electrical charge to shock other ocean creatures.
- There is electricity in nature, as lightning is the discharge of electricity in the atmosphere.
- Cars can run solely on electricity and be plugged in to be charged, just like appliances at home.
- There is electricity in humans, as it makes the muscles around our heart contract to pump blood in our bodies.
- Do you know which Australian animals use their snouts to detect electrical currents? The echidna and the platypus.
These are just some of the many interesting and diverse electricity facts for kids to assist with their learning.
How to save electricity and energy at home
Once your kids have an understanding of how electricity works, it naturally leads on to questions about how much energy is used. Many homes use more electricity than they need. Teaching kids about electricity and energy consumption can start introducing more sustainable habits. Engage your kids in an activity by going around the house and looking at what electrical appliances can be turned off each day to save power. This can even be incorporated into your kids nighttime routine.
Take it a step further and hold your own no electricity night to lessen the amount your family consumes. Turning off the tv, smartphones, tablets, lights, kettle, and having a fire or setting up candles, can be a fun and engaging activity for the whole family. It also highlights just how reliant we are on electricity. Join in the yearly Earth hour event, which is a worldwide movement where non-essential lights are turned off for an hour simultaneously across the world.
Electricity and energy are always all around us. Teaching kids about electricity and energy is important in highlighting just how much we interact with electricity everyday. Electricity facts for kids can reinforce the basics and show just how many applications that electricity is used for. Teaching kids about energy consumption can start introducing and reinforcing more sustainable habits for now and the future.
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