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Six Ideas for Interactive Preschool Electricity Experiments

written by: Janelle Cox • edited by: Jacqueline Chinappi • updated: 9/30/2012

This article teaches preschoolers some electricity experiments that are simple and demonstrate static electricity. Teachers and parents can do these activities with objects that are found in the home or classroom.

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    Electrons On the Move...

    Static electricity happens when electrons move between different objects. Preschoolers may have a hard time understanding the concept, but when you show them these experiments it will help them better understand.

    Preschool science activities should be fun in order to keep your students engaged. They should focus on the child’s natural curiosity and need to explore the world around them. These hands-on preschool electricity experiments will provide students with beginning knowledge and understanding about electricity in the world around them.

    Teaching static electricity to preschoolers is the most age appropriate demonstration of electrticity because the chances of anything dangerous happening are remotely slim. Preschoolers can have a lot of fun with static electricity. They probably have already done some experiments about it and didn’t even realize it.

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    The Balloon Experiment


    • Balloon
    • Mirror


    Preschoolers love to play with balloons. All you have to do is provide each student with a balloon and have them rub it on their head. Have each student look into a mirror to see how rubbing the balloon on their head makes their hair stand up. You can also have the students try to stick the balloon to the wall after they rub it on their head to see how long it will stay up.

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    The Carpet Experiment


    • Socks
    • Carpet


    Have the students drag their socked feet across the carpet and touch something that is metal (the doorknob usually works well). If you turn off the lights then the students may actually see the shock of static electricity.

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    The Water Experiment


    • Water
    • Piece of wool
    • Comb


    Preschoolers love this experiment. Have the students gather around the faucet and turn it on slowly. As the water is running comb your hair then rub it on a piece of wool. Next hold the comb next to the water and watch how the water tries to move toward the comb. The students will gasp with excitement!

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    The Cereal Experiment


    • Plastic comb
    • O-shaped dry cereal (Cheerios)
    • Balloon
    • Thread


    First tie a piece of dry cereal to the end of a long piece of thread. Tape the other end of the thread to the table. Next take the comb and either run it through your hair or on a piece of wool. Bring the comb next to the cereal and watch as the cereal tries to swing towards the comb. You can also repeat the procedure with a balloon instead of the comb.

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    The Light Bulb Experiment


    • Fluorescent light bulb
    • Comb
    • Balloon


    Go into a dark room and run a comb through your hair several times. Next touch the comb to the light bulb and watch as you see sparks. You can replace the comb for a balloon and will get the same result.

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    The Rice Crispy Experiment


    • Rice crispy cereal
    • Balloon


    First inflate the balloon and rub it on your head for a minute. Next pour rice crispy cereal on the table and place the balloon close to the cereal. Then watch as the cereal sticks to the balloon. The students will be fascinated.

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    It's Not Magic, It's Electricity!

    Now the students have a basic knowledge about static electricity after conducting these preschool electricity experiments. You can have them try different ways of making static electricity. Have them make predictions about what will work and what won’t.

    Source: author's own experience

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