Static Electricity Experiments for Kids

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Read this article to learn about fun experiments that can help kids understand static electricity. Get directions, supply lists and information about other ways to help kids study this topic.

See the Static

This experiment introduces kids to the power of static electricity. You'll need the following supplies:

  • Balloons
  • Sheets of paper
  • Cereal
  • Bottle tops
  • Other small items

You'll need to blow up the balloons before you begin this experiment. Make sure each child has a balloon. Have the kids rub the balloons over their hair and then see what happens if they try to place two balloons close together on the floor. Then, have them find out what the balloons will do if they put a sheet of paper between them.

Students can also test whether the charged balloons attract or repel a variety of small items. Have them record and discuss what they find. Your students can find out even more about this subject with this lesson on static electricity for kids.

Can Races

Kids supply the power for this race! Get ready by gathering these supplies:

  • Aluminum cans
  • Balloons

Make sure the cans are empty and the balloons are inflated before the kids begin. The cans go on the floor. The kids then rub the balloons around on their hair as quickly as they can. Once they've gathered some static electricity into the balloons, have them move the balloons in front of the cans to watch them roll. Your students can experiment with slowly moving the balloon around to see what the can does, or they can speed up and see just what their cans can do! You can end this experiment with a race to see who can get their can going the fastest.

Kids can learn more about the root causes of this movement with this lesson on electric charge and force.

Charging Up Dessert

Give your students the chance to see the effects of static electricity with this experiment. You'll need:

  • Inflated balloons
  • Jell-O powder
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Paper plates

Begin this experiment by having your students put their Jell-O powder on their plates. The kids should rub their balloons across their hair for several seconds and then place the balloon about an inch over the powder. The Jell-O should stretch up towards the charged surface of the balloons! Have your students lift the balloons slowly away to see how far the Jell-O will rise! Continue the experiment by having the kids repeat the process with different substances, such as sugar and salt to see which are attracted to the balloon.

Further information about electricity can be found in this What is Electricity? - Lesson for Kids. This lesson will give children a general overview of this topic, as well as help them differentiate between static electricity and current electricity.

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