Have you ever had that feeling like a light switch just turned on and you understood something? It’s Electric! Electricity is the start of this focus on play.
PLAY is the way children learn about themselves, others AND the world around them!
It was through PLAY, Grandbub #1 discovered and knew, in his being, what it’s like to build up an excess charge. Now, it’s true he may not know it’s the movement of electrons between 2 materials that causes static electricity. He may not even be able to clearly say static electricity!
RESULTS–Based on Sensory Input
• But he can see and feel the effects of rubbing a balloon over his hair and hovering that balloon above his head.
• He can see and feel how his hair and the balloon are drawn toward each other. (Introduce the word: Attracted!)
• He can see and feel his hair strands are separating.
PLAY gives children the FREEDOM to investigate, explore, test, discover…to LEARN!
Soon Grandbub #1 will discover other factors that can impact creating static electricity. For example, weather conditions. He might notice his hair won’t stand on end no matter how hard he rubs it with a balloon if it’s muggy and damp outside.
PLAYING can reveal more information regarding static electricity. For example, it can be generated in other ways–not just using a balloon! Static electricity can be generated sliding down a plastic slide. A favorite memory of mine from preschool concerns little gal, actually someone from my neighborhood. She’d been sliding down the slide. Now, back up at the top of the slide, readying herself to go down again, her hair was sticking out in all directions. I have a picture somewhere of it. But this one shows the same phenomena from jumping on a trampoline!
Extend & Connect
An PLAY idea popped into my head as I was thinking about electricity and PLAY. How PLAY just naturally lets kidlets observe, experience, and infer new concepts and/or knowledge.
So, hopefully you’ve done this static electricity and balloon experiment before. If not, take a break and do it! When you’re finished why not transition into another activity with a magnetic theme? It might be your child notices a similarity in behaviors. How the balloon and their hair came together and the marbles and wand.
Clear tube with end caps
• Insert 3-5 marbles into tube
• Seal tube with end caps
• Give kiddo magnetic wand
• Let your kidlet explore what happens as they move the wand over and near the tube. Once they discover the marbles are attracted to the wand, challenge them to move the marbles only by moving the wand!
NOTE: There IS a relationship between electricity and magnetism. Changing electric fields produce magnetic fields AND changing magnetic fields produce electric fields. This relationship is called electromagnetism, but that’ll be an experiment for another day!
Yours in PLAY!
Note: Magnets can be very dangerous for young children; especially the small, high-powered magnets often found in magnetic building sets and other toys. Children risk serious injuries swallowing those types of magnets. Possible injuries include small holes in the stomach and intestines, intestinal blockage, blood poisoning and even death, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP recommend children under 6 always have adult supervision when playing or handling magnets.