Teaching Kids What Energy Looks Like

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For younger children, the concept of energy and electricity is challenging to understand. Showing them practical applications around our home where we live and play every day is a great place to start. Turn a light on in a room and demonstrate that energy is transmitted through wires in the walls to all the outlets and switches in the house. Let them count all the switches, and all the different places electricity comes through the home. Then demonstrate how we use the light from the light bulb, and then we conserve or save the lightbulb’s energy by making sure to turn the switches off when they are not in use. Show them where your circuit breaker is in your home (while reminding them not to touch it!), and show them the meter that measures the amount of electricity being used. This makes electricity use and conservation a little more practical for kids, especially because they can see it themselves.

For the older children, you can expand on solar power facts for kids by explaining how solar energy can provide electricity. Thousands of years ago, the sun was used by Native Americans, Chinese, Greeks and Romans to heat their homes. Today, we use solar panels to heat our homes. The solar panels are placed on the roofs of our homes and capture the sun’s energy to help provide electricity to us. With the sun’s energy, we are able to have hot water for our baths, turn the lights on at night, charge our iPads, and much more. Engage your children by asking for ideas on how solar energy could help power their schools, grocery stores and favorite restaurants. If you already power your home with renewable resources, then demonstrating the application and use of energy is even better! You can show them how your solar panels gather up all the natural energy from the sun, and how you use it for heat or energy use throughout your home. This is a great resource for kids of all ages to understand energy more in depth: http://www2.epa.gov/students.