Safe Electricity Experiments for Kids

From the current that is generated by hydroelectric dams and power stations to lightning, electricity is an amazing and awe-inspiring force. In order to gain a basic understanding of how electricity works, there are a number of safe experiments with static electricity that kids can do themselves. Static electricity involves no flow of current, so there is no danger of electrocution. At most, a tiny charge will be felt or hair will stand up, but that is part of the fun.

4 Easy and Safe Electricity Experiments

Experimenting with static electricity is a great way to learn the fundamentals of electrical charges and their reactions to each other. Since it involves no current, there is absolutely no danger with this kind of experimentation. Kids can have fun and learn about electricity this way.

Static Electric Balloon

All of these safe experiments are very simple and require little more than one or two tools. The first is known as the sticking static electric balloon. Blow up a balloon and tie off the end to seal it. Now rub the balloon vigorously against your sweater or something woolly. You can rub it against your head as well. Hold the balloon against the sweater and see how it sticks. This happens because rubbing it against the sweater charges the balloon. The balloon is charged one way while the sweater has the opposite charge. Opposites attract, so the balloon sticks to the sweater.

Bend in the Water

Another neat static electricity trick is called "Bend in the Water". All you will need is a comb, your head of hair and running tap water. Run the comb through your hair a dozen times to charge it. Turn the tap water on lightly. Hold the charged comb close to but not touching the water. Watch how the comb pulls the water towards it. Because the comb is charged and the water is not, the comb attracts it.


Another fun experiment with balloons is called resistance. Blow up two balloons and tie them to separate pieces of string cut to the same length. Hang them from a door frame by taping the loose end of the strings to the frame. Make sure the balloons are just touching each other. Stand on a chair and rub the balloons against your sweater or your head an equal number of times and let them drop towards one another. See how they suddenly repel one another. They resist touching the other like similarly charged magnets. Because they have been identically charged on your sweater or head, the balloons now have the same charge and repel each other.

Floating Paper

One last static electricity trick is to cut up small pieces of tissue paper and lay them on a table or desk. Run a comb through your hair a dozen times and hold it over the paper. Like the water, the paper will be attracted to the charged comb and seem to float in the air. That is why this is called the floating paper experiment.

These are just a few of the safe science experiments kids can do at home or at school. Static electricity experiments teach kids about electrical charges, plus they are fun to do. Amaze your children with these experiments and others like them and you just might encourage a lifelong love of scientific experimentation.