Electricity is a major part of all of our lives. From turning on the lights at night to playing video games, electricity is a part of almost everything we do. As such, it is also important to learn all we can about electricity and how it helps appliances function. Teaching children about electricity may seem like a daunting task, but by speaking on their level, you can provide them with a significant head start to understanding electricity, its uses, and its dangers.
The first and most important part to teach about electricity, especially with children, is its potential dangers. Small children are extremely vulnerable to an unexpected electrical shock, and it can have disastrous effects on them. Emphasize the dangers of inserting anything into an electrical socket, downed power lines, and lightning storms. Make sure this is instilled in the child’s mind so they can appreciate the need for putting safety first.
Next, use analogies that will help the children grasp concepts. Make them fun for the child. When explaining about how electrical circuits work, liken it to a train on an oval track. If the track is broken and does not complete the oval, the train cannot complete its circuit. Follow this up with the importance of having a circuit. Simply touching one end of a battery to a light bulb will not turn it on. Instead, both ends of battery need to be in contact with the bulb for a current to flow.
Engage the child further by using games to explain the mechanics of electricity and circuits. Several websites offer free flash based games that teach everything from circuits to insulators. These games can help keep the child’s interest through bright colors and playful sounds, all while they learn the basics of electricity.
By focusing on the basics first, like safety and circuits, you will build a good foundation for the child to learn more complex concepts including switches, diodes, motors, and resistors. Progress step-by-step at the child’s own pace to ensure they fully understand each concept.
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