Solar Energy for Kids
Solar energy for kids is a hands-on experiment that gets kids involved and shows them the power of the sun and it's many day-today uses from telling time to cooking.
Interest in solar energy is growing, and it's not just adults who want to know about it. Kids are interested in learning how solar energy works in their lives. Teaching your kids about the power of the sun and how it can help us is a great idea, but many people aren't sure how to do it.
Here are a few options for teaching what solar energy is about and having a great time doing it.
Just demonstrating what the sun can do in ways that produce a measurable effect can help with children's understanding. Start with a simple sundial, showing how the sun moves in the sky, then plot the path. You can do this at another season to show the different arcs the sun takes on its path through the sky. Kids can even make their own sundials.
The Power of Color
Then, you can move on to the nature of color. Using a black piece of metal and a white one laid in the direct sun, show how the darker one gets hot faster. A thermometer to check the temperature difference can be helpful, but isn't necessary. This experiment can also done with painted coffee cans full of water.
Solar Hot Water
To show how solar water heaters work and demonstrate that hot water rises, try placing water in a large, 1 gallon jar. Fill a smaller jar (about four ounces) with hot water and add some food coloring. Drill a pair of holes in the lid of the smaller jar and place a piece of drinking straw in each one, protruding about a quarter inch from the lid. The hot water will rise through the straws and go to the top of the cold water. It's fun to watch.
How about a solar oven? You can buy one, or you can make one using plans online that require just a cardboard box and some foil. Put a cookie sheet full of cookies in the oven before it heats up, and come back to fresh baked snacks that will make an impression about the power of the sun. An old umbrella lined with foil, with a stand inside to hold a cup will do something similar to heat water for hot chocolate or tea.
Powering Your Gadgets
There are some higher tech gadgets you can use to demonstrate solar energy for kids, too. For instance, there are plenty of camping appliances that can be charged using small solar panels, and solar chargers for MP3 players and gadgets like iPhones are available, too. There's no reason to go buy an expensive device, but if you already happen to own a phone or music player, getting a charger can be a useful and fun way to demonstrate what the sun can do for us in every day life.
Who said solar energy for kids couldn't be fun?
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