From the earliest age, children are fascinated by the movement and lights of objects. As young as months old, children will stare wondrously at these flashing and moving objects, and will watch these for minutes and sometimes even longer. In fact, often babies will have object hang in their cribs to help occupy time and keep them from crying. Colored lights can also make for a fun and entertaining environment for kids.
As kids get older they still are often fascinated by moving objects. Young children have spent many hours trying to take toys and other objects apart to see what makes them work. While parents generally like to encourage children to explore new ideas, taking apart items can be dangerous as well as expensive.
To help children learn and explore movement and lights, many parents and teachers can foster this curiosity through the use of simple machines and basic electronics. Using the concepts involved in simple machines, children can learn about movement, force, resistance and other concepts that can be used throughout their lives. Also, parents and teachers can provide basic electronic projects to teach children about circuits and electricity. However, when working with these projects, it is recommended that children be supervised to prevent possible injury.
To help teach about basic principles of movement and electricity, we have put together a collection of resources. We hope you enjoy reading and trying some of these projects.
Basics of Simple Machines
- Simple Machines Learning Site - Informative page providing an overview of simple machines and the various types.
- Elements of Machines - Useful page with descriptions of the various elements of machines.
- Simple Machines for Beginners - Basic information on how to teach simple machine concepts to younger children.
- Simple Machine Basics - Helpful page which teaches about the basics of machines.
- Simple Machine Definition - Basic definition of what is a simple machine.
- Gear Basics - Introduction into the workings of the gear.
Basics of Electronics
- Basic Electronics - Informative page for adults teaching them the basics of electronics.
- Basics of Electronics - Guide for teachers or parents to learn some electronic basics.
- What is Electricity? - Basic information and definition of electricity.
- Solar Electric Basics - Introduction to concepts surrounding solar electricity.
- Electric Motors and Generators - Explanation of how electric motors function through animation.
- Energy Kids - Useful website for kids to learn about the basics of electric and circuits.
- Simple Machine References – Information and suggestions on using simple machines safely.
- Safety Lesson Plans – Collection of safety related lesson plans on a variety of subjects.
- Kid Safety – Basic safety information for kids to follow around electricity.
- Electrical Safety – Kid focused article with information and tips on how to keep kids safe around electricity.
Simple Machine Projects
- Simple Machine Activities – Useful page of science related activities for kids.
- Simple Machines – Collection of useful pages with information and ideas on simple machines.
- Simple Machine Information – Information and ideas for kids to learn about how machines function.
- Simple and Complex Machines – Article providing an introduction into the world of machines.
- Lesson Plans – Informative page with ideas on teaching and learning about the different machines.
- Webquest – Educational site with teaching plans for machines aimed at children.
- Simple Machine Resources – Collection of educational sites for parents and educators.
- Education Resources – Useful page containing a number of resources for teaching science related topics to kids.
- Electronic Resources – Information and tips for teaching electronics for kids from K-12.
- Science Fair Projects – Collection of useful projects that students can use for Science Fairs, including several discussing electrical ideas.
- Electric Project – Helpful page from Tennessee 4H providing an easy and informative project dealing with electricity.
- Electricity Projects – Informative page with a number of educational projects teaching a number of electrical principles.
- Electronics Projects – Page containing a number of projects that can teach concepts of electronics and circuits to kids.
- Electronics for Kids – Information for kids on electronics with a variety of hands on projects that can be done to learn about electricity.
We hope that this article has been helpful for you and your children to learn more about the fascinating world of simple machines and electronics. Learning and experimenting safely opens the door to knowledge. Understanding the basics leads to bigger projects which can include setting up a home-theater with HDMI Cables or laying the foundation for a network with Bulk Cat5e. Installing speaker cable with Banana Plugs and even setting up a USB 56k Modem would be easier to handle. We urge you to continue to learn more about machines and electrical devices, and feel free to visit this educational page often.
For more articles with educational resources for kids, see these articles.