03 April | 2020
Many parents have mixed emotions about the school holidays, partly looking forward to the more relaxed routine but partly wondering how they’re going to keep the little treasures entertained. Holidays are a time for discovering a new appreciation for teachers. These are the people with the patience of saints and creativity of artists, charged with giving kids the education they need to go out in the big wide world.
It would be fair to say that most parents don’t have the skills or knowledge that teachers do to keep kids entertained for a whole day, let alone 2-3 weeks. It’s not that we’re not capable, just that we’re not trained, and the limits of creativity can be in short supply. While TV and electronic games are good baby-sitters, they are often not stimulating or challenging for children. Bored kids get into mischief, but providing stimulation and entertainment, especially when you’re safely tucked away at home, is a challenge.
Batteries are in high demand in most households. Laptops, phones, tablets, remote controls, car key fobs, garage door openers, smoke detectors… the list goes on. Have you ever wondered how batteries wok? Pre-empt the kids and ask them the question. They will, of course, want to know the answer, and this is where YouTube comes in.
There are some excellent YouTube videos showing the basics of electrical transfer, but the reality is that nothing will educate your kids more than doing. The trial and error that comes with doing teaches memorable lessons. Just make sure the little darlings are safe!
So here’s a fun, and safe, experiment.
All you need are:
4 Lemons | Galvanised nails | Medium-gauge copper wire | Small LED light (like those in Christmas lights) | Alligator clips
- Rub each nail and copper wire with a sandpaper to ensure they’re clean and to maximise their conductivity.
- Push a galvanised nail (which is negative) and a piece of copper wire (which is positive) into each lemon, ensuring they don’t come into contact.
- Attach one end of an alligator clip to the nail in one lemon and the other end to a copper wire in another lemon. Repeat to connect all lemons in series, leaving a clip free at either end of the series.
- Fasten the free alligator clip from the copper wire to the longer (positive) post of the LED, and the free alligator clip from the nail to the shorter (negative) LED post.
- Let there be light!
Now don’t get us wrong: lemons are not a replacement for batteries. A quality battery that is fit for purpose is far more effective. Battery World AA and AAA batteries are built to last, and they cost less than you’d pay in the supermarket.
These holidays, give your kids the opportunity to test the experiment, make mistakes, and make the LED shine. And when they realise how many lemons are needed to power their devices, they’ll demand a recipe for lemonade, instead.