Post by MJ of Pars Caeli
Hi friends, It’s MJ from Pars Caeli, and I’m back with a great activity to get your kids thinking as back to school begins! This year we have a 6th, 4th, and 1st grader heading back to school, and I’m so excited to see how they’ll grow and all the new concepts they’ll learn this year. Until then, we’re taking on the world around us with a sense of adventure and exploration. I love to weave these kind of fun projects into our August activities to remind my kids how much fun learning is!
Balloons, whether water filled, helium, or just good old birthday ones, are a huge hit at our house so we decided to explore static electricity via balloons! You remember rub, rub, rubbing a balloon against your hair and trying to get it to stick to your clothes or against the wall? In this project we use the same process and harness the power of static electricity to give a big bear hug – one that will defy gravity!
In this project, you will need the following supplies:
- Tissue paper
- Googly eyes
- Glue stick
- First, cut a bear body from a piece of paper. As you can see, we folded ours in half and made the head, ears, and body and cut it out so that the bear would be symmetrical.
- Next, glue on a pair of googly eyes. You can also draw on the eyes if you don’t have any googly ones around.
- Then take your piece of cardboard and glue the bear to it. **IMPORTANT Make sure that you glue only the top of the bear head and the very bottom of the body to the cardboard.
- Take out the tissue paper. Again folding a piece in half, cut out a large butterfly-like shape that will be the bear’s arms. They should be extra long so that the bear can give a big hug to the balloon.
- Slide the bear arms and legs underneath the glued body on the cardboard (like pictured above). Likely the arms will be kind of behind the head and the legs above the bottom of the body.
- Next, blow up your balloon. As you blow it up, compare the size to the bear’s body. Once you’ve reached a size pretty close to that of the bear, tie off the balloon.
- Now rub the balloon vigorously against your hair. Give it a good 30 seconds of rubbing.
- Set the balloon gently on the bear’s body. What happens? Are the arms and legs clinging to the side of the balloon? If some are lagging behind see if you can get them to cling. Can you turn the bear upside down without the balloon falling down?
How does this work?
By rubbing the balloon in our hair, we transferred charged particles (called electrons) from our hair to the balloon. That action gave the balloon its own charge. When the balloon with all of its charge comes near the tissue paper that is very light, it is attracted to the charge.
With the four limbs, we create a kind of clutch all the way around the balloon that is stronger than the gravity forces that pull the balloon down!
If your balloon is not super attractive for the tissue paper, try rubbing the balloon again perhaps faster or longer this time to make sure that there is enough charge in the balloon.
See if there are other lightweight items around your house that the balloon might attract!
And most of all, have fun learning!
MJ is a graphic and product designer, wife, and proud momma to three. She founded Pars Caeli (meaning a piece of heaven), a delightful blog and shop, to add more creative to the everyday. MJ worked with our team to bring her lunchbox jokes to life in our product Lunchtime LOL Notes, now available at The Land of Nod to bring on a case of the giggles!