Making cupids fly using static electricity is the perfect easy science activity for kids this Valentine’s Day. Get your balloons and your crazy hair ready!
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What kid doesn’t love rubbing their hair on a balloon to get that crazy-haired mad scientist look? Static electricity is awesome.
Playing and experimenting with static electricity provides children with some of their earliest hands-on physics lessons. They can see static electricity in action when they arrive at the bottom of a plastic slide with hair that is sticking straight up and all over. They can feel static electricity by rubbing their feet on carpet and then touching a metal doorknob. (Or an unfortunate unsuspecting sibling!)
Today we are going to harness the power of static electricity in a fun activity for Valentine’s Day. Get your balloons and your crazy hair ready!
An inflated balloon
Wool, flannel, or fleece fabric (A head of hair also works perfectly!)
- Draw a cupid on a piece of tissue paper. You can either do this freehand or trace a cupid onto the tissue paper like I did! (I’m no artist.)
- Cut out the tissue paper cupid and put it on a flat surface.
- Rub the balloon on fabric or hair for about 10 seconds.
- Hold the balloon a few inches over the tissue paper cupid and see what happens. If the balloon has a good static charge, the cupid should jump right up and stick to the balloon!
- Have fun making your cupid fly!
Static Electricity for Valentine’s Day
So what is going on with the balloon? Why does rubbing a balloon on your head make your hair go crazy and then attract tissue paper to it?
Simply put, when the balloon is rubbed against fabric or hair, electrons are transferred to the balloon, giving it an overall negative charge. This negative charge attracts the tissue paper cupids, making them stick!
If you love playing with unseen forces as much as we do try making and experimenting with magnet powered cars!
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