Want to conduct a little science experiment at home with your kids? A good one would be to show them how to create electricity with magnets. The principal is simple, you can make electricity with magnets by using just a few household things that will help you make emf or electromotive force. You can spin a stack of magnets next to a coil in a circuit which will make an emf, this will cause the coil to oscillate which in turn will create an alternating current or AC. Below are the steps to help you and your kids make your own electricity from magnets.

The things you will need are:

  • Some thin copper wire that is insulated
  • 6 x 12 inch piece of cardboard
  • A nail
  • A magnet
  • Some electrical tape
  • A light bulb

The first thing you need to do is to fold two creases that are close together in the cardboard. The creases should only be slightly wider than the size of the magnet you have chosen. After you have done that you will need to fold 2 more creases that are close and these should be about four inches away from your first two. The cardboard should overlap now and it should be a 4 sided enclosure.

Now you will take a long nail and put it through the middle of both sides of the cardboard. Make sure the nail is all the way through. Now you will take your magnet and tape it to the nail with your electrical tape and make sure it is on the inside of the enclosure. Your magnet should be light because you will be spinning the nail in order to turn the magnet.

Take the copper wire and wrap it around the enclosure of the cardboard making sure that you loop it in the same direction. Make sure that all of the copper windings are parallel to one another. These windings can be overlapped on each side of the nail. The amount of windings you have can go into the hundreds. According to the fundamentals of Physics the more windings you have the stronger the emf is going to be.

At the two ends of the copper wire, make sure to scrape off the insulation on the wire and then attach the two contact points of the light bulb with electrical tape. These are the metal tips at the bottom of the light bulb where it screws into a fixture.

Now you are ready to test the magnet and it’s ability to produce electricity. You will spin the nail around and you and your child should be able to watch the light bulb light up. Tell your child that you both have just created AC power!