Kids are always impressed when you can use common household produce to produce electricity. This spin on the classic potato clock or lemon battery uses a juicy, red TOMATO! In this amazing tomato battery your children will use a couple simple materials to make a tomato powered light. This tomato battery experiment is for all ages from preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, and lementary age students in first grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade tooas they explore creating a circuit. This electricity experiment for kids is sure to WOW and get kids excited about kindergarten science.
Did you know that the acid from fruit allows you to use it as a source of electricity? Explore the fascinating world of electricity for kids in a hands-on tomato battery project that is simple enough for even kindergartners, preschoolers, grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, grade 5, and grade 6 students. Children will be amazed at the tomato powered light. This is a great introduction to how electricity works, circuits, and more fun electricity experiments.
Tomato Battery Experiment
All you need to try this fun fruit battery experiment are a few simple materials:
- heavy copper wire (with or without plastic coating)
- wire cutters or heavy scissors
- 6 tomatoes
- 6 nails or large paper clips
- 1 LED light bulb (like from string of Christmas lights)
- electrical tape
Electricity from Tomatoes
With younger students you may need to help them out by doing the prep work, but don’t let that fool you! They will still learn a lot from this project and it will get them thinking, curious and and inquisitive which is the real goal of early science experiments! Start by cutting the copper wire into
- 6 pieces of 8-inches length
- 2 pieces of 10-inch length
If you got the plastic coating wire, cut off about 1-inch of the plastic insulation from both ends of each wire. Stick a nail about halfway in each of the tomatoes.
Tomato Powered Light
Connect the tomatoes. Attach 8″ copper wire to nail in the tomato and the other side to the next tomato by sticking it right into the tomato itself close to the nail, but not touching. Continue creating your closed circuit by attaching another wire to the next empty nail and the following tomato. Each tomato should be connected to the tomato behind it via a copper wire coming out of the tomato itself and the tomato in front of it from a copper wire attached to the nail.
TO help young children understand you need a whole circle, I have us all hold hands in a cricle and ask if it is complete. No have someone drop their hands – is it complete? No. A circuit uses a similar concept. To carry through the visual of a complete circuit, I like to connect them in a circle to get a better visual. Connect one of the long wires to the last tomato on the left’s nail and then to one of the wires (or leads) on the light bulb; secure with electrical tape. Now we will complete the circuit (connected circle) by adding the last 10″ wire to the other light bulb lead and the tomato that does not have a wire going directly into it’s flesh. The ligh bulb bule will light up.
HINT: If you are using an LED light and it isn’t lighting up, just turn around the led so the leads are attached in a different direction to get the electricity flowing in the correct direction.
Tomato Battery Explanation
Ask kids if we usually get our electricity from tomatoes? How about a giant farm? After they are done giggling you can acknowledge, no produce isn’t a sustainable (or big enough) battery for all our needs. But it does help us get an idea of how it works. Our lights are plugged into an electrical outlet or powered by a battery. Batteries are made of two different metals and an acid. In this case the tomato provided the acid. The nail and copper wire we used are the substitute for two different metals. The nail and wire are electrodes where the electricity enters and exits the tomato battery. These electrons flow form the nail into the tart tomato juice acid to the copper wire and then on to the next tomato. They gather more and more electrons in their route until their are enough to light up the bulb.
Take it a step further. Can other fruits power a battery? Try other acidic produce such as oranges, limes, tomatoes, and potatoes. Now try a non-acidic fruit; does it work?
Looking for more outdoor activities for kids and things to do in the summer? Your toddler, preschool, pre k, kindergarten, and elementary age kids will love these fun ideas to keep them busy all summer long:
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Fruit Activities for Kids
Looking for more fruit printable activities? You may want to check these out:
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- I Spy Fruits Worksheet for Preschool
- 🍉 Sneak in some fruit science with this watermelon volcano, play with puffy watermelon slime reicpe, or see all our watermelon activities
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