Filed under: Solar Education. Tagged as: how do solar panels work for kids, how does solar energy work for kids, how solar panels work for kids, light facts for kids, solar energy facts for kids, solar energy for kids, solar power for kids.
A friend of mine has an 8 year old boy. He’d really like to get his son exposed to solar power as early as possible and he asked my advice on how to answer the question “how do solar panels work for kids”. I offered to look through the selection of stuff at Amazon.com and recommend some stuff that I thought could help. He didn’t want to do this himself since, as he put it, “I can’t tell crap from gold”.
Breaking down the concept of solar energy for kids is a pretty difficult task since its hard enough for adults to understand. When I was a kid, I was very textural. I wanted to see, feel, touch, and experience new concepts. Kids don’t have much use for ‘theory’. I perused Amazon with the idea in mind that I wanted a real visceral way to break down solar energy facts for kids.
One of the first things that caught my eye was this solar powered lantern. This lantern is specifically designed (ruggedized) for use by kids. Besides being handy for a camping trip, I thought it would be a good gift for a kid since it could be ‘his’ solar light. Establishing that sense of ownership might encourage him to learn more about how solar power makes ‘his’ solar light work.
By itself, it would be hard to explain solar energy. I recommended that my friend give the light to him along with the The Kids’ Solar Energy Book. That way they could learn together about solar power for kids. I think the combination of the book and lantern would be good because they could explore the book together and then talk about how the concepts they read about in the book are at work in the lantern. I think this would be the best way to explore how solar panels work for kids.
Another great product that I ran across was this solar educational kit, which was specifically designed to answer how does solar energy work for kids. Instead of a light, it has a fan that is powered by the solar panel, which I think is a little better than a light for educational purposes. However, I’m an avid camper, so I would personally go with the light.
The cool thing about powering a fan from a solar panel is that children can see the motor spin faster or slower as they shade the solar panel or expose it to full sunlight. I can’t think of a better way for kids to get a ‘feel’ for solar energy. Still, I think the entertainment value of this product would be short lived. It would be best for a class-room setting for use by teachers.