This is a great activity that requires a little bit of thought on the participants part, yet they aren’t discouraged because the end product is so awesome!
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THIS CRAFT! I always tell people I know more about time travel than I do about electricity. If you are concerned about your ability to get the right supplies, print this post, bring it with you to Radio Shack, and tell them how many people you need supplies for.
Here are the basic supplies. 2 D batteries, electrical wire (any small size will work), electrical tape, lamp bases (radio shack item # 272-0360), and the light bulb. Buy these things in bulk to save money. You can buy packs of electrical tape for cheap at Home Depot, buy the cheapest batteries you can find, and buy large spools of wire. We allow them to use whatever supplies we have around. Colored duct tape adds brightness, but particpants have used everything from feathers to foam pieces to make their work unique. This is’t the cheapest of crafts after buying batteries, lightbulbs, connectors, wire, and electrical tape. It’s worth splurging a little on though, because participants will remember it and come back for more.
Here is a poster we display of the basic circuit.
After the main circuit is created, there are many possibilities on how to finish this. We usually give a reward for coolest overall flashlight and most efficient/practical switch. I provide them with paper clips, nuts, bolts, screws, jewelry making pieces, and other random metal to use for their switches.