Electricity and Magnetism

Light Fantastic

Enrichment Activity for 5-11 11-14

What you need

  • Party balloon
  • Energy saving light bulb


  1. Blow up the balloon and tie the end
  2. In a dark room, rub the balloon against your hair or jumper
  3. Hold the bulb in one hand and move the balloon back and forth close to it

Results and Explanation

Waving the electrically charged balloon close to the bulb causes a current to flow through the charged gas inside the bulb and it lights.

These experiments have not been specifically safety tested for home use but we believe them to be safe if the instructions are followed. Adult supervision or direction is recommended as appropriate. All experiments are carried out at your own risk.

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