Want to do some fun science experiments at home? Try making a battery out of a lemon! This simple exercise teaches your kids all about circuits. kitchen science, science for kids, science experiments at home, making battery out of lemon, lemon battery, fruit battery

Kitchen Science for Kids: Making a Battery Out of a Lemon

By: Dan Reiner
simple circuit with lemon powering small light bulb

I’ve always been a very hands-on learner. If I can’t see, feel, or at least somewhat experience what I’m learning, I have a hard time understanding and applying it. Many kids are the same way, and that’s why do-it-yourself science experiments are a great way to bring learning to life.

One of my favorite science experiments to do easily at home is making a battery out of a lemon. All you need is a lemon and a few simple supplies. If you don’t already have them lying around, a quick trip to the hardware store will take care of everything you need.

There are several variations on this experiment, but here is the one I like best:

What you need:

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 copper nail, screw, or wire, roughly 2 inches in length
  • A zinc nail, screw, or galvanized nail, roughly 2 inches in length
  • 1 holiday light with a 2-in. lead (basically, enough wire to connect the two nails)

Four simple steps to fruit battery success:

  1. Press down (gently) on your lemon and roll it around on a table to get the juices flowing inside it. You want it to be soft, but you don’t want to break the skin.
  2. Insert both nails into the lemon, about 2 inches apart. Be sure they aren’t touching each other, and don’t let them puncture through the other side of your lemon.
  3. Remove the insulation from around the holiday light’s lead, exposing the bare wire beneath.
  4. Wrap the exposed wire around both the copper nail and zinc nail, and ta-da! Your holiday bulb will light up.

It’s fun for kids to be able to see with their own eyes how a simple circuit can carry enough electricity to power a (small) light bulb. This simple experiment is inexpensive and easy to do at home, and it’s a great introduction to the power of electricity. As your kids get older, there are plenty of ways to add onto this do-it-yourself activity, such as making multiple circuits or developing a switch that can power your light bulb on and off.

Ignite your child’s interest in science with this enjoyable activity. Do you have your own simple kitchen science experiment that makes your kid’s face “light up”? Share it with us below!