Lifting the curtain of magic surrounding energy to teach the kids conservation

Brought to you by Origin Energy and Nuffnang

Energy is magic. Seriously, it is hard for me as an adult to understand that something you can’t see yet runs your entire life and costs so much money… It is nearly impossible to explain it to children. At least my children who clearly need to leave the light on in every bathroom they have ever entered. It is like they enjoy burning money. They are really only aware of what energy is when their tablet runs out of battery power, so I pulled some ideas off the Origin Energy For Schools website to create a few games that explain the science behind the idea. I wanted the kids to be able to see the concept that for things to move then you must “power” them. To get that power, you must have a supplier and just like other commercial ventures, you must pay money.

First I let Bernard and Energy Bob explain things to my kids with this short video.

The twins are little enough that simply rubbing their hands together to create warmth would have been enough to explain the concept, but I thought I would employ their favourite toy…balloons. We all had a ball rubbing the balloons on our heads to generate static electricity and watch it attract hair.



To take it up a level for Gemma, we again generated static electricity with the balloon on heads method, but then attempted to move a tin can along the table. We had created magic and they all understood that energy inside one thing can be changed into something else.


A couple of weeks ago, Origin Energy had a selection of bloggers into their Melbourne office to chat energy and the way Origin are changing their business to make everything easier for their customers to access and understand. We were able to ask questions of experts about every stage of the energy business from generation and distribution all the way to the running of their call centre. While it was all fascinating, the one segment that caught my interest most was the talk from Origin’s energy expert and her information on how to conserve energy in the home. In the end, it is not just to save yourself money, but to save the planet. 

It got me thinking in a new way about my kids and their one-way ability to use a power switch, on.

First, I took the kids on a specialised tour of our home pointing out each and every thing that consumes energy. We counted NINETY FIVE things. I am sure we missed something, but HOLY CHRISTMAS LIGHTS that is a lot of stuff. I did not even count ALL of my camera chargers, just the one I have been using lately…

Then we looked at ways we already do better:

-Solar panels on our roof and solar powered outdoor lighting.
-LED globes in all the lights
-Smart timers on TVs that turn off the unit when it is idle for a certain amount of time.
-Energy efficient appliances used once a day in off peak hours.
-Clothes line.
-Flash hot water heater so hot water is made on demand and not always being stored and heated.
-Keeping our heater when it is on, set to 18 degrees.

Finally we made another list and this time it was the result of a family meeting on what we can do better… in terms that the kids can understand.

-Get rid of the deep freeze in the garage. We no longer eat meat, so we have less reason to stockpile things when they are on sale. We eat fresher now.
-Walk to school more. This will mean getting up a bit earlier in the mornings, but it’s so good for both our bodies and the planet.
-Warm jumpers instead of heater. I am always cold, so even in my beloved Icelandic jumper I tend to shiver. I will just need to add a layer!

I know we could save even more energy. I would love to hear your ideas!

Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

  • Jessica Shaver Bennett via Facebook - I recognise that can!August 28, 2014 – 12:38 pmReplyCancel

  • Susie - My hands and feet usually suffer in winter and cooler days in spring and autumn, so i bought some merino socks and fingerless gloves and now they stay comfortably warm whatever the weather.

    Try icebreaker layering tops and pants from a New Zealand shop called Bivouac, they often have end of line salesSeptember 26, 2014 – 9:36 amReplyCancel