Kitchen electrostatics

Turn electrostatics into a game!

20 minutes


  • Carefully review the general safety advice on the back of the box cover before starting the experiment.

Step-by-step instructions

You’ll need some paper towel characters in order to wake them up with electricity! Cut some ghosts or other creatures out of a paper towel. Tape them to a flat surface.


To make the creatures stand up, you’ll need static electricity. Inflate a balloon and rub it vigorously on (freshly washed) dry hair. Once your hair is drawn to the balloon, you’ll know it has accumulated a charge. Bring the charged balloon to your paper towel characters to make them stand up!

The charged balloon can also attract oatmeal! Go around your house and try to pick up small objects with the balloon. Remember to recharge it periodically. Curiously, the balloon can be attracted to you! Charge the balloon and stick it to your arm, leg, or torso.


Let’s see what else the charged balloon can do! Perhaps you have an empty aluminum can (a soda can, for example). Charge the balloon with your hair and see what it does to the can without touching it. If you can, find another balloon and charge it, too! Check out how two charged balloons interact with each other.



  • Dispose of solid waste together with household garbage.

Scientific description

As you saw from the experiments, an electrified balloon can attract or repel other objects. As you rub it on your hair, electrons migrate from your hair to the balloon. Objects with a positive charge are thus attracted to the balloon. Objects that are negatively charged, such as another electrified balloon, are repelled from it.

The charged balloon  can also interact with neutral objects . When you bring a negatively-charged  balloon  to an uncharged object, a redistribution of positive  and negative  particles occurs inside the uncharged item. Protons  move towards the balloon , and electrons move away from it. The closer the balloon  is, the stronger its interaction with the object’s  particles. In other words, the stronger the attraction of the object  to the balloon .