Simple Machines for Kids: The Pulley

LearningToddlersPreschoolers15 Comments

A fun way to learn about simple machines for kids. And it was simple. This one is all about the pulley.

I’m not sure if the boys saw this in a show or not, but they were trying to make their own pulley around a door knob. But they just weren’t quite getting it.

What an opportunity and fun activity for us to do! We do science experiments often around here, but the other areas of science are often forgotten. So this was exciting!

We learned about pulleys!

Simple Machines for Kids: The Pulley

I set up a pulley system in our stairway. Luckily, we have an open staircase. I’m sure there’s a place in your house that you could pull this off if you don’t. Otherwise the playground would have ample opportunities to make a pulley.

All I did was cut a long piece of ribbon and tie it to a bucket. We had the Easter baskets out, so that’s what we used.

I threaded the ribbon through out railing and tied the other end off around one of the posts just so the ribbon wouldn’t fall through. I cut it plenty long for leeway.

Then the boys spent the afternoon transferring objects back and forth to each other up and down the stairs.

Simple Machines for Kids: The Pulley

There were even times when only one boy was playing and would load up the bucket, head up the stairs, pull the bucket up and unload it…. drop the bucket and head back downstairs to load it again. It was quite funny to watch.

They loaded and unloaded both ways. Stuff to go upstairs and stuff to go down.

Simple Machines for Kids: The Pulley

Oh what simple entertainment it was. And they learned about a simple machine in the process and how a simple machine like a pulley can make things easier to move from one place to another. But they didn’t care if it was easier or not. They thought it was great just doing it!

Simple Machines for Kids: The Pulley

Now… to learn about other simple machines for the kids…

What are some basic simple machines?

The lever. A wedge. The wheel. Ramps. What else is there? I think we’ll be having a series of simple machines activities!

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  1. says

    Great activity!

    For levers, you can use blocks and move the object to be moved on the lever (held on with an elastic band) as well as the lever’s location on the fulcrum.

    With screws, we started a few in a piece of scrap wood and my then-3 year year old sat at our feet for hours, screwing and unscrewing them. He’s now, at 5, the go-to guy for things that need tightening.

    Another example you could use would be a lamp base, not plugged in, and an old light bulb. It’s a great ilustration of a use for the screw.

  2. Dodie says

    This is genius! I love doing science activities with my kiddos! They loose interest fairly quickly, but if we could do this one, I am sure it would keep them entertained. I am thinking of doing a horizontal pulley system, since we can’t do vertical. I am excited to see what other kinds of machines you come up with! My son loves to know how things work, but I am out of ideas. :(

  3. Cara says

    Sid the science kid has some awesome simple machine shows. My son,3, came up to me and asked for an axel, string, and a bucket and it took weeks to figure out where it came from. Then he started telling me about incline plane. …it’s a great starting point for experiments. We just made a lever with a block and a shovel like Sid. He adores it!

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