Science toys that focus on different energy types are a great way to educate anyone about the physics of energy, especially how energy in one form can be converted to energy in another form. These toys can make the topic of types of energy, which is often difficult to understand, seem much more approachable and fun. Also, these toys also give you something active to do while speaking about energy physics.
Chemical energy is the type of potential energy that is released when atoms or molecules react with each other. It is most commonly used in batteries and fuels, and so is related to any toy that relies on these. For instance, a science toy that uses a battery to light up or make noise is a toy that uses chemical energy. Chemical energy is also used in some toy rockets or model airplanes, because some use chemical reactions to produce thrust and some burn fuel to run their engines.
Elastic energy is a type of potential energy. It is stored in an elastic material that has been stretched or a spring that has been stretched or compressed. The kinds of toys that use spring energy include wind-up toys, toys that shoot things using springs or rubber bands and any toy like a jack-in-the-box that springs out. One way to demonstrate spring energy is to use a toy sling shot to show how the distance that it can launch an object depends on how far back the band is stretched.
Magnetic energy is often used in toys that levitate objects, like levitating globes, and for repelling objects. For instance, one science toy maker offers a magnetic accelerator cannon which shoots metal balls out at high speeds using magnets. Magnetic energy is used in some toy construction kits that use magnets to attach pieces to each other. There are also toys that use metal shavings and magnets to create designs, such as a face that the user can decorate with metal shavings that look like hair.
Multiple Energy Types
Toys that use several different energy types are very useful for illustrating how one energy type can be converted to another. For instance magnet toys that use batteries to power the magnetic field show that the chemical energy from the battery can be converted to magnetic energy.